weddings

"I'm now broke." We asked 15 women exactly how much it cost them to be a bridesmaid.

Can you hear the bells?

ICYMI, 2022 is the year of the wedding, and couples are tying the knot left, right and centre. 

If you've been to one already or have one (or a few) coming up, you'll know that despite the excitement and happy tears involved, there are also some sad sobs... coming from your wallet.

Yep, weddings are notoriously expensive not only for the bride and groom but the guests attending too. Especially if you're in the bridal party...

To get some clarity around just how expensive, we asked 15 women in our Mamamia community to anonymously share how much it cost them to be a bridesmaid. Here's what they said.

But first, watch Mamamia employees confess the worst requests they've received as a bridesmaid. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

'The expectation has changed.'

"I've been a bridesmaid four times and the first few times it was cheaper as we were younger - I feel like the expectation has changed now [that we're older]. Recently, I was maid of honour and there was only one other bridesmaid, so the majority fell onto me. The total cost was around $1,500 - with the hens being the biggest cost at approximately $800. We didn't have any accommodation as it was a Sydney wedding and hens, and she paid for the dress, hair and makeup. I wore shoes I already had from being a bridesmaid. But I've also had four other weddings this year with accommodation, wishing wells, etc. So, it's been A LOT."

'When I get married, I'm eloping.'

"For my sister's wedding it cost me close to $3,000 - the dress, accommodation, transfers, food for the weekend, the rest of outfit, hair and makeup (which she was supposed to pay for but didn't). When I get married, I'm eloping and paying for everything myself!"

'Everything except the hens.'

"For me, both times the bride paid for everything except the hens - so the dress, shoes, jewellery, hair and makeup. How extravagant the hens parties were varied - one probably cost me $600 as it was a Hunter Valley trip and the other was about $200 on a night out with a contribution to cover the bride as well. Both were weddings of women very close to me and I gifted them both approximately $500 each."

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'We paid for the bride's hair and makeup.'

"I reckon I spent approximately $2,000 just on a gift and the hen's party. $500 for the gift and then the hen's involved flights to Melbourne, topless waiters, the hotel, decorations, food and alcohol for the hotel, a Magic Men show, and we paid for the bride to get her hair and makeup done. The bride covered the dress, shoes, makeup and hair for the wedding day and gifted us some nice pjs."

'I paid for the outfits.'

"I had two bridesmaids at my wedding. I paid for their whole outfits. Dress, jewellery, shoes, bag, wrap and umbrella. I was a bridesmaid once in the 90s and the bride paid for my whole outfit. I’ve never heard of it being expected that everyone pays for themselves."

Image: Canva/Mamamia.

'I've hardly seen the bride since.'

"I have two experiences at either end of the spectrum: the first one, I was a bridesmaid for a school friend in our 20s. The wedding was in Cairns and we were from a small country town in NSW. I was a poor uni student, so it was a huge cost for flights and accommodation. I also bought the green dress she requested for $300. Six weeks before the wedding, the bride's sister (the maid of honour) didn’t fit into her dress and the younger sister said there was too much cellulite showing and so we all bought a new black dress for $280. I paid ahead for my makeup ($150), hair ($150), flowers ($75), nails ($30), shoes ($65) and jewellery ($80) before getting to the wedding. I have hardly seen the bride since. 

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"My second experience, my sister and I were the maid of honour for each other. The bride and groom funded all the costs, so the wedding party didn’t pay for anything. She and I both had similar experiences to the above situation and got married in our early 30s. We both decided that our wedding costs and choices were our own, so other people shouldn’t have to pay. There was a cost for the hen's party and various gifts, but the dress, hair, makeup and accessories were not part of it. I feel like stage of life makes a huge difference to who pays at weddings."

'I'd pay it again in a heartbeat.'

"$7,290. I paid $150 for the dress, $100 for the shoes, $20 for the earrings, $700 for the hens (it was interstate), $120 for nails and fake tan, $200 for catering while we got ready and $6,000 for the wedding gift (but not in real money as I did contra in my business for her wedding flowers). I'd pay it again in a heartbeat, because she's my bestie."

Listen to this episode of The Quicky, all about whether charging wedding guests is ever okay. Post continues after podcast.


'The gift cost the most.'

"I've been a bridesmaid five times, and it's varied. But one thing they all had in common was the bride paid for the hair, dress and makeup. I gave each of them a gift between $500 - $1,000 ($1,000 was because my husband was also in the groom's party and they were a close family member). For three of them, we went on weekends away for the hens costing between $800 - $1,200. Then there were the bridal shower gifts which cost $200."

'I turned down the offer of professional hair and makeup.'

"My friends have had pretty low-key weddings - one cost about $300 (I was a uni student so that felt like a LOT) for a dress, gifts and the hen's party. The second I actually flew interstate for, so it ended up costing about $800-$1,000 between the dress, flights and a gift. I generally turn down offers to get my hair and makeup done if it's optional, just to cut out one extra cost."

'I'm including the cost of doggy day care.'

"Ok here it goes: $400 on the overnight hen's stay (accommodation, food, drinks and activities); $300 on accommodation for the wedding (plus $250 to board my dogs while away); $200 on the bridesmaid dress; $100 on the bridesmaid shoes; $150 on a jacket; $200 on wedding gift and $80 for hair on the day. All up, it cost $1,680."

Image: Canva/Mamamia.

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'I hosted the hen party in my home.'

"Easily $2,500 - we were all expected to chip in for the bridal shower and I’d hosted the hen's party in my home. When I got married, I had no hen's party, just a bridal shower high tea I paid for, and the bridesmaids were asked to buy a dress of their choosing. We paid for everything else because I know how ridiculous it can get."

'$1,800 so far...'

"I’m currently a bridesmaid for my best friend (getting married next month) and have spent about $1,800 all up, including on the bridal shower, flights and accommodation for the wedding and the shoes. She’s paid for the dress, hair and makeup for the day."

'I'm broke.'

"For context: COVID made a bit of a nightmare out of it all, but my friend is having a multiple day Western and Indian wedding. It's $1,000 for the flights to New Zealand, plus $800 for accommodation, $800 for the hen's day, covering mine and the bride's cost, and some food and drinks for the group. Then it's $700 for the dresses and tailoring, $250 for the shoes, $300 for the coat to wear over the bridesmaid dress, $50 for transport to and from event, and a $500 gift for the couple. The bride is covering one of three dresses, hair and makeup, and transport for one event. All up, it's costing $4,400. I'm broke."

'Don't underestimate the gift bags.'

"I paid around $1,400 to be maid of honour. That’s including dress, shoes, nails, (hair and makeup was covered by the bride), and the hens weekend which included decorations, extra alcohol, snack foods, gift bags, etc. The others paid for their own meal, share of accommodation activities and some shouts of drinks."

'A very expensive exercise.'

"I was a bridesmaid for a high school friend in 2020 and spent almost $1,000 - I was shocked at how expensive it was! Then I was recently the maid of honour for my sister and spent probably $800, but as it was my sister and I didn’t mind so much. Either way, a very expensive exercise."

How much did it cost you to be a bridesmaid? Tell us in the comments.

Feature image: Getty/Mamamia.