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    How much should you spend on bridesmaid gifts?

    Ok, so this may be the million-dollar question that all brides seem to ask.  The good news is that you will not need to spend a million dollars.  However, this is not an expense you should look at as a place to save.  The fact is your bridesmaids have invested a great deal of money into your wedding and this gift is your chance to show your appreciation of their emotional and financial commitment to your perfect day.

    Understanding your Bridesmaid’s Costs

    Many brides have had the chance to be a bridesmaid, so you may know what we are talking about when we say that bridesmaids make a “financial investment” towards your wedding.  In case though you have not been a bridesmaid or have not thought about what your bridesmaids are spending, the average cost of between $1200 and $1500 may come as a surprise.  Yes, there are outliers where bridesmaids have only had to spend $100-$500 but there are also outliers where bridesmaids spend $3000.  So what makes up these costs, here are areas that your bridesmaid is probably dishing out some decent dough.

    The Dress - the average cost is reported to be ~$250
    Shoes – on average bridesmaids spend $50-$150 on shoes
    Jewelry – average costs come in around $50-$75
    Hair – if a bride is requiring the entire bridal party to get their hair done by a specific stylist then the bride should pay. However, if this is optional the bridesmaids usually shell out their own money on average of $100
    Makeup – tack on another $30-$50 on average
    Manicures – optional but often done, this expense will run you around $30
    Bachelorette/Bridal Party – depending on the gal and the plans this expense varies greatly
    Travel Expenses – on average bridesmaid report spending around $200 although this varies greatly when your wedding is right down the road versus a destination

      How much should I spend on gifts?

      You are probably saying to yourself “Great, now you made me feel bad”.  The fact is your bridesmaids are excited to be a part of your day and although these finances do add up, you will most likely never hear one complaint as they just want to be there to support you.  So how do you take this knowledge and apply it to the budget you are going to allocate for your bridesmaid gifts.

      1) Get out a piece of paper and calculate how much you believe your bridesmaids will spend to be part of your wedding. Use our suggestions above a start, but also include any other areas that may be specific to your wedding.


      2) If you have come across other articles on this subject, you may have seen the suggested amount of $75-$150. This is not a bad general rule of thumb as it comes close to about 10% of the average cost of a bridesmaid, which is what we recommend you use as your budget.  So instead of using a range that is wide and does not correlate to your bridesmaid spend, take the total cost you calculate for your bridesmaids spend and multiply that by 10%.  That will give you a much more accurate budget goal.


      3) Maids of Honor – we recommend spend 15-20% of the cost your Maid of Honor is shelling out. The fact is your bridesmaids are most likely there to support you and have a great time.  In most cases though the maid of honor has a great deal more responsibilities in terms of planning the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, help shop for wedding dresses, etc.  She most likely deserves a little more (if not double) budget for her gift.


      Ideas for incorporating your gifts into your wedding

      Now that you have a number in mind that you should budget for your gals, you may want to consider specific bridesmaid costs which may be an opportunity for you to provide relief via part of your gift.  Bridesmaid jewelry is a perfect area in which you can do just that.  Spending $50-$75 on a personalized bracelet and necklace not only is a great gift, but will also ensure that your bridesmaids accessories are coordinated.  What other accessories may play a dual role as both a gift that is practical and one that can be used on your wedding day?  Matching bridal robescan be used on the day of the wedding, make for great wedding photos, and can become part of their everyday wardrobe.  Stylish clutches are another great gift that can be utilized on your wedding day as your girlfriends will need a place to keep their makeup and accessories.  Having matching monogrammed clutches will ensure that there are no eye sores popping up in your wedding photos that need to be cropped out. Also, consider that unique or personalized wedding favors are gifts, for your guests as well as your bridesmaids.