There's an interesting post on the U.S. News and World Report Alpha Consumer Blog about the escalating costs of being a wedding guest and -- especially -- a bridesmaid. Here's the money quote:
But the heftiest burden of all falls on bridesmaids. They play a role that, for all the honor of its implied intimacy to the bride, comes with a price to match. Bridesmaids are often expected to buy a dress, matching shoes, and jewelry, not to mention professionally applied makeup and nail polish on the day itself. And well in advance of the "I do's," they usually serve as host for a bridal shower, bachelorette party, or both. TheKnot.com estimates that, excluding travel, the average cost for each bridesmaid adds up to around $700.