Prince Charles & Diana tied the knot for an estimated $110 million USD(i) . While weddings are expensive for the hosts, guests too can bear a significant financial burden.
This year American’s are expected to spend $673(ii) on each wedding they attend, up significantly from last year according to an American Express Survey. This can be a weighty expense for guests especially during wedding season where 20-30 somethings often attend several weddings in a short period. Not only that, costs increase when you are a member of the wedding party, or a relative of the happy couple.
While it’s important to celebrate, being a wedding guest shouldn’t come at the expense of your own finances. Whether it be your plan for retirement or funding your day to day lifestyle, these are important towards reaching financial independence and should not be completely derailed by wedding season.
Planning for wedding attendance, allows you to try to save money and plan ahead to keep yourself strong financially. Below are some insights which may help you to navigate the expenses of wedding season.
1. Create a wedding fund: Set aside money for wedding season throughout the year. This will give you a slush fund to access when all the costs need to be paid in a relatively short time frame.
2. Book early & with friends: Plane tickets and hotels often increase significantly in price closer to the date, these costs can be minimized by booking early. Furthermore, sharing accommodations with friends whether it is a hotel room or renting an Air BnB can chop accommodation prices in half.
3. Look for the happy medium: Although a bachelorette in Las Vegas is sure to be a blast, chances are if you have been through one wedding season you’ve already done it. Who said renting a cottage or a night out on the town wasn’t fun?
4. Give what you can afford: While there are many wedding standards on gifts for the bachelor party, bridal shower, and wedding itself you don’t have to follow them. Give within your means prioritizing your personal finances first. Putting time into a thoughtful gift or card is much more important than what you spent.
5. You can say no: Can’t afford to travel to a destination wedding in Turk’s & Caicos? Remember you don’t have to go instead you can send a nice gift in lieu of attending. While this is harder if the individual getting married is a close friend, the choice of attendance is up to you.
Wedding season is meant to be an enjoyable time for everyone, make sure you plan ahead and don’t let it break your bank so you can enjoy it to the fullest.
(i) Lubin, Guss, Business Insider.com, April 28, 2011; http://www.businessinsider.com/most-expensive-weddings-in-history-2011-4?op=1
(ii) American Express Spending & Saving Tracker: “When others say I do your wallet will too” http://about.americanexpress.com/news/sst/report/2015-04_Spend-and-Save-Tracker.pdf