Hooray! One of your nearest and dearest is getting hitched, and they've asked you to be their maid of honor. As the title suggests, it's a great privilege to be asked to assume this coveted nuptial role. However, as Glamour's "The Cost of Being a Maid of Honor" video explores, this distinction — as flattering as it may be — is going to run you a pretty penny. If you're a dude, though, don't worry... it doesn't cost nearly as much to be a best man, in comparison. I feel like I probably shouldn't be surprised to find the difference in cost to be yet one more example of systemic sexism and how expensive it is to be a woman... but it's still worthy of a whole lot of fist shaking. Because... seriously? I mean... seriously?!
Before we dive right into the reason you should apparently have a separate piggy bank just for potential bridal party gigs, it's worth pointing out that these figures are just estimates. Everything from the cost of airfare to the price of a pair of shoes can vary depending on what part of the world the wedding is taking place in and where you're doing your wedding ensemble shopping. I was in so many weddings in my 20s that my life looked a little bit too much like the Katherine Heigl rom-com 27 Dresses, so I'm painfully aware just how much the cost of being a maid of honor can fluctuate.
There's no time like the present to start that bridal party fund! Having said that, gird your purses, ladies — the following revelations might sting a bit. Watch the full video here, and read on for the greatest (or worst, as the case may be) hits:
The Wedding Shower
Est. Cost for Maid of Honor: $740Est. Cost for Best Man: $0
Ouch, that smarts. What in the sweet name of all things holy costs so much for a maid of honor, you ask? Well, you have to factor in airfare, the hotel, Uber rides to and from, your dress, and the gift. If you don't have to travel out of state, you'll save a few bucks for sure; you probably also don't need to buy a whole new dress for this one (and never underestimate services like Rent the Runway, which let you rent dresses for formal occasions relatively cheaply). Still, given how much you're shelling out, it doesn't seem fair guys are totally off the hook when it comes to wedding shower attendance.
Dress And Tuxedo Shopping
Est. Cost for Maid of Honor: $400Est. Cost for Best Man: $348
Glamour estimates the average cost of a maid of honor's day of wedding ensemble shopping at $220 for the dress, $50 for the clutch, $80 for the shoes, and $50 for alterations, for a total of $400. In my experience, this is a conservative figure. I have been in weddings where I've paid almost $400 for my dress alone, so my sum was obviously considerable higher. As for guys, they do have to chip in some change here — to the tune of roughly $250 for a tux rental and $98 for a pair of snazzy sneakers or dress shoes.
Bachelorette Or Bachelor Party
Est. Cost for Maid of Honor: $152Est. Cost for Best Man: $302
Here's where it gets a little comical. Sure, a maid of honor can expect to drop about 150 bucks for a night out with the girls to celebrate the bride's last night as a single lady. But the fact that here, it's pegged at running the best man $1... times 300? Priceless. The cost of palliative care for both parties is the same: two aspirin at $1 a piece.
The Wedding Day
Est. Cost for Maid of Honor: $771Est. Cost for Best Man: $658
For an out-of-state wedding, the maid of honor and the best man start off on level ground with both shelling out $630 between airfare, hotel stays, and the gift. Then things branch off, though. While guys do wind up paying $28 for a haircut, the Maid of Honor spends another $141 on jewelry and accessories to go with her nuptial attire. This doesn't include hair, makeup, and a manicure, which is typically, although not always, paid for by the bride (or the person footing the bill for the rest of the wedding). Such is not always the case, though, so better set aside some extra dinero if you want look on fleek. As for the best man, he essentially just needs to show up.
While this breakdown admittedly has many variables, the bottom line remains the same: Women are held to different societal expectations where weddings are concerned, and those expectations unequivocally translate into spending more money. Maids of honor are expected to look a certain way and uphold certain standards that simply aren't a factor for best men. Are there more pressing examples of gender inequality in the world? Absolutely. But Glamour's video is a reminder that gender gaps are present everywhere, and the best way to combat them is to address them.