Written by LAURA MACMULEN of NerdWallet
Of course, you want to experience joy and love by receiving a wedding invitation. But one small postcard or email can also pack loads of expensiveness.
You may need to provide travel and housing, buy gifts and clothes, or cancel your job. Or maybe you have the honor – and the extra expense – of being at a wedding party.
This could quickly become your reality as the wedding season approaches and events that have been postponed or postponed due to COVID-19 will reappear on the calendar.
Before highlighting these upcoming weddings, take comfort in Crystal L. Bailey, director of the Institute of Etiquette in Washington, D.C.
To fight less and celebrate more, here’s how to deal with the financial burden of attending weddings.
Check your finances – and feelings
When you find out about upcoming weddings, “plan your year,” Bailey says.
Such planning is useful if you are invited to several weddings, wedding parties, bachelorette parties or bachelorette parties and rehearsal dinners. If you tend to answer “yes” to everything, this reflection can show how much time (and money) “everything” will cost.
Also check the balance or budget of your bank account to understand what can be spent after accounting for needs. Ideally, this financial reality check will help you prioritize spending, says Landis Bejart, a licensed mental health consultant from New York and founder of AisleTalk, a company that provides therapy to married people.
For example, maybe you realize you can’t hold a bachelorette party outside of the state, but you can attend a wedding.
If you still feel compelled to disagree, “make an inventory of where such expectations come from,” Bejart says. “It can usually help you navigate what’s important for decision making.”
For example, perhaps this reflection shows that you just want to get out of the house and celebrate after so many quarantines. So you prefer attending a wedding and feel less pressure to buy a new outfit for it.
Prioritizing your values can help you save money. So, if attending a wedding is the most important, you can cut costs in the following categories:
– Accommodation and travel: if possible, choose cheaper accommodation than offered by the couple, or refuse local communication. Share the cost with other guests by sharing the rental for a vacation or traveling together. Pay for fewer nights by skipping the night before dinner and arriving on your wedding day.
– Maiden and maiden evenings, showers and other related activities: you can politely convey these activities if you give a lot of gear.
– Gifts: Matt J. Goren, a certified financial planner from Chicago, suggests simply giving what you can that will be easier to determine after verifying your finances. “If someone thinks you’re a bad friend because you gave them only what you could afford, then he’s not such a good friend,” says Goren, who is the CFP program director at the American College of Financial Services. .
The most effective way to cut wedding expenses? Reject the invitation. This is good, especially if you are more familiar than a close friend or family member, or if you don’t want to go.
If you have to miss the wedding of someone you are close to, Bailey recommends calling or writing a note. Thank them for the invitation and think about sending a gift.
Bejart offers to see if you can participate in another way. For example, if you can’t make a wedding or shower, maybe you can deliver a champagne pair.
Remember, if you can’t afford an event, “it doesn’t mean you’re a bad friend or a bad person,” Goren says.
If you wanted to go but couldn’t come up with a relatively small amount of money – say, for a local event – try to think of the situation as an “alarm clock,” he says. After all, how would you deal with urgent expenses, such as visiting an ambulance?
Use this experience as motivation to create financial security, Goren says, so you can afford emergencies and weddings. Track your money to know where they are going, and learn ways to spend less and earn more.
CONVERSATIONS WITH THE ENGAGED COUPLE
Say that you are close to the groom and cannot afford a wedding or related commitments, such as being at a wedding party. “The worst thing you can do is fear money outweighs friendship,” Goren says.
So discuss your financial problems with the bride or groom – soon, ideally a few months before the event.
“Good friends will understand if you are honest and transparent,” says Bejart. Avoid complaining and not talking about yourself. Instead, ask what’s most important to your loved one, then think about brainstorming and maybe compromise.
For example, perhaps your boyfriend values your presence at the wedding the most, and he fully agrees that you are passing on the responsibilities of the bridesmaid (as well as the cost of hair, makeup, and outfits that may accompany this).
Whether you find a solution or not, Bejart offers to recognize the importance of this milestone. “Brides and grooms want to feel special,” she says.
This column was provided by The Associated Press on the NerdWallet personal finance website. Laura McMallen is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lauraemcmullen.
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