Between party planning, primping, and attending the ceremony itself, bridesmaids can spend well over $1,000. Prepare your wallet for wedding season with these savings-savvy tips.
At a bridal store, ask a sales associate if there are floor samples in your size available for purchase. "You could get a deal on dresses other people have tried on or for the ones used on mannequins," says Jeanette Pavini, savings expert. Compared to custom-made dresses, these samples could save you hundreds of dollars.
If you're a frequent wedding attendant, rental sites may be the answer to your do-I-really-have-to-buy-another-dress prayers. "Plus, more and more brides are letting their bridesmaids pick their own dresses as long as it's in their color scheme," says Pavini. Find a variety of styles, fabrics and hues for under $100 on and . Both companies deliver your dress and a back-up size two weeks before the wedding. Return the dresses within a few days after the event using the prepaid package provided by the vendor.
Look beyond the bridal salon for a seamstress who can let out a hem or adjust a strap. Your local dry cleaner can often do simple fixes for cheaper. Check Yelp or other review sites for wedding-specific feedback if you're venturing away from your regular cleaner.
Instead, search online for a cosmetology school in your area and visit a manicurist-in-training. Your nails will get the royal treatment for as little as $4 for a manicure and $10 for a pedicure—a fraction of what you'd pay at a professional salon.
Find inspiration and instruction from beauty bloggers such as or . Be sure to do a practice run before the big day. Need to restock your cosmetics? "Keep your eyes peeled for gifts with purchases, like free lipsticks or blushes, throughout the spring and especially around Mother's Day," says Pavini. "That's the time to buy your makeup."
Either style your hair yourself or visit a local blowout salon or dry bar for an affordable professional do. At Drybar, for instance, a basic wash and blowout in the salon costs $45. Check Groupon for deals your local salons might be offering, as well.
No need to splurge on new heels for the wedding, especially if your gown hides your feet. Just ask the bride beforehand to make sure your pair gets a thumbs up.
You'll likely be in charge of throwing several parties for the bride. Instead of splurging on cute stationary, send free e-vites from sites like or (free through March 31!), and choose less-pricey venues like a park for a picnic or a friend's home for a barbecue. At the very least, hit happy hour at a hotel lounge before a big bachelorette night out. "It's an inexpensive way to kick off the evening with a cocktail and some yummy appetizers," Pavini says.
Planning and attending showers, bachelorette parties and the wedding itself can add up quickly, so be honest with the bride and yourself about your financial limitations. "When we are asked to do things as a bridesmaid, it's sometimes hard to say no," Pavini says. "But check yourself before making too many promises that will drain your bank account."