Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Close Friends Recently Engaged? Better Start Saving

The wedding industry is booming. In 2012, the average wedding cost $25,656, cites The Wedding Report. Much focus is placed on helping the bride and groom save on the money spent on their big day, but it’s not just the brides and grooms shelling out cash. Wedding party and attendees also spend several hundred, maybe even thousands of, dollars on the wedding, especially an out of town or destination wedding.

Expense of Attending a Wedding

According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, 69 million Americans will attend at least one wedding this year and will spend 59% more than last year. Based on the survey, guests expect to spend $539 per wedding on expenses like travel, new apparel, and a wedding gift. The closer you are to the bride and groom, the more you’ll probably spend on a gift. Close family members expect to spend $179 on a gift while co-workers will probably spend only $66.

Bridesmaids and groomsmen expect to spend an average of $577 on the couple’s nuptials on pre-wedding festivities – think bridal showers and bachelor parties – gifts and wedding party attire.

The expenses of attending a wedding can add up faster than you’d realize. If the wedding is out of town, you’ll have to pay for transportation and accommodations. You may have to rent a car when you get there or pay for a taxi to transport you from the airport to the hotel and to the wedding site.

The bride and groom’s close friend may start spending months before the big day arrives. There may be an engagement party, bridal shower, and a bachelorette/bachelor party that requires you to spend money gifts, attire, and travel. People in the wedding party are often responsible for the cost of these pre-wedding festivities, driving their cost even higher.

Look for Areas to Save

Once a close friend gets engaged, it’s probably time to start stashing away some cash. Perhaps, even before that, when the friend’s relationship gets serious. That way, you won’t be caught off guard by the expenses involved with attending or participating in the wedding. Look for ways to cut costs: book your travel earlier, consider staying at another, less-expensive hotel, buy your dress (or suit) or shoes on sale or even second-hand, or do your own hair or manicure.

Consider driving instead of flying, especially if it’s only a few hours’ drive. It may even be cheaper to rent a car than to purchase a plane ticket, especially if you can carpool with other friends and split the cost of the rental and gas.

You may be able to lower the amount you spend on a wedding gift by going in with a group of friends. You can all contribute and get a nicer gift than you may have been able to purchase if you’d all purchased individual gifts.

You may be able to use your credit card rewards to lower the cost of a wedding gift, especially if the registry contains an item that can be purchased from a different store. If your credit card’s reward program has a discount mall, e.g. 20% of Bed Bath and Beyond purchases, you can save money by purchasing that way.

Decline the Invitation

Depending on your relationship with the couple, you can turn down the invite, especially if you have more than one wedding to attend in the same summer or even the same weekend. Declining a wedding invitation may free up some cash within your budget to buy the couple a nicer gift than you’d have been able to afford if you’d attended the ceremony.

Sources: American Express Press Release,
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Sunday, 21 April 2024

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