The True Cost of Being a Bridesmaid or Groomsman over a Lifetime

Title graphic for “the lifetime cost of being a bridesmaid or groomsman”

“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” said Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses, and thousands of females across the country. Bridesmaid and groomsman costs can rack up to be a pretty penny, especially if you’re in multiple bridal parties over your lifetime. But, what’s the actual price tag of being in a bridal party? The Shane Co. team investigated. We tallied the cost of dresses, tuxes, hair/makeup, hotels, gifts, bachelor(ette) parties, flights, and more to uncover the true cost of being a bridesmaid or groomsman for one, five, and even 10 weddings.

Below is a full breakdown of bridal party costs for both local and out-of-town weddings. Buckle up — it’s enough money to fund a year’s worth of college tuition!

The True Cost of Being a Bridesmaid & Groomsman

A chart showing the lifetime cost of being in a local bridal party

Picture it: you’re in one of your best friend’s weddings. So you just have to cover the cost of a bridesmaid dress or tux rental and a wedding gift, right? Wrong

When we agree to be in our loved ones’ bridal parties, we often forget about the mountain of costs associated with celebrating their nuptials. A dress and a wedding gift are one thing. But let’s not forget about dress alterations, hair, makeup, bridal shower gifts, flights, and bachelor(ette) party costs — the list goes on and on. When we tally up the total cost of being in a local wedding, the price tag amounts to $1,264 for a bridesmaid and $1,055 for a groomsman. 

But that’s not all. What about being in multiple friends’ weddings during your lifetime (in some cases, multiple weddings in one year). For perspective, five weddings will add up to $6,320 if you’re a bridesmaid and $5,275 if you’re a groomsman. For 10 weddings, you’re looking at upwards of $10,000. 

A chart showing the lifetime cost of being in an out-of-town bridal party

For destination weddings or weddings out of state, we have to consider the cost of a flight to the wedding. In this instance, we also considered a destination bachelor(ette) party (think Nashville or Austin) where bridal parties are incurring flight, hotel, food, and alcohol costs for a three-day shindig. These cost factors have a hefty price tag and therefore, the cost to be in one wedding skyrockets to $2,595 for a bridesmaid and $2,271 for a groomsman. Meanwhile, the cost of being in 10 destination weddings doubles the cost of being in 10 local weddings. 

An infographic showing the opportunity cost of being a bridesmaid in 10 weddings

The cost of being a bridesmaid in 10 out-of-town weddings over the course of one’s life is significant. The average lifetime cost of being a bridesmaid is $25,953, costing nearly the same as a down payment on a home, the cost of your own wedding, an electric vehicle, a 2.5-carat diamond engagement ring, or a year’s worth of out-of-state college tuition. 

U.S. map showing the most and least expensive cities for a bachelor(ette) party

To round out our study, we averaged four cost factors for 25 of the most popular U.S. bachelor(ette) party destinations, according to The Knot, to find the most and least expensive cities for a three-day bachelor(ette) party. Cost factors include: 1) the average cost to fly into the destination, 2) the average hotel cost for a three-day trip, 3) the average cost of meals for three days, and 4) the average cost of cocktails and beer for three nights.

Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco land the top five most expensive cities for a bachelor(ette) party, while Orlando, Phoenix, Charlotte, Savannah, and Park City are the most cost-efficient cities for a bachelor(ette) soirée. 

That wraps up our study of the true cost of being a bridesmaid or groomsman. Even though the price tag of participating in our loved ones’ weddings is substantial, the joy of seeing them tie the knot with their sweetheart is priceless. Whether you’re soon to be engaged or fantasizing about your dream diamond, shop Shane Co.’s selection of engagement rings to find the perfect ring for you or your loved one. 

Methodology

To determine the cost of being in a bridal party, we added up the following cost factors for bridesmaids and groomsmen for both local and out-of-town weddings. We then multiplied the total cost of being in one bridal party by five and 10, to find the cost of being in a bridal party over a lifetime. The cost factors are listed below with their respective sources:

  • Average cost of a bridesmaid dress

Source: The Knot

  • Average cost of dress alterations

Source: Thumbtack

  • Average cost of a tux rental

Source: Weddingstats.org

  • Average cost of hair and makeup

Source: The Knot

  • Average cost of a male’s haircut

Source: You Probably Need a Haircut

  • Average cost of accessories (shoes and jewelry)

Source: Weddings Cost Helper

  • Average cost of a manicure and pedicure

Source: The Pricer

  • Average cost of a wedding gift

Source: Wedding Forward

  • Average cost of a bridal shower gift

Source: Bridal Shower 101

  • Average cost of a three-day bachelor(ette) party

Cost factors: Average cost of meals, alcohol, hotel, and flight into the destination city 

Sources: Alcohol.org, Expatistan, Statista, and U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics

  • Average cost of a hotel (two-night stay)

Source: Statista

  • National average cost of a flight

Source: U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics  

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