Bridesmaids, here’s how much you’d earn if you got paid for your time

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Kayleigh Dray
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Ask any bride, and she’ll tell you that being asked to be her bridesmaid is an enormous honour and privilege.

But, if you talk to the bridesmaids themselves, you’ll quickly discover that it can also be a serious pain in the backside. Not only are there questionable dress choices and expensive hen parties to contend with, but you’re also expected to perform any number of duties leading up to the big day (DIY table decorations, anyone?). And, while it’s fun to be part of the wedding party, there’s no denying that it can often feel like a big relief when the bride’s big day is finally over.

So we weren’t all that surprised by the results of a new study, which has confirmed that being a bridesmaid really is a full-time job (minus, y’know, the salary).

According to a survey of 1,087 UK women by fashion retailer Simply Be, the average bridesmaid now spends a whopping 43 hours on wedding duties – which, it’s worth pointing out, is more than a full-time working week.

If this was an official job, dedicated bridesmaids could earn up to £326.90 a week based on the national average earnings of a wedding planner.

Unfortunately, though, they’re far too busy spending money on their BFF’s big day; think dresses, hen parties, transport, hotel rooms, wedding gifts, hair, make-up, accessories, and more.

Attending wedding fairs is the most time-consuming of all the bridesmaid tasks, taking an average of 13 hours (including travel), followed by organising the hen party, which takes 11 hours on average.

These long-suffering members of the wedding party also spend a cool eight hours accompanying the bride in the search of their perfect wedding dress, not to mention a further six hours on dress fittings. And, of course, let’s not forget the numerous hair and make-up trials, which bridesmaids spend yet another five hours on. 

However, the duties don’t just stop there, an attentive bridesmaid will continue ‘working’ throughout the wedding day itself, carrying out tasks such as organising photographs, dressing the venue, seating guests at their table and preparing the honeymoon suite for the happy couple.

And yet, despite all of this, 74% of bridesmaids said that they enjoyed the process. Mostly.

Joey Hughes, E-commerce Manager at Simply Be said: “Evidently, being a bridesmaid is a big responsibility and requires a lot more time and effort than many probably anticipate. However, these duties are all part of the honour and fun of being a bridesmaid and most revel in the responsibility.

“Whilst some of the tasks like organising the hen party can be stressful, this tradition is here to stay and will no doubt become even more demanding as many brides now opt for hen parties abroad, multiple dresses and outfit changes and additional engagement parties.

“Thankfully, most of us are prepared to go the extra mile to ensure our friends and loved ones have the perfect wedding day.”

The tasks bridesmaids carry out in preparation for a wedding:

  • Attending wedding fairs: 13 hours
  • Planning and booking the hen party: 10 hours
  • Wedding dress shopping: 8 hours
  • Bridesmaid dress fittings: 7 hours
  • Attending hair and make-up trials: 5 hours


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.