This Woman Has $4,000 in Bridesmaid Debt

When a dear friend says “I’m getting married, and I’d like you to be a bridesmaid,” your first response is rarely “before I can make a decision, I need to know how much this is going to cost me.” (I’m assuming, anyway. I’ve never been asked to be a bridesmaid.)

But sometimes you need to consider the price tag before you say yes. Here are some questions Noelle Boostani, writing at XOJane, wants you to consider:

How many parties will you be attending (presents will be expected for each one); where will you be expected to fly and how many times (one wedding meant three round-trip tickets to Florida for me); will she being having a simple bachelorette party or an extravagant weekend away somewhere; and finally, will you have any choice in anything — dress, shoes, hair, makeup? All of these things add up. Quickly. And before you know it, your honor is costing you thousands of dollars.

Boostani learned this the hard way. She is currently carrying over $4,000 in bridesmaid debt after serving as a bridesmaid in four weddings. The first two weddings cost Boostani less than $1,000 combined. The second two? One cost her $2,000 and the other cost $2,300 — and those were the two weddings that went on the credit card.

Bridesmaid hindsight has left me with this insight, which I hope will become your foresight: Financing a bridesmaid honor with debt is not a good idea. It’s not fiscally responsible. And it won’t make your friendship any stronger. Would a friend really ask you to do that?

The irony, as it were, is that Boostani is no longer close to either of these two brides. She writes that “my two best friends are not a part of my life anymore,” even though the credit card payments (and interest) still arrive regularly each month.

Her advice to other potential bridesmaids?

Please, think about it. Ask yourself if you will have to finance this honor with debt. Ultimately, this is your choice. Your decision. Your debt.

You may just want to give the bride a flat number, what you’re capable of spending. Let it be her choice to invite you with that limitation as a condition of your acceptance.

Billfold brides and grooms: Have you had conversations with your attendants about how much they will be asked to spend on your wedding? Have your attendants asked these kinds of questions before accepting their role? Did you consider your attendants’ financial situations in your planning and budgeting? Do you think any of your attendants went into debt to participate in your wedding?

And Billfold wedding attendants: Did you discuss costs before accepting your role? Were you surprised about how much you were asked to spend? And are you also carrying wedding debt long after the wedding has ended?

This story is part of our Wedding Season series.

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