We are so happy to see our friends get engaged and we are honored to be invited to celebrate their special day! It’s even better when we can do so without going into debt to do so. Therefore, we need to get a little more clear one what to budget for.
How much are we talking about?
In 2014, an American Express survey found that the average guest spent approximately $592 per wedding and in 2016, the average increased to $888 per wedding. This is obviously dependent on a number of factors. According to The Knot, guests attending a local wedding spent approximately $185, guests who drove out of town spent approximately $600, and guests who flew to a wedding reported an average spend of $1,440. The average total spent also varies whether you are in the bridal party! If you are in the wedding, the average is well over $1,000. Now imagine getting invited to 3-5 weddings in one year all across the country…
Wait seriously? Yep, that checked out. In 2018, Katie attended two weddings as a guest. Between bachelorettes, bridal showers, travel, hotels, food, dresses, and gifts, Katie spent $681 and $746 on each wedding. Then in 2021, Katie was a bridesmaid in two weddings which added up to over $1,135 each. But these are just examples.
How can I keep costs down?
- Talk to your friends and ask them about their expectations. Do they expect you to travel for every event with a top of the line registry gift? Are they requiring hair and makeup for everyone? Are they flexible with the dress costs? What costs are they paying for?
2. Use travel points, miles and cash back available to you to cover expenses. I love saving my credit card points to get gift cards as wedding gifts for friends. Travel can be something that really gets pricey so if that means not staying in the room block to say a couple hundred dollars, that might be worth it!
3. Be thrifty! Don’t be afraid to shop used dresses or re-sell your dress on Poshmark or any other resale market.
4. Start a sinking fund! Set a budget and start planning for it early. If you know that the wedding next year is going to cost you $1,100, start putting $100 away each month now.
5. Be honest with yourself and your friends! Don’t lie to yourself. You might not be able to fit 5 weddings into your budget. So be honest with yourself and your friends about what you can and can not commit to. Maybe you can only really commit to the wedding day but will not be able to travel for the engagement party, bachelorette and shower.
5. Say ‘No.’ This is the hardest of them all but it’s okay to say no to a wedding invitation or any other event. Don’t go broke trying to keep up with someone else. Send a nice gift to the bachelorette if you can’t attend or ask to contribute in other ways to the wedding or shower. A nice gesture will save face and money in your bank. If they are a real friend, they will understand. Some times this is a secret blessing to the bride and groom who are trying to keep their own costs down.