Friends Don’t Make Friends Overspend: Wedding Edition

by Shawanda Greene

Wedding Cupcake

I don’t wanna sound blasphemous, but I hate weddings. They’re such an elaborate waste of money, I just can’t stand them.

According to CNNMoney.com, the average wedding cost $21,814 in 2008 down from $27,490 in 2007.

You got $22,000 burning a hole in your bank account, then buy me a high quality diamond. Something I can look at and admire on a daily basis. I want women whose weddings cost tens of thousands of dollars to be so daggum jealous of me, they [fill in something debilitatingly clever here].

Now, don’t get mad. I wouldn’t judge you for spending ridiculous sums of money on your wedding. I’d only judge you if you spent someone else’s money (e.g. American Express, your indigent mother) on your ridiculous wedding.

A while back, my best friend really ticked me off when she announced she was getting married to her on again off again boyfriend and wanted me to be her maid of honor. I don’t really get involved in people’s business, so it wasn’t the groom that bugged me. It was their rocky relationship. The problem was that she asked me to incur non-refundable expenses for an event that was unlikely to occur.

I realized I’d gotten off easy when a friend told me she couldn’t go with me to Ireland, because she couldn’t afford it due to a wedding she’d committed to. Both her and her son will be in the wedding.

Here’s the rundown.

Budget for Friend's Wedding

Are you essing me?!

Over $2,200 for somebody else’s stuff!

It’s not fair!

Enter Your Name and Email Below and Click

Most people aren’t like me. You might really enjoy attending weddings or being in them. Plus, you may not want to completely disappoint your loved ones by selfishly refusing to participate in costly activities that are important to them.

If you care for the person who asked you to either attend or participate in their wedding, and you’re loaded, then it’s perfectly okay to be a part of their big day/week.

If that’s not the case, here’s what I suggest. Instead of responding with, “Ain’t nobody got no money!” when you’re asked to be a member of the wedding party, stay calm.

Try this four step process for dealing with the situation.

Step 1

Understand your friend may be a bit jaded when it comes to the expenses you’ll incur. She is spending $22,000 on a wedding after all. Your $2,250 represents mere pennies in her eyes.

Step 2

Find out how much the event will cost you. Use the budget above as a starting point. To share in this glorious occasion, you might have to sell something or take on a second job or push off motherhood for another year or take a semester off college. But it’s best to know this upfront.

Step 3

If you find you simply can’t afford what your friend is asking of you, then tell her. Perhaps she’ll be open to reconsidering her wedding budget. Presumably, you’re a close friend if you’re asked to be in a wedding.

Step 4

There’s nothing wrong with saying no if you don’t have the money. Under no circumstances do I advocate going into debt to be a part of a friend’s wedding. She should understand that you function in a world of limited resources. If she can’t comprehend that, then it’s fine to go back to the preamble to Step 1:

“Ain’t nobody got no money!”

This article was featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance #245 – “Dollar Doodles” edition at Budgets are Sexy.

Has a friend ever asked you to participate in an event that you either couldn’t afford or just didn’t want to spend the money on?

Photo credit – Sugarbloom Cupcakes

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