You have probably read about the outrageous costs related to weddings, especially those of celebrities. Some examples –
* Prince William and Kate Middleton, $34 million
* Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, $6 million
* Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, $3.5 million
The cost of weddings for “normal” people, like you and I, may not run in the millions but can easily run into the thousands of dollars. According to a story on ABC news’ program “20-20”, the average price of a wedding for the “average Joe” is $27,000 and can be even more expensive depending where you live. For example, in Los Angeles, that average changes to $37,000, in New York, $65,000.
In today’s economy, it is essential that you learn how to spend smarter and weddings can easily be pulled off for far less than the national average of $27,000. For example, my wedding cost us about $300 and we had it outside and catered (by my brother)! A wedding, after all, should be about fun and making memories, not about how much you can spend.
But, what about the cost of attending a wedding? This is a subject that doesn’t get much exposure however, the cost of attendance can be equally outrageous, especially if you are in the wedding party or if the wedding is at a destination.
First come the pre-wedding festivities. Engagement parties, showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties. Purchasing gifts, drinks, food, even new clothes for these events, cost the guests considerable sums of money. What of the expenses of being in the wedding party? Clothing rentals, parties, hair make-up, shoes – the list goes on and on.
According to the website 20 Something Finance, the breakdown of expenses for a bridesmaid goes something like this –
* Gift for the Shower: ~$50
* Gift for the Bachelorette party: $25-$50
* Gift for the Wedding: ~$50 (yes you have to buy gifts for each party)
* Dress: $150-200
* Shoes: $30
* Alterations: $50
* Undergarments: $30
* Hair: $50
* Makeup: $50 (some brides ask to have done day of, others brides – the good ones – don’t)
* Total cost of being a bridesmaid : ~$500
(Thanks to 20 Something Finance for the above information!)
The Maid of Honor (MOH) incurs the most expense of all in the wedding party. This could include the limo, entertainment and venue rental, gifts, etc. If the bride’s mother doesn’t pick up the tab for the shower, the Maid of Honor is saddled with this expense as well. For the Maid of Honor, add at least another $500 on top of the $500 for the expenses listed above.
The cost of being the Groomsman isn’t quite as harsh as those for the MOH, coming in at around $350, according to 20 Something Finance. The Best Man (BM) is in the same boat as the MOH, as far as bachelor party, but his bill again comes in less than that of the MOH at around $300 (sans stripper). None of these costs included those surrounding the destination wedding, which can add significant amounts to the above costs, especially if the wedding is in another state or country. Then there’s time off from work, babysitters, and miscellaneous costs involved with getting to the destination. Yes, the cost of attending a wedding can be outrageous and there are some things that you should do before you ask your friends to be a part of your special day.
1. Put yourself into your friend’s shoes – If you were in the friend’s boat, would you have the money to spend on the wedding? You probably know your friend’s financial situation fairly well so you should consider their situation before including them in your plans. Perhaps you should scale things back a bit to accommodate them, if including them means a lot to you.
2. Get issues out into the open – After the engagement has been announced, and you have been ask to participate, ask the bride or groom about their plans. If finances are going to be an issue, you should be able to discuss it with your bride or groom to be without worry, they are your friend’s after all! If you can’t afford to pay for some of the festivities, then you should be able to work through it with them. After all, they might be having problems paying for the wedding as well and they will probably relate more than you may know.
3. Help your friends plan the wedding – If you are able, help your friends plan their wedding. Your advice might be invaluable in the area of saving money, After all, they have their heads in the clouds and might need a bit of a nudge toward some items that are less expensive. Or perhaps you know of a store or online resource where they can save considerable money on some items. Helping the bride and groom save money might help everyone else in the wedding party to save money.
4. Skimp where you can – This might sound harsh but, skimp on things wherever you can and get creative to save money. For example, do you really need to buy a $200 wedding gift? Perhaps something handmade would mean a lot more to the bride and groom than those Waterford crystal glasses on the registry. Let the family buy the more expensive gifts. Or, if you are buying off the registry, pick an inexpensive item and wrap it in a creative way. Sometimes, the way something is wrapped makes it look as if you spent hundreds of dollars!
If you are smart, plan well, and involve yourself in your friend’s wedding plans, you should be able to bring the expenses down, for everyone involvedl. After all, it’s the social aspect and mateship that counts on the wedding day, not how much money you spend.