The happy couple isn’t the only one plunking down big money on their wedding. Between the dress, shoes, jewelry, professional makeup application and hair styling, engagement party, bridal showers and bachelorette party, gifts, and travel and accommodations for the big day, being a bridesmaid can carry a hefty price tag, too.

According to a 2011 study from, the cost for the honor of standing up as a bridesmaid is nearly $1,700. Still, well-meaning brides can make help their bridesmaids cut costs, according to wedding experts Sharon Naylor, author of “Bridesmaid on a Budget,” and Lisbeth Levine, co-author of “The Wedding Book.”

1. Let ’maids Pick Their Dress …

Brides should say no to traditional bridesmaid dresses. The trend of choosing a color and then setting bridesmaids loose to find their dress of choice that hue can help them save big, says Naylor. Not only are they in control of the style, they can also pick the price point and find discounts. And they might even wear the dress again. “It’s better than the peach dress that you’re never going to wear again and don’t even want to buy because it’s so ugly,” Naylor says.

2. … and Their Shoes

“No one really wants to buy a pair of shoes they’re going to only wear one day, which those dyed-to-match shoes always are,” Levine says. Instead, brides should consider picking a neutral or metallic shade, and let their bridesmaids pick their own style of shoe or even wear a pair they already in their closet.

3. Thank Bridesmaids Practically

Sweet sentiments are nice, but bridesmaids will likely appreciate a thank you that lessens their financial burden. Naylor suggests picking up bridesmaids’ beauty costs for the wedding day or hotel rooms for the wedding night.

4. Think About Skipping the Bachelorette Party

Bachelorette parties and weekends away are a huge expense, especially when bridesmaids are spread across the country. Naylor recommends a small gathering for just bridesmaids the day before the wedding, since the wedding party will already be gathered.

“Brunches are the secret weapon of bridal luncheons,” Naylor says, particularly hotel brunches, which can cost less than $20 a person and include a glass of bubbly.

5. Don’t Expect Your Ladies to Be Minions

While a wedding is central to a bride’s life during the month’s leading up to the big event, she needs to remember bridesmaids have their own lives to lead. Don’t expect bridesmaids attend every shower, party or dress fitting, Naylor says. “Let them off the hook whenever you can,” she says. In the same vein, Levine says not to expect bridesmaids to give gifts at every wedding-related event they attend either.

“It’s an unfair burden on the bridesmaids,” Levine says. “They should only have to get you one pre-wedding gift.”

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