I remember getting a lot of questions from people after my wedding, wanting to know how we managed to do everything so “affordably.” And while my mom was a great negotiator and pulled some strings, I think the biggest reason we kept the cost low was because we had a small wedding – not in the number of guests (though we kept it to 100), but in the number of people participating in the wedding.

After being a bridesmaid in a few weddings, I knew I wanted to be somewhat untraditional and keep the bridal party extremely small (I’ll elaborate on selecting your bridal party in another post, with my reasons there!). And the more we looked at all the details and day-of expenses, it saved us quite a bit of money. Here are the “hidden expenses” that you might have not considered about larger bridal parties:

  • Bridal party gifts
  • Bridal party accessories
  • Flowers
  • Hair/make-up
  • Rehearsal Dinner
  • Transportation

Some of these things really depend on your specific wedding, too – if you’re not concerned about hair and make-up for the bridesmaids, then you can save money by letting them do their own thing (otherwise, if you are requiring your bridesmaids to have a specific up-do, you should be footing the bill).

Things like flowers and rehearsal dinner traditionally fall on the groom’s side, whereas transportation is traditionally handled by the bride’s side. However, fewer and fewer couples are following the traditional route so there may not be a way for you to share the burden in that way. But these three areas are really where more people mean spending more money! If you have a large bridal party, you'll need a larger rehearsal dinner venue, which typically require a minimum that you'll pay to rent the space. Transportation gets trickier, too - especially if it's something you need to provide (somewhere downtown or further out).

While none of these things typically break the bank, they do add up quickly. The more people you have involved also means that there is more to organize and manage, which means you will need a wedding planner or day of coordinator to make sure everyone is where they need to be at the right time. Having a small bridal party was the only way I got away with not having a day-of coordinator, and I still should have invested in one. That's another story for another day! Let's just say you don't need the caterer calling you while you're about to walk out for your first look with your groom.

Ultimately, your budget should be aligned with your priorities. If you’re okay with skipping the limo for everyone to travel in because you’d rather have those certain people standing by you as you say your vows, then that’s what you should do!