Money Mic: I Can’t Afford My Friends’ Weddings

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People have a lot of opinions about money.

In our “Money Mic” series, we hand over the podium to someone with a strong opinion on a financial topic. These are their views, not ours, but we welcome the opportunity to spark a constructive conversation about money. 

Today, one woman opens up about why, given her income and the way she spends, she feels like she can’t afford her friends’ weddings.

Whether you’re a money maven or still learning the ropes, we share these stories to let you know you’re not alone. This is just one person’s story; for LearnVest-approved advice on what we recommend you do if you’re in a similar situation, check out our note at the end, full of sound financial advice from a Certified Financial Planner.

When I moved into my first studio apartment in Brooklyn in the fall of 2009, my dad tried to prepare me for my new adventure.

After helping me set up furniture, he handed me some yellow envelopes with string ties he’d bought at Staples. He told me that when he first learned to budget, he used the envelope system.

Even after four years working as a publishing assistant and living with roommates in New York City, I wasn’t the best saver, so my dad was trying to give me a fresh start—into each envelope went what should be budgeted for that expense each month. The trick was not to steal or borrow from each envelope to help another.

Together, we took a Sharpie and labeled them. Rent. Utilities. Leisure. Incidentals. He’d witnessed the flurry of weddings I’d been invited to over the past few years—along with the mild meltdowns that accompanied them as I scrambled to come up with the cash for yet another bachelorette—so for our final envelope, we wrote in all caps: WEDDINGS.

Unfortunately, when I’d run out of money for food or leisure within a few weeks, I’d end up dipping into that envelope earmarked for friends’ weddings (summer wedding season seemed so far away in winter!), which is why the system ultimately didn’t work for me. I’ve since tried documenting my expenses with a spreadsheet to get better at budgeting … and I’m still working on that.

Three years later, I’m trying to accept my fate: While I love participating in and attending my best friends’ weddings, I just can’t afford it.

I’ve attended nine weddings in the past three years, which may or may not sound like a lot, but all told, I’ve spent a total of about $5,000 on gifts, bridesmaid dresses, travel, hotel stays and other incidentals since I’ve been in my 20′s.

How I Pay for It All

I just turned 29, work in publishing and live alone, so I don’t have a lot of extra money to begin with. When wedding season nears, I try to pack lunch, limit dinners out, babysit most Friday nights and swear off cabs. As a wedding guest, I re-wear dresses all the time and alter past bridesmaid gowns to wear to other people’s weddings. (Though when pictures are plastered all over Facebook, this can be tricky!).

A snapshot of my current financial situation: My rent eats up about 50% of my paycheck. I’m not managing to save right now. (I do, however, have about $25,000 saved for retirement.) I’m hoping to pay off a little over $4,000 of credit card debt by the end of this year. I don’t even use the card: It’s tied to my overdraft, so if I run out of money at the end of the month, it dips into that, which is where those problems are coming from. 

When I’ve been really strapped, my parents have loaned me money to cover my portion of a bachelorette party or assisted with travel expenses (and let’s not forget Mom loaning me her dresses!).

For instance, they recently paid about $80 for an Amtrak ticket to Boston for a wedding. I’m lucky in that my parents offer when they see how strapped I am, and are supportive. They wish I had a better plan to afford these things, but realize how much it all adds up and are happy to help when they can.

Spending $5,000 on weddings isn’t that terrible over the course of a decade, but I could have used that money to pay off the credit card debt I’ve accumulated in the same time frame.

I Skipped My Friend’s Wedding Because of Money

A close friend and I joke that we are calling this the summer of going into debt for our friends’ weddings. Another friend has decided to only attend the shower or the bachelorette party leading up to a friend’s nuptials, but not both.

If I’m close with the bride or groom, I will usually spend $50 on an engagement gift, about the same for the shower gift, and anywhere from $125-$150 for the wedding gift. Hotels usually cost around $150 a night.

This summer, I finally reached a tipping point. A plane ticket to Indiana for my friend’s wedding cost $400 and I really couldn’t afford it. This happened once before when a good friend got married in Minnesota on Memorial Day Weekend, and I had to say no—the trip would have cost upwards of $600.

I agonized over this latest one for weeks, wondering if I could take a few more babysitting jobs to make it happen. But finally I realized it would be too much. I let her know I wouldn’t be attending. Lucky for me, she completely understood, as did my friend several years ago.

The Brides Have Been Respectful, But …

I’m lucky that, like the Indiana bride, most of my friends try to be sensitive to their guests’ budgets when planning their weddings.

For instance, a Boston friend had her shower and bachelorette party all in the same weekend, making it much easier for out-of-towners to attend. Another friend chose fashionable bridesmaid dresses from discount site The Outnet, and they were on sale for $98.

Because my friends have been so considerate, it’s not like one super-expensive wedding has busted my budget or made me resentful. Rather, it’s the onslaught of invites all at the same time.

What I’ve Gotten Out of All These Weddings

In a strange way, I never really felt like I had a choice in terms of spending. I tried to cut corners where I could in terms of doing my own hair or borrowing a dress, but it seems like such an important part of someone’s life that I rarely thought about not participating.

On a beautiful summer night in Cape Cod I got to crack into a delicious lobster after spending the day with college friends.

At a wedding last year, my brother-in-law and I wowed the dance floor with our rendition of the “lift” from Dirty Dancing (I fell, but it was a great memory).

At the wedding of a friend since nursery school, another old classmate’s parent gave me a ride–and if I closed my eyes, it was like she was taking us to the Bronx Zoo at age six again.

I’m grateful for having been included in these monumental occasions in my friends’ and family members’ lives. If or when I get married, I likely won’t have a big party for myself—I clearly have some work to do in terms of my own financial planning, and would rather put the money toward my future.

Editor’s Note: What Should You Do If Weddings Are Strapping Your Finances?

If you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s what LearnVest recommends: 

  • LearnVest Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Sophia Bera says, “Never go into debt to pay for a friend’s wedding. This may mean you can only go to one of your friends’ weddings this year, or you may have to say no to being a bridesmaid, or sacrifice going to the shower and bachelorette party to make it for the big day.” She suggests trying to save by using frequent flyer miles, hotel or credit card rewards and sharing hotel rooms with friends. But, Sophia our financial planner notes, “The real problem with the author’s situation is that she’s not getting out of credit card debt because she keeps saying ‘yes’ instead of ‘no.’ To get out of her current situation, she’s going to have to trim her budget, say no to going to weddings for a while and generate more income. Babysit more? Sell your stuff on Craigslist? Can she tutor? People always forget that trimming your budget might not be enough, that you may need to make more money to pay for these extra expenses.” 
  • Estimate how much you’ll need for this year’s wedding season, all told, and divide that sum by 12. That’s how much you should be socking away each month. You can keep track of your progress in LearnVest’s My Money Center, and even create a special folder for it. LearnVest also suggests you spend no more than 30% of your take-home pay on rent; in Jane’s case, reducing the 50% she’s spending on rent would probably create some much-needed breathing room in her budget. We recommend you balance your budget with the 50/20/30 rule, which means you should spend no more than 50% on all your essential expenses, like housing, groceries and transportation; at least 20% on financial priorities like paying off debt, saving for retirement and building up an emergency fund; and no more than 30% on “lifestyle choices” you can control, like going to restaurants or, ahem, weddings. Here’s more on making the best budget for you.

Thanks, Sophia!

Readers, what do you think: Are weddings taxing your budget big-time, or do you think the bigger wedding season hurdle is trying to live by a budget in general? 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EZ2NIOBUA2WBL4E43DBGIXEPFY Hannah Rose

    WOW! I can see several ways in which the author could save on weddings. (I seem to be past the age when my peers are getting married–now it’s the nieces and nephews!) First of all, decide not to travel further than you can ride a bus or train to for a wedding. I have college friends in Indiana (I live in CA), and never expected to attend their weddings. 

    Second, don’t spend so much on gifts! How about something hand-made, such as a pretty pillow, a few nice sachets for the closet, even home-made food, such as jam or cookies or your own fancy tea blend. Also, start shopping thrift stores and flea markets; you can find some amazing gifts for under $10.00. A well thought-out gift does not have to cost a fortune!

    A third idea: If you have friends who are roughly the same size, consider gown-swapping for different weddings.

    Finally, believe it or not, you can sew up your own gown for much less, if you’re a seamstress. If not, ask a friend to trade sewing skills for something you offer. And learning to say no to dipping into the wedding envelope for some other expense is a matter of choice. Good luck!

    • megs

       jeez, you don’t even need to handmake gifts to save compared to what the author is spending.  my friends and i, all less than 5 years out of college, have spent $40-$50 on gifts when attending each others’ weddings.  NONE of us did engagement gifts of any kind.  we did either a shower gift or pitched in on the cost of the bachelorette party (which were all low-key, low-cost affairs), but we did not do both.  i read this article and thought, “wow, are we a bunch of cheapsaktes?”  but no.  actually i think we’re quite rational.  i would never want any one friend to spend so much on me.  if, say, my grandma wants to shower me with pricey gifts on many different occasions related to my wedding because she loves me and she’s got extra cash to burn, then by all means. but from one of my friends who i know is still just getting on their feet in life financially?  it’s just too much.

  • http://twitter.com/everywaywoman EveryWayWomanTalkSho

    I learn to say no. It sounds like the author has a problem saying no to herself and friends. I can’t believe her parents are still bailing her out. 

  • shantreks

    As others have pointed out, she spends a LOT on gifts!  I actually had a friend “disown” me for not getting her a wedding present, even though we traveled to DisneyWorld for her wedding (I live in the midwest).  I was surprised, but figured she wasn’t worth my friendship if she was that petty.  Frankly, I couldn’t tell you who gave me what for which prenuptial occasion when I got married, and I would never begrudge someone for not bringing a gift.  The idea was to share my day, not buy me presents.  I am past the flurry of weddings now, but I can empathize with the author, esp if she is frequently a bridesmaid – that really adds up!  But she could definitely cut costs on gifts – it’s the thought, not the price tag, that counts after all.

    • Elle

       You probably should have still gotten her a present… Like you said, it’s the thought that counts.

  • Alexzandria85

    My husband and I were married at 22. Which may be young to some, but now all of our friends are getting married (between 24 and 30 years old). And this wedding season has been challenging, since we have so many friends at that stage of their lives. It can get expensive, but with prior planning and budgeting you can contribute something to each special day without breaking the bank.

  • Coop1002

    One of my really good friends recently moved to Nebraska and was planning a wedding there. She asked me to be her maid of honor. I had just had a baby and was barely going back to work after unpaid maternity leave. I without a doubt knew that I couldn’t afford to attend that wedding. Having just gone through a financial makeover with Learnvest I realized that it was ok to say no. Of course it is disappointing, but much better than adding extra stress to your life and finances. Your friend will understand.

  • NJgirl

    Some harsh words here. Depending on the area you live in, your rent may be high-it’s a fact of life. Also, depending on what you do, your salary may reflect this. I live in NJ where the average rent for a 1 bedroom is about $1200 and I only make $45k as an attorney so I feel the author’s pain.

    I think many feel to see that if you do decline wedding invites, bachelorette party invites, etc that you are hurting their feelings and can cause the relationship to suffer.  I know that I have not been invited to weddings to “save money” which hurt my feelings-thanks for letting me know that I don’t warrant $100 a plate.  Many of the weddings I have been to are close friends-if I declined based on saving money along, the realtionship would be upset. Why? Because on your big day you want your friends and family to be there.

    The author is on the right track but could save even more on weddings. I use Groupon or Living Social to buy wedding gifts. 

    • Jung

      If you bust your butt trying to save some money, how can it be justified to blow it on one weekend for the sake of another person’s short-lived disappointment?  I had a “save money” wedding – 32 guests – that my parents graciously paid for, and we had a budget.  Should we have gone beyond what we knew we could spend so we don’t hurt any person’s feelings?  When it comes to other people’s finances, I don’t get emotionally involved.  With my own, I do.  And I would expect the same from other people.

    • Kat R

      I think you’re right–depending on your profession, it just may not be feasible to get your rent down to that 30% mark if you live alone in Brooklyn. But what about moving to a less-expensive neighborhood/city? Or going back to having a roommate? Another option, if she’s not willing to change her housing situation, is to take advantage of the ways a big city can SAVE you money. E.g., she mentions avoiding cabs only during wedding season. Why not avoid them all year long (or at least use them less frequently)? Public transit is CHEAP.

  • Kat R

    I think Ms. Bera is right on the money: the core problem here is the author’s refusal to say “no.” Part of maturity is understanding–and accepting–that life has tradeoffs. In this case, the tradeoff is between financial solvency and expensive wedding trips. If the author truly wants to be financially solvent, she has to give up the expensive wedding trips, either by foregoing them altogether or by reducing their cost. And, at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old fart (I’m only 35, I promise), I can’t believe how elaborate people expect weddings to be these days. All the parties (bachelorette, shower, pre-party, morning-after brunch, post-party . . .), and a gift associated with each one?! Seriously? And I totally agree with those who’ve pointed out that a friend who cuts you off over this issue is not worth keeping. That’s part of maturity, too–learning to do what’s wise and responsible, not making choices that are bad for you to please “friends” whose values are out of whack.

  • Guest

    As a mid-twenties woman who lives in New York and also works in publishing, I can pretty accurately guess that her annual salary at 29 is at the MOST $55K, could easily be $45K, and that you truly cannot now find a studio in a reasonably safe neighborhood (as a young woman who’s often alone, it’s a big factor to consider) for less than $1000 — yes, even in Queens, and especially in Brooklyn! And even with roommates, you could not really go below $800 without a fairly bleak situation (I pay about $900 and have no living room & lots of mice). So, no, 30% of one’s income in the publishing field, in one’s twenties, in New York, is simply impossible. She almost certainly has no car, which helps somewhat.
    I’m seriously considering changing career paths and/or cities for these reasons.

  • guest

    This article really affected me as I am going through a similar situation where my childhood best friend is getting married this fall.  The wknd will cost at least a grand for me to fly there, get a hotel, rent a car and give a gift, but what’s the other option- miss my best friend’s wedding???? I think that this author is very fortunate that she has so many good friends that she refuses to disappoint by missing their important day. You can’t give $50 as a wedding gift when weddings are costing the couple over $100/ plate. Your presence at the wedding is not their gift- you need to at least cover your cost of a plate and if you’re not going to, then you should not go to the wedding. The author is giving a reasonable amount.The economy is the problem- real estate in NY is still in a bubble, while companies are still having salary freezes. Also, although public transportation in NY is cheap (if you call a monthly subway pass at $98 cheap), its not always smart for a young woman to take public transportation late at night by herself, not unless she enjoys flashers, drunk harassers and the lurking Brooklyn rapist. So I applaud her for being and having good friends, supportive parents (that want her to enjoy her life after working so hard even though she doesn’t make the big bux) and making smart decisions to live in a safe neighborhood and not take the subway at night alone, but most of all, I applaud her for not being cheap. 

    • Barb1015

      Most people I know do not spend 100 bucks a plate and if they do,thats on them.You’ re not there to pay for food.When my god daughter got married,many of the gifts she recieved were $40 and $50 in a card.A lot of people do not have the $$ to give a lot.Even when I got married,we got $25 and up.We thought nothing like,well,we spent 40 bucks a plate and only got $50 as a gift.We were just happy those we invited came and knew they didnt have to stay home cause they couldnt give $50 or more as a gift.Many older people helped bake cookies for my friends wedding as their gift.Its the thought.When my daughter gets married here,I dont expect her to get large gifts,esp in this economy and many people out of work.Its whatever you can do.

    • Jen

      agreed… at my recent wedding, we were spending around $100 total on each guest, including food, bar, favors, etc, and most of our guests had to travel. Other than a few people who are well off, almost all the gifts were less than $50, and several were $15-20. My husband and I weren’t bothered in the slightest- we budgeted for the wedding we wanted, and we were honored by the presence of those who were able to come, and by the loving words from those who couldn’t afford to. If I had a friend who I thought would rather have a $100 gift than have me present at her wedding, I would skip the wedding, and probably the expensive gift as well- that wouldn’t be the kind of friend I want! One of my very best friends wasn’t able to afford to attend my wedding, and it was very sad knowing she wouldn’t be there, but I would also have felt absolutely horrible if she came, knowing she would go into credit card debt to do it. She sent us some of the most beautiful loving words I’ve ever read the day before, that mean more to me than any pricey gift ever could. 

      • Jen

        (I mean to say, agreed with Barb1015 below, not the poster above!) Being a good friend doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your own well being! And it isn’t the economy’s fault that people make poor financial choices- the fact that people make poor financial choices and don’t want to take responsibility for them is why the economy is in such a poor state. 

  • Willette27284

    With the advent of technology, why can’t couples Skype their wedding so that those who are on a budget still have the option of participating, albeit, virtually?

  • Guest

    Engagement gift AND shower gift AND wedding gift, totalling $250?? Maybe that’s normal these days, but it’s a LOT. If it’s really a close friend, s/he will understand if you choose *one* moment for a modest, well thought out gift. Heck, they’ll understand if you can’t do anything at all. 

  • pinenuts0

    simple, if you can’t afford it then don’t go to the wedding; if they’re a real friend, they’ll understand 

    they’re more likely than not to get divorced anyway statistically speaking 

  • Edenholly

    Engagement, shower AND wedding gift!?!? No wonder you can’t afford it! As an Australian, this seems to be purely an American thing and it is really ridiculous. We give wedding gifts but to have 3 gifts just because people decide to get married is insane!

    However, we have also had to elect not to go to a wedding because of the expense (it was far away in peak holiday season). Good friends will understand why you can’t make it.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZP3H3G3BLFTZSELO3WV4PIMQIM Haven

       I agree. And not to mention attending both a shower AND a bachelorette. The bachelorette will cost at least another $100 for drinks and cover charges.

  • CleoBarker

    Engagement, shower AND a wedding gift??? thats a crazy boatload of gifts to ask of anyone in my opinion! Only thing I asked for, was be there, and buy your bridesmaid dress in a specified color, you pick the style and cut, no poofy or tafetta material.
    Maybe its the way I look at things but I would feel horrible asking (a.k.a requiring) people to bring me gifts at a wedding. I’m paying because I budgeted for this and I want you here. Being in the military makes it all worth the money you spend to just see everyone that you normally do not get to see. I said no gifts, I explained because then I have to take them home on the plane (no thanks) or ship them home which is overseas… Unless you’re bringing alcohol for the reception, no thanks, your presence is all I need.

    • http://twitter.com/WellYesYouMay WellYesYouMay

       I agree. I really can’t imagine all of that. It seems a little presumptuous to me. I just gave my brides maids a few colors to pick from for a dress. We made sure that our wedding registry had lots of inexpensive items (150 +50+50? REALLY?) just in case people felt pressured to buy one. I felt bad making everyone out of town take a train and get hotel rooms! I know that we were even more casual than some, but if 100$ is inexpensive for a dress then I’m glad that those sorts of people have never invited me to be a bridesmaid. o_0 Luckily, my friends seem to be just as considerate as I am when it comes to wedding expenses.

  • Katey911

    I’ve never once purchased an engagement gift – and my friends have never minded. And it’s always been easy, and possible, to purchase nice wedding presents for $50ish. Perhaps NY is a different market from what I’m used to, but I see no need for the weddings to have cost the author quite so much.

  • Lill O’Lady

    For most of our country’s history, weddings were a lunchtime trip to city hall, followed by dinner with family and friends and a weekend honeymoon. This fantasy wedding fad is just another way to tie a young couple into paying interest on debt for the rest of their lives. What a waste! It proves the old adage: a fool and his/her money is soon parted. Get your priorities straight: good food, good friends, good family, good memories, and go on and have a good life. The pageantry won’t keep you warm when the gas bill’s due. And nothing ruins a marriage faster than fighting about money.

  • It is ONE DAY

    Being in a wedding cost me a lot more than I expected it to. I had to buy a dress for almost $200, then (because I’m short) had to pay almost that much in alterations. Then it was chipping in for hosting the bridal shower (plus chipping in for a “group” gift), plus the bachelorette party, AND a wedding gift. I’m guessing I spent close to $900 to be in this wedding and I wasn’t even paying for a hotel room or transportation (other than gas) since it was local! I didn’t know most of the other bridesmaids very well and they just “assumed” how much was appropriate for everyone to contribute to the shower, etc. It would have been nice to come up with a budget as a group that worked for everyone. Luckily, that’s the only wedding I’ve actually been in. I’ve attended several others, and while I know that “etiquette” dictates that you cover the cost of your plate with your gift, I cannot afford that, especially when people are having weddings today that run $150 – $200 or more a head! I just got engaged and while we are probably going to have a couple hundred people at the wedding (my fiancé has a HUGE family), we are having 3 attendants each (my sister is my maid of honor, plus two of my best friends as bridesmaids). One of those friends I have not yet asked about being a bridesmaid, but when I do I’m going to stress that I will not be upset if she can’t because she’s had a tough time with finances and her health for awhile now. I can find another (less expensive) way for her to be involved in the wedding if she can’t afford to be a bridesmaid. Also, my fiancé and I are having a two year engagement to give everyone (including us) time to save money. Though it will be a pretty large wedding as far as the number of guests, we plan to save money wherever we can (except for the food – we are huge foodies – but would also never expect our guests to “cover” this cost with a gift). Our biggest goal is not to have a wedding that impresses a bunch of other people or looks like it was cut out of a bridal magazine, but something that is meaningful and spiritual to us.  We’re going to do a small “traditional” registry for things we actually need like new towels or bed linens, but since both of us had our own apartments before we moved in together, there really isn’t that much “stuff” that we need (nor the space to store it!).  We’re going to create a registry on weddingrepublic.com, which allows you to set up a place people can buy “experience-based” gifts (like contributing to a dinner for two at $20 each or gifting toward the honeymoon, etc.).  To me, that’s way more meaningful than just getting a bunch of new “things,” half of which you probably won’t use anyway.  Also, I already told my sister that I want the bridal shower and bachelorette party to be small and more focused on what they are supposed to be – a step in the right of passage of becoming a wife – than an excuse to party, get drunk, and have people buy me a bunch of crap.  I want to be surrounded by my very closest friends and spend time talking and laughing with them.  I think so many brides get caught up thinking that they have to have a “perfect” wedding (as dictated by the wedding industry) and impress people.  It is ONE DAY and while it is an important day, no one (bride/groom, parents, relatives, friends, OR guests) should have to break the bank for it.

    • It is ONE DAY

      Also, I have received a couple engagement gifts from very close friends, but they were completely unexpected and I think it’s ridiculous that people think they have to buy three separate gifts for one event.  The engagement gifts I got were lovely and small, but personal (which is more my style anyway).  For bridal showers, I usually will get a gift, but something inexpensive ($20 or less) but meaningful to my relationship with the bride and save the (slightly) larger gift for the wedding (when I’ll usually pick something reasonable off the registry).  Again, I can’t believe how CRAZY people get about weddings.

  • Frequent wedding guest

    I totally disagree with Sophia Bera’s advice.  Life is short and our friends and family are the most important things.  If I have to charge a flight or two on my credit card in order to be there for a good friend on the most important day in his/her life (which hopefully will only occur once in a lifetime), then so be it.  At least I won’t be looking back in 20 years (as many do) regretting my decision and wishing I had been there.  If you need to skimp, then skimp on the gifts or pre-wedding events, but don’t miss the wedding – a true friend knows that your presence is the best present of all.

  • Scarborough Mommy

    At our wedding, we did pay over $100 per guest (including kids) but we didn’t expect to “get it back”.  We were the ones who chose to have the big wedding.  We could have easily just done it at City Hall and invited only close family.   But we have also been to many weddings and if the bride/groom were close, we were lucky that we didn’t have to fly out for the wedding.  I did have to decline an international wedding once because the flight alone would have been $1000.

    As for gift giving, I think that the “standard” should be what you can afford and if a bride/groom has invited people to help cover the costs, then shame on them!  I was invited to a wedding 2 weeks before the actual date by a work acquaintance.  I was aware of the wedding and knew many people were going (including my sister!) to be going but I didn’t feel close enough to her to be invited.  Then I got a last minute invite because several of their invited guests declined and they had to find people to invite because they couldn’t afford the wedding.  I was already busy that weekend so I could not attend but was quite shocked at how obvious they were about the invite.  My name was actually spelled wrong on the invite too!!

  • Dwntwndeb1

    Oh honey, it’s time to wo’man’ up and stay home! This is the real world, and if you have to borrow money from your parents, you shouldn’t be going out in those big girl panties. You’ll live without attending, and so will your friends.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/T53QVBFAUXK56NIXRMT2CAWTOM KatieS

    I understand agonizing over the travel expenses, but spending so much on three gifts or what you’re wearing? It is not a big deal to wear the same clothes to two weddings, even if you have documented evidence on facebook. Worrying about wearing the same dress twice is the concern of someone with more money than they know what to do with. I also agree with other that the gifting is extravagant! Three gifts is a lot for one wedding unless your family or a VERY close friend. There’s also no “required” budget for a gift. At my wedding we got gifts anywhere from 25 to 200, and did not judge or even make a mental note of who gave less and who gave more. If your friends are your friends they won’t either.

  • stlsam

    Why do we ‘need’ a lavish wedding anyway?

  • RaeD

    Part of the problem people create for themselves is thinking they have to provide an engagement, shower and wedding gift. NOT! One wedding, one gift and timing is irrelevant. Stop feeling guilted into giving more than one. Decide how much you can afford and that’s your limit on one gift. Shame on any couple (individually or jointly) to expect more from anyone. Shame on you for being manipulated into thinking multiple gifts are required.

    And for all the naysayers out there — give it a rest. I’m not a cheapskate. I know what is considered proper and just because you are too stupid to realize that or greedy that is your problem. Reflect on that instead of projecting your skewed perceptions on others.

  • http://www.amateurvagrant.com/ Rae

    This is a wildly frustrating issue for me because my husband and I had a very small, very cheap wedding because we didn’t want to spend our money on hosting a big event. I am happily married and happy that we’ve been able to save a lot of money in the six months we’ve been married instead of starting off in debt. But now the wedding season is starting up and I had to turn down being a bridesmaid for one friend already because just being in her wedding literally would have cost me more than my entire wedding. It’s not just the budgeting–it’s also a clash of priorities. I just don’t think people should spend so much money on weddings, and I don’t want to have to spend money on someone else’s wedding. I’m very happy to send a gift!

  • Anonymous

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