Whether you're a bride considering your bridesmaids gowns as part of your wedding budget, or a bridesmaid buying her own gown, you should know the average costs of the market. After all, you don't want to end up paying over-the-top prices for a gown when you could have gotten a similar one for half the cost. Read on to find out what the reasonable costs are and what prices should be out of the question.
The first consideration that both brides and bridesmaids should discuss is who will be paying for what. Traditionally, bridesmaids pay for their own ensemble---this includes the dress, shoes and jewelry. However, if you're the bride, and you know one of your bridesmaids is financially troubled, or already spending a lot of money to travel to your wedding, you should consider helping her out with some of the expense, or at least making sure the price tag of all those items doesn't get too out of control.
Most bridesmaid dresses will fall somewhere in the $150 to $200 price range, though you can sometimes find shorter cocktail-style bridesmaid gowns for $90 to $120. Keep in mind that, as the bride, if you order the bridesmaid dresses from the same store where you purchased your gown, you will usually get a discount of around 20 percent to 25 percent off of the bridesmaid dresses. Another option to keep in mind, if you or your bridesmaids have a small budget---look for nice, black dresses or discount prom gowns in department stores. They aren't labeled as a bridesmaid dress, but they'll look the same.
Remember that your bridesmaids will probably need to alter their dresses in order for them to fit properly. Alterations can cost anywhere from $75 to $100, so include that in your price considerations when looking for gowns. Loose-fitting gowns such as A-line or draped styles are less likely to need altering, so consider those for your maids. Also, if any of your bridesmaids are particularly tall or short, you may want to consider short gowns for all of them to avoid hemline alteration costs.
Even if you find an inexpensive gown for your bridesmaids, or if you offer to pay for their gowns yourself, you should still keep in mind the accessories your bridesmaids will need. Bridesmaids, if the bride is buying your dress for you, you should offer to purchase the accessories---shoes, jewelry or handbag---you'll need. Brides, if you've asked all of your bridesmaids to buy a $200 gown for the ceremony, you may want to consider helping them out by buying matching shoes and necklaces for them.
Most bridesmaids are expected to pitch in toward the bachelorette party, as well as buy wedding and shower gifts. Thus, participating in your wedding can quickly get expensive for them---especially for maids of honor, who usually foot the bill for the bridal shower. The average cost to each bridesmaid of participating in your wedding, according to The Knot, is around $1,000 and up. Brides, remember this when selecting your bridesmaids, so that you don't put more financial pressure on someone who's already struggling. Bridesmaids, if you have any financial concerns, talk about them with the bride when she asks you to participate in the wedding.
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