Standing Up in a Wedding: What No One Wants to Talk About

How much are you expected to spend if you’re asked to be in the wedding party?

Megan Costello has invested considerable time, money and energy in weddings. At an August ceremony at a Walker’s Point coffee shop, the MPS special education teacher (and a newlywed herself ) served as maid of honor for the third time in three years. She’s also been a bridesmaid four times. That’s a quarter of the way to Katherine Heigl’s 27 Dresses, for those keeping track.

“It’s a big honor but it comes with a lot of responsibility, costs and some stress,” Costello says. She has planned bridal showers and bachelorette parties, including arranging for transportation, drinks, food, party favors, entertainment and decorations. Then there’s the cost of buying a dress, alterations, shoes, jewelry, hair, makeup and nails. “I was told for one wedding to get a spray tan because of my tan lines,” she says. “It all adds up.”

She has attended weddings in Denver, St. Louis and Mexico, which meant travel costs brought the total outlay even higher. “The costs to stand up in a wedding have grown far beyond what they used to be,” says Terry Powers, an event planner at Golden Chic Events & Consulting. “And men don’t always have it easier.” Beyond the tuxedo rental, there’s the bachelor party, for which a trip has become vogue, she adds. Plus booze, party buses, “maybe a traditional shave and haircut, and a round of golf.”

So how much should you expect to spend? Costs can be anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for best men and maids of honor, depending on the type of wedding and location, says Janice Rosenthal, owner of Party Productions. Costello says she spent $700 to $1,000 for each wedding she was a part of. “Imagine a bachelorette party in Vegas or a wedding on an island. It sounds wonderful, but it could be very costly,” Rosenthal says.

‘Price Check’ appeared in Milwaukee Weddings 2017.

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Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.