When one typically plans their budget, they don’t often put a category for “friend’s weddings”.
But maybe we should start.
In her most recent article for Washington Post‘s monthly feature, Wedding Guest Wednesday, writer and editor Lisa Bonos tells of how she gets invited to more weddings than she can afford. And while she tries her best to attend every destination wedding possible, there are some she just has to turn down.
“When an invitation arrived recently for a November wedding in Turks and Caicos, I had to say no,” she says. “I would’ve loved to be there, but I just can’t afford it.”
Destination weddings are an increasingly popular trend, as 40% of couples report searching for unique venues.
According to financial planners, a recent financial trend is people going into debt over their friends’ wedding. Since it is an unexpected finance, many neglect to factor in the price of gifts, travel, accommodations, and wedding attire.
On average, 2.4 million weddings take place every year in the United States. In a recent survey conducted by American Express, it was reported that nearly 80 million Americans will attend a wedding in 2015, and will spend an average of $673 on each wedding.
For people in their 20s, this could mean potentially thousands of dollars shelled out for friends’ nuptial celebration. In this economy, it’s a luxury many simply cannot afford.
So how do we avoid this unprecedented bust in our budgets?
According to Carolyn Hax, an advice columnist at Washington Post don’t be afraid to exercise the world ‘no’. Don’t be afraid to be direct, she advises. Unless it’s a family member or close friend, the bride and groom should be understanding if financial reasons or child obligations render you unable to attend their wedding. Clarity, she stresses, is the truest means of kindness, so don’t skirt around the issue.
If you find yourself in a sea of wedding invitations, make it easy for yourself by establishing set rules. For example, an anonymous friend of Bono’s suggests only accepting destination wedding invitations for friends that live out of town.
When declining an invitation, express your love and support by taking them out to dinner or personally delivering a wedding gift to them. The gesture will not fall unnoticed.