You’ve been best friends since that first day in kindergarten. The teacher paired you as lunch buddies, you shared her strawberry cupcake. You began playing hopscotch, graduated to marbles. The years brought slumber parties, special dances, secret notes written in study hall, missed curfews and broken hearts survived. Through it all, she’s been there. Now she’s getting married and you are, of course, the natural choice to be maid of honor. You wouldn’t dream of saying no.
But accepting the honor will start the cash register ringing: A formal dress. Cha-ching. Matching shoes. Cha-ching. The airline ticket. Cha-ching. A wedding gift. Cha-ching-ching. A shower gift. Cha-ching. The transmission went out of the car last week. Cha-ching-ching-ching.
We invite the most precious people in our lives to be part of our wedding, a special memory forever to be cherished. Yet it’s considerate to recognize that their participation is a financial commitment among many other fiscal responsibilities.
“If you’re asking someone to be a part of your wedding celebration, then you know them well enough to have a grasp of their financial situation and know if being in your wedding would be an economic burden,” said Michael Anthony, owner of Wedding Flower Warehouse in Baltimore, Md. “If it’s really important to you to have them there, you should also be willing to help that happen. Attendants will appreciate your sensitivity and efforts.”
One prospective bride, Hillary, certainly would have appreciated such empathy. With their wedding set for September, Hillary’s fiancé was asked to be best man at an April wedding taking place during a week-long Caribbean cruise. Their costs? The cruise: $3000. Airfare for two: $536.00. Tuxedo rental and gift: $200. A week’s vacation each.
“It has caused tension between us,” Hillary said. “I know they’ve been friends from childhood, but we’re paying off our own wedding. Accommodating their plans cost us the honeymoon we wanted for ourselves. There just wasn’t enough time and money for both.”
Michael Anthony said this should be unnecessary.
“As a bride, be realistic and practical,” he advised. “If an average bridesmaid’s dress costs $125 and you choose one for $250, you might consider making up the difference.”
In fact, there are many ways to consider the respective budgets of your attendants and to save them money without cutting corners:
Watch for sales and/or specials. “Package deals” might also be an option.
Who To Invite To Your Wedding Who To Invite To Your WeddingChoose a dress that can be worn again. There are few occasions to wear a floor-length dress, and apricot is not a good color for everyone. Length, style, and color are main considerations. Classic designs and colors make the best choices.
Have the dresses made by a professional seamstress for a customized fit at a more economical cost.
Choose a dress that can be easily altered. If you have a lace-edged or uneven hemline, alterations will have to be made at the waist – a more expensive procedure.
Have men wear dark (black) suits with matching ties.
Turn in any available frequent flier miles. When Leanza Cornett, Miss America 1993 and former Entertainment Tonight correspondent, wanted to get married in Hawaii, she cashed in her frequent flier miles to buy tickets for her family.
Ask attendants to not purchase gifts. “Your presence on this special day is more than gift enough.”
Pay a portion of the expenses in lieu of a gift for the attendant.
Ask your attendants to not host a shower or bachelor party. Use relatives and other close friends as their alternatives.
Traditionally, it has been the attendants’ responsibility to pay for their own attire, travel expenses and a wedding gift, and to host a shower or bachelor’s party for the couple. The couple provides accommodations. Yet who pays for what can become more a matter of affordability, and there are no iron-clad rules of how things must be done.