How Much Do Bridesmaid Dresses Cost? (2024)

Asking friends and family to be your bridesmaids is fun and exciting. They get to be a part of your big day and are close by as you get ready, cheering you on as the nerves set in.

If you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid, it’s equally as exciting. Taking part in the wedding of a loved one is a brilliant honour. It also means there’s a shopping trip in your future so you and the other bridesmaids – as well as the bride herself, of course – can try on some beautiful dresses.

Hopefully, when the time comes to go dress shopping, you know who’s going to pay for what. Is the bride and her family picking up the bill, or have the bridesmaids been told they’ll need to pay for their dresses? Either is fine, but making sure everyone knows what’s expected of them early on is important.

And it’s important to remember that the cost of bridesmaid dresses can vary from relatively reasonable to super expensive. But, how much of your wedding budget do you need to set aside? In this post, we’re going to explore how much bridesmaid dresses cost, including the factors that sway the price, the cost of alterations and whether you can buy bridesmaid dresses on the high street.

To get some great inspo from top brands and designers, browse our fabulous collection of wedding and bridesmaid dresses

What’s the average cost of a bridesmaid dress?

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In the UK, bridesmaid dresses cost anything from £80 – £500, so it all depends on your overall budget. With the average cost of a wedding being a rather lofty £20,775, it might be hard to justify choosing dresses at the higher end of the scale, especially if you have four or five bridesmaids. Similarly, if you’re asking your bridesmaids to pay for their dresses, you might want to choose a style or design that has a modest price tag. Something around the £80 – £150 mark should strike a great balance between beauty and affordability.

Why are bridesmaid dresses so expensive?

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Bridesmaid dresses can be rather expensive, especially if you choose a well-known brand or designer, or choose to shop at a boutique wedding retailer. It is, of course, common for anything wedding-related to come with a premium price tag, as this is more likely to guarantee that your day is extra special.

Bridesmaid dresses are usually made using quality materials and have intricate details. Beading and embroidery take time, as well as any customisations that might be needed to tie them into the bride’s dress.

For some helpful money-saving tips, read our guide to saving money on bridesmaid dresses.

What factors affect the cost of a bridesmaid dress?

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Many factors can affect how much you might pay for bridesmaid dresses, whether you shop at a high-street retailer or an independent boutique.

  • The fabrics you choose can have a huge influence, for example, silk and lace are far more expensive than cotton and polyester.
  • More elaborate and detailed designs will be pricier than simple designs.
  • The more well-known and established your chosen brands and designers are, the more expensive the dresses will be.
  • Customisations can be pricey, so you’ll have to pay more if you’re looking for lots of changes.
  • Retailers in London, particularly boutiques and independents, will generally be more expensive than those outside the capital.
  • If you use a seamstress, a more skilled and experienced professional will cost more than one at the start of their career.
  • If you buy four or five dresses it will, of course, cost more than if you were to buy one or two. But, you might find the cost per dress is less the more you buy.
  • Don’t be surprised if the cost is higher if you have a tight timescale, so make sure you don’t leave anything till the last minute.
  • Renting your bridesmaid dresses is often more affordable, but comes with more limitations and limited customisation options.

To learn more, read our introduction to bridesmaid dresses.

Who pays for bridesmaid dresses?

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Whether or not you choose to pay for your bridesmaid dresses depends entirely on you, your budget, your bridesmaid budgets and the style and cost of the dresses you have in mind.

If you’re setting ‘rules’, then you may want to ensure you have the budget to cover your bridesmaid dresses. If you’re not precious about what they wear, then it’s common to ask your bridesmaids to pay for their dresses themselves.

For more information on wedding etiquette, read our guide on what your bridesmaids should and shouldn’t pay for.

How much do bridesmaid dress alterations cost?

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Because bridesmaid dresses are usually less complex and intricate than a wedding dress, bridesmaid dress alterations costs are usually far more reasonable. Depending on the level of work required, you can probably expect to pay around £30 – £40 per dress. But, heavy alterations might cost double this or more. It all depends on what’s needed and the amount of time the alterations will take.

How much do bridesmaid accessories and shoes cost?

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Generally, even if the bride and her family are paying for the dresses, the bridesmaids will be expected to provide their own shoes and accessories. On saying that, the bride may give her bridesmaids a token gift as a thank you on the morning of the big day, which could be a small piece of jewellery to wear and keep.

Bridesmaid shoes don’t need to be expensive. Any type of flats or simple heels will do the trick. Just remember that everyone will spend a lot of time on their feet, so comfort is key. A nice pair of mid-heel dress sandals or ballet flats will cost around £30 – £60. For accessories and jewellery, you may want to buy something special for the occasion, but you’ll more than likely already have something that will fit with your new dress.

How much does bridesmaid hair and makeup cost?

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On your wedding day, you’ll likely hire a hair and makeup professional to make you look glamorous and take the pressure away from yourself. As part of that, you might want to bring your bridal party together so that those close to you can look just as stunning – especially your bridesmaids.

If you’re able to secure a package, hair and makeup per bridesmaid (including a trial) will cost around £85. If the artist you hire has an assistant, you may be able to get a lower rate if the assistant takes care of the bridesmaids while the artist takes care of you.

For more information, read our guide to the price of wedding beauty.

Can you buy bridesmaid dresses on the high street?

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If you have a strict budget, there are plenty of high-street retailers that offer a wonderful selection of bridesmaid dresses. For example, M&S has a range of bridesmaid dresses to suit all styles, tastes and budgets, but are still beautiful and elegant. You’re likely to find wonderful dresses for around £65, which is way below what you might pay from boutique retailers. It’s always worth browsing the high street – you never know what treasures you might find.

Plan your dream wedding on Bridebook

At Bridebook, we have everything you need to plan the perfect wedding, including expert advice, handy guides and exclusive discounts on everything from venues to wedding dresses. Sign up and start planning your perfect wedding today!

You Might Also Like…

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  • How to Save Money on Bridesmaid Dresses
  • How Much Does a Wedding Dress Cost? The 2024 Average Revealed

Happy Planning!

How Much Do Bridesmaid Dresses Cost? (2024)
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