One of my dearest friends got married at the end of last year. The destination wedding, which took place on some of the most gorgeous beaches of Mexico, was hands-down one of the most exquisite ceremonies I had ever witnessed. And, as one of her five bridesmaids, it was also one of the most expensive.
When I agreed to accept the invitation of being a bridesmaid, I knew I was also accepting the financial responsibilities that accompanied a destination wedding.
Bridesmaid Costs for a Destination Wedding
Regarding numbers, there were several costs that I had to incur. Here’s exactly how much it cost me to be a bridesmaid at a wedding in Mexico:
|Bridesmaid Cost Breakdown|
|Flight to Mexico||$400|
|Bachelorette Party Gifts||$40|
Being a Bridesmaid: Cost vs. Value
Witnessing my girlfriend’s journey from single woman to married woman with a man that she loves was one of my deepest joys. I loved landing in Mexico and feeling my advanced Spanish flow out of me — I felt like a bilingual goddess. I loved ordering room service and eating Mexican burritos in my underwear every morning for breakfast. I loved all of the hoopla and fuss associated with the day; I loved running to a fellow bridesmaid’s hotel room and faux freaking out about getting to the wedding on time. I loved being silly and looking at how round our booties were in the mirror once we put on our bridesmaid dresses. I loved taking #selfies and #usies at the reception and chitchatting with the invitees at my table.
I’ve known the bride since we were in high school. We interned at the same soul-sucking insurance company for two years and wobbled down Wall Street’s cobbled corners in high heels together. She was also my bridesmaid. And a deft one at that: She played referee when my mom and I went almost to blows on the floors of David’s Bridal when searching for my wedding dress.
In short, when I think of our 20-year friendship and all the various way this woman taught me about the power of family, forgiveness and faith, it was an honor to be one of the chosen ones. As a bridesmaid, I was able to create another memory with my friend and the cost of it, though hefty, was outweighed by the emotional returns of that day.
When the Value Is High but So Is the Cost
I understand my perspective is not the same for everyone. The decision to drop nearly $2,000 — the equivalent of startup funds for an online business, a mortgage payment or two, a used car or the cost of a college course at a local college — requires a lot of financial thinking, analysis and planning, even when you care deeply about the bride and groom. Consider asking yourself the following questions to help you determine whether accepting a role in the wedding party at a far-off destination is really worth it:
- Will participating in this wedding put me into debt?
- Can I afford to pay for everything in cash?
- Have recent or upcoming life events like purchasing a home, a layoff or divorce created financial holes or gaps?
- Do I consider this person a true friend?
- Would they do the same for me?
- Could I recoup the cost in some way? Could it be covered as a business expense? Could I extend my stay so I can have a vacation?
No matter what you decide, when it becomes to being a bridesmaid, your friend — if they are a true friend — will respect your (financial) decision.