Wedding season is upon us once again. Many view weddings as a time to celebrate, honor one’s love and commitment to their partner, bring family and friends together, and be a happy time for all involved. But there is a dark side to weddings that is often not talked about or is ignored, and that is the financial pressure it puts on all. Weddings are a costly event. The individuals getting married usually prepare in advance, have a budget in mind, and sometimes receive money from family or loved once to help offset the huge costs of weddings nowadays. There is also a significant amount of stress and expected costs for those attending the wedding, such as having to pay for possible travel and accommodations, outfits for the wedding, gifts for showers and weddings, and childcare if needed.
Yes, it Is costly for the one’s getting married, but the real struggle and difficulties come to those in the wedding party, both bridesmaids and groomsmen alike. If you are invited to a wedding and cannot afford all the costs of attending, it is easier to decline and send a gift. However, if you are asked to be in a wedding party, it is expected that you will attend the showers and bachelor or bachelorette parties, contribute to the cost of those parties possibly, buy the dress and shoes or rent the tuxedo, arrange for any travel and accommodations needed to be there, buy gifts for all the parties and wedding, attend rehearsal dinners and farewell brunches, the list can go on and on. In an article recently published on MSN.com, it was shown that groomsmen, on average, actually spend more being in a wedding than bridesmaids due to the costs of tuxedo rentals and elaborate bachelor parties, and that price differential is even more significant for maids of honor versus best men. Although the general assumption was that bridesmaids had the most costs to be in a wedding, it effects both sides significantly. So in this time of happiness and celebration, how can one not get stressed, frustrated, resentful, or angry about the expected costs of being in a wedding and still maintain the relationship with the bride or groom?
- Know what you can and cannot afford. Usually the bride or groom will ask someone to be in their wedding pretty far in advance. Once this has happened, it is time to start figuring out what you can and cannot afford. Be realistic, set a budget, and get creative. Maybe attending all the showers and parties are too costly, so find out which is most important to the bride or groom and attend that one. See if you can share rental cars, rides to the airport, and hotel rooms. It may not be ideal to have to share a car or room with a bunch of people, but it will cost a lot less than going at it alone. Find ways to save money or offset costs, whether it be shopping around for deals or coupons, repurposing or reselling items (especially decorations, dresses, and shoes), or maybe other ways to make some extra money.
- Put it into perspective. Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the reason for all of the costs and time, that two people in love are joining together and want you to be a part of that. It doesn’t make it cost less, but it can help to realize that this is a significant moment in their life, money spent on events and memories usually bring more joy than material possessions or “stuff,” and it is an honor to be part of such a momentous occasion.
- Most of all, be open and honest. Not being open and honest about the stress, pressure, and financial obligation with both yourself and the bride or groom can lead to anger, resentment, hostility, and even the end of a friendship. Most often than not, if you are open and honest about what you can and cannot afford and your feelings with the bride and groom, you will be able to figure something out. It is not worth it, financially, emotionally, and relationship-wise, to let it become overwhelming or put a stain or end to a relationship. If you keep it inside, it will only cause more harm to yourself, the relationship, and your enjoyment in the experience.
Weddings can be a stressful time for those involved, especially financially, but being prepared can help both you and your bank account. You can survive wedding season!