Memorial Day marks the unofficial wedding season. For many this means attending 2-4 weddings this season alone and all those expenses can add up, and crash your budget.
The average bridesmaid spends an average of $1695 per wedding. This includes the dress, travel, gifts and parties. Even if you aren’t a member of the bridal party, 42% of invitees plan on spending between $100-$500 per wedding.
However there are ways, to survive the wedding season with your finances and friendships intact.
Plan for it. Listen, many times you can see it coming. If you have a number of friends in committed relationships, a wedding is probably on its way. Set aside some money each week by making small changes (brown bagging your lunch, hopping the bus instead of a cab), you won’t feel such a hit when the big event(s) arrive.
Selectively gift. If you’re invited not only to the wedding but also the engagement party, shower(s) and bachelor/bachelorette party, you’re not required to bring an equal gift to every event. Give yourself a spending limit at the onset and divvy it up accordingly. Maybe a bottle of wine for the engagement party, a small gift off the registry for one shower and the big kahuna for the wedding.
Group gift. Feel free to split that wedding gift among pals. If you’re in the wedding party or you’ve got a group of friends from college who are all going to the wedding, get an email going with them and suggest that you each contribute $75 to go in on one big gift.
Keep it casual. If you’re hosting a pre-wedding event, you don’t have to dazzle with expensive details. Keep it personal, and quaint. Pick something that matches the couple. If they got engaged in Napa, you could do a wine tasting party.
Split the bills. Sites like WePay (wepay.com) and SplitABill (splitabill.com) make it easy to divvy hosting costs among a group. No badgering for money six months down the road; no waiting for checks to arrive in the mail. Just log on, set up an account and wait for the money to start rolling in.
Be honest. With yourself and your pal who’s marrying. “If this is really going to hurt your financial situation, you need to say no. You are not going to lose a friend—trust me they will understand. Just make sure you are honest, and let them know upfront.