Let me start off by saying that you can do it. You can be a bridesmaid and still have your sanity and money in the bank by the end of it. It might seem overwhelming to be in multiple weddings in a short period of time, and you might think you’ll go broke and lose all of your free time, but I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be like that. I would know. Last year, I was asked to be in three weddings in September, October, and November. I traveled to Virginia, Chicago, and Cleveland, respectively, within six weeks of each other, to stand beside my best friends as they said “I do” to some pretty amazing men.
Don’t get me wrong—I was both honored and thrilled to be a major part of the kick-off to their amazing journeys, but I was a 27-year-old editor living in one of the most expensive cities in the country. So clearly I’m far from being the “Rich Girl” Gwen Stefani sings about. I won’t lie, I dedicated a good amount of my time off to drunken weekends in various southern cities (in the heat of the summer, no less) and a good chunk of change to flights, gifts, and penis straws, but I wasn’t about to let anything keep me from standing by my friends’ sides, so I devised a plan to be three-time bridesmaid without going broke, and I’m here to share my saving secrets with you.
Start A Wedding Fund
has anyone ever created a "wedding budget" that they stuck to??
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) April 9, 2019
As soon as I got asked to be a bridesmaid, and then got asked again, and then again, I made a mental list of everything I knew I’d have to get for the occasion, times three. Just thinking of the dresses, hotels, and flights made me feel poor af, and I made a very adult move and decided I needed a financial plan to stay afloat (I’m really not the financial planning type, so this might be a bit of a shocker for those who know me). I opened a savings account and set up an automatic monthly transfer from my checking account. I know, soooo adult. The paychecks for my second job at a local bridal salon went right into my wedding fund, and if I got an extra buck here and there from freelance work, I would deposit it right into that account. I wasn’t necessarily rolling in dough, but it added up quicker than I expected. Whenever I booked a flight or bought something wedding-related, I specifically used that money. Even if you don’t add a ton to your account every month, every little bit helps!
Use Price Alerts And Frequent Flyer Miles
another day, another engagement
— Ashley Fern (@disco_infern0) March 15, 2019
Unless you’re like Lala from Vanderpump Rules and you have a hookup with a private jet—in which case, cheers to you—chances are you’ll have to buy a flight to at least one wedding you’re in. I am not engaged to a hotshot movie producer, so I flew commercial like most normal twentysomethings to two of the three weddings I was in, and their respective bachelorette parties in Miami, New Orleans, and Savannah. Not gonna lie, after the third one I swore to God I would never drink again (clearly that didn’t work because I’m drinking as I write this). Websites such as Hopper and Airfarewatchdog allow you to put in the dates of your trip and they’ll notify you when prices drop and advise you whether or not to buy them at any given time. Have some points or frequent flyer miles stored up? This is a good time to cash them in. And, of course, if your destination is in driving distance, that should always be option number one, but I wasn’t about to drive 24 hours to Miami. Can you imagine doing that hungover? F*ck no.
Rent Or Buy Secondhand Bridesmaid Dresses
Bridesmaids dresses are not cheap. Before you buy a gown on a designer’s website, check out Vow to Be Chic. It’s like Rent the Runway for bridesmaid dresses. Rent the Runway itself also carries bridesmaid dresses. The one issue with renting is that you can’t get the dress altered; however, if you know your exact measurements, you might be able to find one that fits you perfectly. Another option is to visit the website, Forever the Bridesmaid, and buy a dress from a fellow bridesmaid who doesn’t need hers anymore (and you should probably sell any dresses you have hiding in the back of your closet). Be sure to check with the bride if this is OK, because she may have a very specific style or color she wants you in that’s exclusive to a certain store or designer. You can also ask friends if they have any bridesmaid dresses hanging in their closets. Chances are they’ve been in a few weddings and have some gowns collecting dust in their closets. Ask around, you might be surprised how many people you know have a dress they’re dying to get rid of. One bridesmaid’s trash is another bridesmaid’s treasure, right?
Spread Out Your Spending
*gets married* *spends as much on clothes and shoes for the bachelorette/shower/rehearsal dinner/wedding/after party as the wedding costs*
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) May 2, 2019
I separated my bigger purchases (airfare, bridesmaid dresses, penis straws) so I didn’t drop a ton of money at once. Make a list of everything you know you’ll need, and make a payment schedule for yourself. I know that sounds like an annoying amount of extra work, but if you know you’re getting a big bonus at work in a certain month, buy your bachelorette party flights that month. Think about your cash flow and the cost of all the things you need to buy, and devise a plan. If you spread out your spending you won’t find yourself dropping a thousand bucks at a time.
Share Hotel Rooms
Whether you’re part of a couple or riding solo to these events, make plans with fellow bridesmaids and their dates to share rooms. I did that at a few of my wedding events as a way to save cash, and it worked! You need to stay somewhere, and so do the other members of the wedding party, so why not team up and lower the cost of the hotel? What’s better than a slumber party with your besties you don’t get to see very often? You can also opt for an Airbnb in the area and get the whole wedding party under one roof! The more the merrier—and the more money you’ll save.
For those of you singles about to embark on wedding season, stay safe out there, but more importantly—and I cannot stress this enough—stay drunk.
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) May 2, 2019
Remember to keep your financial issues to yourself. You definitely don’t want to be the Debbie Downer of the group, always bitching and complaining. At the end of the day, being a bridesmaid is a huge honor, so be happy you’ve got friends who want you by their side on such a big day. If you really, really can’t afford something, try to be up front about it, so you don’t end up causing problems down the line. You’ll get through this, I promise.
Images: Shutterstock; @betchesbrides (2), @disco_infern0, @betchesluvthis / Twitter; @betchesbrides (2) / Instagram