More and more young women are saying “no” to the dress and “no” to being a bridesmaid because of the cost of not only buying the dress, but destination brunches, travel, and other expenses associated with being a bridesmaid. I have hoped for many years that the current trends for wedding parties, specifically bridesmaids, would cool out and come back down to earth, but apparently it is only getting more elaborate and expensive. I have four daughters. They have all been in countless wedding parties now at a cost that might have paid for one full wedding.
This morning my youngest daughter who is a struggling college student, called me for advice. She had already purchased an expensive dress and shoes, but just learned that the wedding she will be attending in two days will also cost her another bundle for hair and make-up. She was told that she could not do her own. Her rent is due, she barely has enough to scrape by and by the time she spends money on the travel and final few details of her friend’s wedding, she will be over her head financially.
Some bridesmaids can rack up two to three thousand dollars or more for all the destination brunches, travel, and clothing. I have no problem with this for people who can afford this type of luxury, but for the average college age person, it is a stretch to say the least.
My second daughter, after spending quite a few dollars being a bridesmaid in a few weddings decided not to have a bridal party. At first, we were a bit shocked that she threw out almost every tradition and current trend. There were no brunches, no rehearsals, and no stress. Other than getting someone to officiate, there was very little planning or money put into the ceremony. During the world’s shortest ceremony in a beautiful room overlooking Lake Michigan, they said their vows. We watched, and then we all headed over to an amazing, and quite elaborate reception. We were blown away with what she managed to pull off.
Its simple elegance and lightheartedness rivaled any event that I have ever attended. Her goal was to put on a huge party celebrating her marriage and serving and entertaining the people who traveled so far to celebrate with her and her new husband. They did a fantastic job! As an added bonus, they received every gift on their registry and received quite a bit of cash and gift cards, possibly because gift giving gets slim when you have already paid up just to be involved in a wedding. It was a lovely and unforgettable event and I learned some things for the next daughter. Less was definitely more in this case.