It Costs More To Be A Groomsmen Than A Bridesmaid At A Wedding — Here's Why
Being asked to be part of a wedding party is an honor, but according to new data it can also be a steep financial burden. GoBankingRates surveyed people who had been recent members of wedding parties to find out just how much it costs groomsmen and bridesmaids to attend weddings and the results may make you think twice about catching that bouquet. Responses from the 502 men and 503 women confirm that if you say yes to wearing that bridesmaid dress the combined expenses will average at upwards of $1,000.
It's no secret that getting married in America is expensive. When The Knot surveyed 18,000 brides for its Real Weddings Study, they found that the average total cost for a wedding in 2015 was $32,641. That's an all time high, up nearly an extra 1,500 from the year before! Today, the wedding party is also feeling the cost of all the pomp and circumstance.
Despite dealing with ugly bridesmaid dress torture, professional hair and makeup, and extra wedding shower expenses, when it comes to shelling out the cash, it's the groom's side that is suffering more. "We actually found that groomsmen are spending more money," said research lead on the GoBankingRates survey, Kristen Bonner. "Especially when it comes to the bachelor party."
It is easy to go overboard with spending as the wedding momentum builds. Approximately 32 percent of bridesmaids told GoBankingRates that the total amount they spent exceeded what they had expected to pay, and groomsmen were close behind — 28 percent saying they went over budget for a buddy's bash. When asked to play a role in the wedding party, it is best to be upfront about your financial limits. You don't want to feel like your fun memories are spoiled by the credit card debt you carry well after that special day is over. GoBankingRates collected data on the typical expenses bridesmaids and groomsmen foot so you can see just how easily they add up:
The Dress or Suit
Buying matching pastel dresses or tux rentals are the first big expense that members of the wedding party are asked to pay. The one time wearability of most of these clothing items makes the spending seem even more frivolous. According to the survey, the average amount groomsmen spent on their most recent penguin suit was $245.50, while the average for a bridesmaid dress was $214.58.
Luckily, allowing your bridal party to buy their own dress, perhaps within a common theme, is trending. Stylist David Zyla told Brides Magazine that it is beneficial to everyone, "Each woman can comfortably shop within her budget and feel so much more beautiful in a neckline, silhouette and fabric that really suit her." For groomsmen, forgoing the tuxedo can significantly cut down on costs (allowing the cash to be put towards something important... like more scotch). So why not be more casual with matching ties and pocket squares? Your friends would certainly get a lot more use out of that then that baby blue waistcoat.
The Bachelor/Bachelorette Party
Of course you want to give your friend's singledom the proper send-off, but depending on their tastes that could cost you. Many of these parties may be stretched into long weekends which include airfare, hotels, dinners out, and "entertainment." The survey found that the best man who usually is asked to host the event spends the most on average at $998.78, groomsmen's expenses were nearly half that at $445.92. The maid of honor spent on average $552.33 while bridesmaids shelled out a mere $386.89 (come on — how many penis-shaped cookies will that really buy?).
Bonner hypothesizes that the difference in cost for men and women can be contributed to grooms choosing to celebrate their upcoming nuptials in more extravagant destinations, running up tabs at casinos and bars. But not everyone can afford this kind of expense — Market Watch reported that according to a 2015 Google Consumer Survey, 45 percent of people chose to skip these events due to the high cost.
The Knot recommends that when it comes to proper wedding etiquette you MUST buy from the couple's registry and never spend under $50. Close relatives and friends (that definitely includes the wedding party) are expected to spend as much as $150 — if you live in or around a city, make that $200! But not all are following those strident rules, the GoBankingRates survey found that 16 percent of bridesmaids and nine percent of groomsmen reported spending only $50 on their gift. But, hey, everyone needs a garlic press, right?
When the big event finally arrives, bridesmaids and groomsmen should be sure they have enough money left over for the extras. Whether that includes renting a car, a plane ticket, or a spa mani-pedi party before the ceremony, there will be costs to factor in around the wedding weekend. Bonner recommends that a little research and DIY spirit can help cut back on these last minute expenses, “There are more ways to creatively stay within a budget today than there used to be, for example, there are dress rental websites, online DIY tutorials for hair and makeup, and personalized gift ideas online.”
If you could use a little help keeping track of your budget for an upcoming wedding try using GoBankingRates' easy guide:
And remember: just because a wedding is special day, doesn't mean you have to empty your account to celebrate it properly.