The Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide for Bridesmaids on a Budget
So, you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid for a destination wedding. Congratulations! The bride has tapped you to be by her side on one of the most important days of her life.
But while you know it’s a huge honor, you also can’t help but wonder how much this destination wedding is going to cost you. Who’s going to pay for what? How can you save money without looking cheap or cutting corners?
To save yourself some nasty financial surprises, here is everything you need to know about the cost of being a destination bridesmaid.
What You’re Expected to Pay
This figure goes up significantly for destination weddings. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, here is what you should expect to pay:
- Travel — No matter how far away or exotic the destination wedding may be, you can expect to pay for the flight. This can cost you anywhere from $800 to $2,000.
- Meals — The bride and groom may offer a welcome brunch or provide a few snacks, but it’s not a rule.
- Bridesmaid Dresses — Some brides will offer to pay for the bridesmaid dresses, but don’t count on it. Although it’s a nice gesture for destination weddings, many brides are also trying to budget wisely.
- Accommodations — Again, some brides will cover the cost of their bridesmaids’ hotel rooms. However, it’s generally expected that you will be paying for your accommodations.
- Hair and Makeup — If the bride prefers your hair and makeup done, it should always be offered as an option, not a requirement. If it’s required by the bride, she should cover the cost.
Does this sound financially daunting? If it helps make you feel any better, most hotels have discounts for wedding guests and bridal party members. The bride and groom may also provide a welcome brunch or party to celebrate the arrival of their guests.
Another thing you won’t have to pay for is transportation. Traditionally, the couple will pay for a shuttle to pick guests up from the airport. If the ceremony is offsite, the couple usually provides you with transportation.
What You Need To Bring To A Destination Wedding
Before you jet off to a faraway location, you need to make a list of what to pack. If you’re a pro at travel, you know to bring your passport, cash, credit cards, and cell phone.
As a bridesmaid, you’ll also need to bring your wedding day attire — including shoes, jewelry, and your dress. Always pack your wedding day attire in a carry-on. A checked bag can become lost and leave you without your gown on the day of the wedding!
Don’t forget sunscreen, comfortable shoes, makeup, hair tools, nail kit, handbag, swimsuit, daywear, sleepwear and a coverup for chilly evenings. If you’re speaking at the wedding, have a copy of your speech!
How to Lower the Cost of Being a Destination Bridesmaid
Even when you can afford to be a destination bridesmaid, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be smart with your money. Here are a few ways to keep the cost of being a bridesmaid to a minimum:
- Ask to Pick the Dress — It’s the bride’s big day, and she has the final say. However, see how she feels about allowing her bridesmaids to pick their own dress. She can provide the color and allow her maids to find budget-friendly bridesmaid dresses that fit their style and means.
- Bring Snacks — Meals can be extremely pricey depending on the location of the wedding. Try to pack as many snacks as you can and eat lighter meals when you’re out with the girls.
- Skip the Professional Hair and Makeup — Unless the bride is paying for it, professional hair and makeup is an option. If you’re confident in your makeup skills, do your own makeup and have the professional do just your hair.
Can’t Afford It? Here’s What To Do
Any self-aware bride knows full well that not every guest or bridesmaid is going to drop everything to attend their destination wedding. Being a destination bridesmaid is a huge commitment of time and money.
That’s why it’s critical that the bride discusses her financial expectations upfront with each of her bridesmaids. This will help avoid unpleasant surprises and potentially ruined friendships. If you are leaning towards saying ‘no, thank you’ consider this:
- Is it a huge financial burden? – If you would be dipping into your savings, it’s time to reevaluate your decision. Even if you’ve been friends since third grade, you should politely decline if it’s a huge financial strain on you.
- How to Say ‘No’ to Being a Destination Bridesmaid – Now comes the difficult part — declining an offer to be a destination bridesmaid. While you might feel extremely guilty saying no to a huge honor, chances are you’ll be grateful you did later. Explain that your lack of funds would make it difficult to be the bridesmaid that she deserves.
- Follow Up with a Gift – If you must say no, the courteous thing to do is to send her a wedding gift. Although you can’t accept, the chance to partake in her nuptials is still an honor that should be acknowledged.
Ultimately, Remember to Have Fun!
If you decided to pony up the cost of being a destination bridesmaid, remember to put your money anxieties away. Have fun! You’ve committed, and now the bride deserves your full attention.
The cost may seem steep, but just think about what you’ll get in return. Being there for your friend will grow your special bond and provide lasting memories for years to come.
What do you think of these destination wedding tips for bridesmaids? Share with us in the comments.