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Can you afford to be a bridesmaid?

Aly Walansky is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She lives with her two Shorkie-Tzus, Scarlette and Max, and a display of pink polka-dot-themed home decor -- not to mention a selection of flavored vodka. Check out he...

Say yes to the dress

Sure, it's romantic and an honor and all that jazz -- but when your bestie asks you to stand next to her as she recites her vows, what do you really feel? FEAR -- at the expense you are about to undertake. Whether it's a dress you'll never wear again, travel expenses or the cost of her ridiculous bachelorette party, it's easy to get overwhelmed!
Bridesmaid and bride

Plan ahead

Destination weddings are very trendy right now -- and while that's all cool and stuff, that means you have to figure the cost of flights and hotels into the expenses. Try to plan your travel as early as possible -- you may be able to share a hotel room with someone else in the wedding party or even another wedding guest. Even better, see if you have family or friends in the area who will put you up!

Get involved

We all religiously watch Say Yes to the Dress around here -- and we see all the drama that ensues. Chances are, though, the bride will want your advice on the various planning aspects of the wedding, and this is your chance to interject as to the value of budget-friendly options.

Rent vs. buy

When buying an expensive new gown, we hope to wear it more than once -- and with bridal party dresses, that's just unlikely to happen. For men, renting a tux is obviously the most affordable option, but it's an alternative that hasn't always been available for women. Consider new options like MyLittleBorrowedDress.com, where you can save a lot of money -- and not clutter your closet.

Expensive beauty doesn't mean better beauty

Sure, the bride should go to the celeb stylist -- it's her wedding. You don't have to. If at all possible, do your own hair and makeup (or go to your usual guy -- chances are you'll trust him more anyway!).

Pool money for a gift

Chances are the bride has a few "wish" items on her registry that no one will be able to buy her. Rather than 10 friends getting the most inexpensive option, why don't you pool your money and get her what she really wants? It's a great way to make all of your money go a lot further!

More wedding reads

The anti-bride: Planning a non-traditional wedding
6 Wedding makeup mistakes
Bride gone mad? How to deal with a bridezilla

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