I went back and forth about whether I wanted to share how much was spent to host my best friend's bridal shower. I finally settled on putting it out there simply because I don't think people realize the extent of the effort and money required to put an event like a bridal shower together. If you want to read up on the effort involved read the first post in this series: Bridal Shower Planning - The Action Plan. Of course, how much you're willing to put into it is solely up to you and I'd never recommend breaking the bank in order to host an event. So, do what you feel comfortable with and make the best of the resources you have available.
Note about Accepting the Role to be in Someone's Wedding
I'd like to mention that before you accept the position to be in someone's wedding please only accept the invitation if you're willing to put in the time and take on the costs associated with being a part of their special day. That includes buying the dress, shoes, accessories and getting hair and makeup done, where applicable. You may also need to contribute to the cost of the bridal shower and bachelorette party, purchase gifts for these events and above all, make yourself available to help plan, attend/host the events. Whoo!! You see how costs can add up really quickly? And, if you have the honor of being a Maid or Matron of Honor please recognize that that distinguished title comes with even more responsibility than that of a bridesmaid.
BudgetI personally chose to take on the bulk of the costs as I felt it was my responsibility as a Matron of Honor. Everyone doesn't feel this way about the role of Maid or Matron and that's okay. But, when I was asked to be a Matron of Honor I was so happy to accept and soon after I had a conversation with my husband explaining how important the role was to me and that I would like to budget $1000 for the bridal shower. He didn't understand but agreed anyway and went on about his business :).
- Set a budget for the event before you begin anything else. You'll need to know how many people the bride will want to attend in order to set your budget accurately so obtain the number of guests (you won't need the specific guest list just yet) as soon as possible.
- As you work with the bridesmaids to talk through the venue, food, favors and game options and get a feel for the prices determine how much everyone is willing to contribute and go from there. I only asked that the eight (8) other women in the party contribute $55 each and any costs beyond that I would take on.
- As stated above, understand that the cost just to be in a wedding can add up for folks and even consider that some have to make accommodations and arrangements (i.e., hotel, babysitter, etc.) if they're traveling from out of town and depending on the nature of the wedding/reception. Keep this in mind as you set budgets and request contributions as you don't want to tax the group more than necessary.
CostBelow is a breakdown of where the money was spent to host the event. Keep in mind that you can really cut down on costs by hosting the event in someone's home or community center, printing off games at home, and/or preparing food and some of the activities and signs yourself, etc. The list below is just to show you how things can add up so that you can think through where you want to spend your money (or time doing these things) and think through where you might be able to save.
- Venue Fee - $350
- Food/Decor - $610
- Cake + Cupcakes - $100
- Party Favors - $150
- Invitations/Games/Advice Cards - $100
- Welcome, hashtag signs - $15
- Frames/Stand (for certain printables) - $65
- "Message in a Bottle" Materials - $50
- Thank you cards - $10
- Photographer - $125
Printables purchased from various Etsy Shops -- See Part 1 of this series for links.
In our case, the event was back in our hometown where we no longer live, so having it in someone's home wasn't considered. We found a nice venue that catered and included setup/cleanup, so going with that option made the most sense for us as out-of-towners. I utilized Etsy for all of the printable items, and Michaels and Target were the go-to for all of the other materials. Things, like purchasing thank you cards and hiring a photographer, are totally optional and should not be considered if you're trying to keep costs down.
Our guest list was for 40 people but we only purchased items (e.g., printed games, party favors, cupcakes, etc.) for 35. In hindsight, I wish I had only purchased for 30 people or less. It's a given that everyone will not show up to an event, even if they've RSVP'd because things happen...and people will be people. When you're planning, consider only planning the event for about 75% of the people on the guest list. Anything more than this may be wasteful.
So there you have it. How much you spend on a bridal shower can be as much or as little as you and the bridesmaids are willing to put into it. Some may feel that the above costs are way too much for this type of event, while others will spend well beyond the above. Either way, I hope I've given you a feel of the responsibility involved with hosting this particular event so that you're prepared for what it may take going into it.
Good luck with your planning!
Photo by Natasha N. Smith Photography