You know you are in your twenties when everyone around you is getting engaged. Those talks about dream weddings with your BFF are now becoming a reality. As fun as it was to talk about it, the reality is that weddings cost a s%#* ton of money! You have engagement presents, bridal shower presents, bachelorette parties, and wedding gifts. It does not even include the cost of hotel and travel, or a bridesmaid dress if you are in the bridal party.
In the past two years I have been to 10 weddings. It seemed like there was a wedding-related event every weekend. Three of them were in New York. It all added up to thousands of dollars. I definitely started to stress out about how I was going to pay for everything because I could not say no to my close friends and family. Not everyone has that much money lying around. So how did I manage? Five simple words: Open a new checking account. I call this checking account the “wedding fund.”
Yes, I realize that sounds ridiculous but think about how much you can benefit from it. You need enough money for plane tickets and hotel rooms for any out-of-town or destination weddings. Rather then put all that on a credit card, why not start setting money aside? This way you won’t put yourself further into debt for a wedding that isn’t even your own.
Think about how many weddings you have this year. Take that number and multiply it by $100. This is the average cost of a wedding gift. They say it is appropriate to spend as much on the gift as the couple spends per head for each guest. Luckily, I have a break from the wedding circuit this year and only have two this fall. So let’s break this down:
Wedding Gifts: Two weddings means about $200 for the gifts. Now divide that by 12 (or however many months you have to prepare). That comes out to around $17 per month.
Travel Expenses – One of the weddings is out of town. That plane ticket is $400 and rooms for hotel stays for both is around $350. After dividing that by 12 my estimated total is $62 per month.
Overall Total – My final total for two wedding gifts, one plane ticket, and hotel for two nights comes to $950, which means I would need to set aside $80 each month for a year.
To be safe I would put in an even $100 into my “wedding fund” each month. This gives me a little wiggle room for the extra expenses like those other gifts and bachelorette parties. Now you have a better idea of how to break it down.
If you do the numbers and are still stressing about whether or not you can afford all the upcoming festivities, you can always opt-out of some of them. It will be okay if you skip a few things. If you just cannot afford the out-of-town wedding, then decline the invite. But be sure to send a wedding gift, which is proper wedding etiquette.
Remember weddings are supposed to be a celebration, so embrace and enjoy! And if you still feel like you are spending a lot money, don’t worry. One day it will be your day and all of the special things you did for your friends and family will come back around when you get married.