Heads Up, Bridesmaids: Here's the Average Cost of a Bridesmaid Dress
Wondering how much the average bridesmaid dress costs? We're here with the answer. A recent internal study surveyed over 27,000 newlyweds who tied the knot sometime in 2019. The resulting data gives a fascinating look at what's spent (on average) on popular wedding elements, from invitations and favors to—you guessed it—bridesmaid attire.
So what is the average price of a bridesmaid dress? Based on these latest stats, bridesmaid dresses cost $140 per person. Still, it's important to keep in mind that what you pay may be something totally different. In reality, prices can vary quite a bit depending on things like the dress designer, the style of dress and even your location. For example, when you break the average spend out by region, it's highest in the Mid-Atlantic (at $154 per bridesmaid) and lowest in the West (at $126 a pop).
Another interesting study finding? It turns out that each groomsman's outfit may ring up at a higher price than each bridesmaid's. According to the study, the average cost of groomsmen attire is $180 per person in comparison to the average bridesmaid dress cost. That said, bridesmaids may incur other expenses that groomsmen don't—bridesmaid hair and makeup cost, on average, $70 per head each.
All this begs the question: Who pays the cost of bridesmaid dresses? Typically, the bride or couple pick out the bridesmaids' attire, but the attendants are the ones who actually foot the bill. (Bridesmaids also tend to pay for their jewelry and accessories, but not for professional day-of beauty services unless they seek them out on their own.) That's why it's important for couples to be mindful of their wedding party's budget when making group fashion decisions. And there's no rule that says the couple can't cover the bridesmaid dresses if they (or you as the soonlywed) so choose.
If you're wondering why bridesmaid dresses cost what they do, there are honestly a ton of factors that go into each price tag. One big one? The fact that many bridesmaid dresses are made-to-order, in part to ensure that colors that are supposed to match perfectly actually do (hello, dye lots). And unfortunately, because certain sizes can require more fabric, they can be more expensive too. (Luckily, though, brands including David's Bridal are becoming more inclusive on that front.)
Want more insight into how much bridesmaid dresses are? Shop around your area using our list of local bridal and bridesmaid dress salons. You can also browse online. Check out classic bridesmaid dress retailers like David's Bridal and The Dessy Group. We also like Birdy Grey (known for dresses under $100), Lulus (the ever-popular pick for trendy bridal parties) and Brideside (which has an entire program dedicated to helping you shop for styles virtually). But don't forget that retailers like ASOS and Nordstrom also sell bridesmaid (or bridesmaid-worthy) dresses. And if you'd rather cut costs with borrowed gowns, there's always Rent the Runway. Don't forget that your options also expand beyond dresses—have you seen these jumpsuits?
Need help picking the right bridesmaid look(s)? Check out our roundup of affordable options in every popular color. Or, if you're a bride stumped on even choosing a color scheme, consider ordering swatches to compare to your wedding's other details. (Hint: Most of the stores listed above offer them.) You can even show the pieces of fabric to your wedding planner for help choosing the right hue (or two!). Of course, in-store or online stylists can also lend a hand.
At the end of the day, it's all about finding balance, which really goes for planning any aspect of the wedding. The cost of bridesmaid dresses can be flexible, so long as everyone involved is!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, some of which may be sponsored by paying vendors.
Updated April 2020