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Monday, October 02, 2023

Dear Tori: Help! I can’t afford to be in my friend’s wedding

Dear Tori: Help! I can’t afford to be in my friend’s wedding

Tori Dunlap talking about cost of weddings
06.29.2023

Wedding season is in full swing, meaning couples are getting married and people are being asked to be in their weddings. What should be a happy time can often turn stressful due to — you guessed it! — costs. It’s no secret that weddings can be expensive, but what’s often overlooked is how much it can cost to be a bridesmaid or groomsman.

A wedding isn’t just a one-day event. When you agree to be in someone’s wedding, you might be expected to go on a bachelor or bachelorette trip, help throw a bridal shower, pay for an outfit, and give multiple gifts. All of this can add up to hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars. If that’s not feasible for your budget, then keep reading for advice I gave to someone in a similar situation.

Dear Tori,

My friend from college just got engaged and asked me to be in her wedding. She asked me in the sweetest way, and I immediately said yes. But we’ve been discussing plans with the other bridesmaids and the costs are beginning to add up. I’m not sure if I can afford it between the bachelorette trip to Nashville, the shower, and the fact that I’ll need to fly to her wedding and stay in a hotel.

I don’t know how to tell her that I need to back out without hurting her feelings. What should I do?

Being honest with yourself and your finances is huge, so be proud of yourself for doing that. It’s not easy. I think the first step is to figure out what you can and cannot afford. Could you be a bridesmaid and opt out of the bachelorette trip? Take a look to see if you can make it work.

If you can’t finance everything, here’s how to approach that conversation with your friend.

Be honest and upfront.

Try to decide how you want to proceed and have a conversation — in person or over the phone is ideal — as soon as possible. Explain how honored you are to be asked, but being in a wedding is not part of your budget right now. Tell her you’ll still love to come to the wedding (if that works for your budget) and you’ll be there to support her during this exciting time in her life.

Stand firm in your decision.

It’s possible that your friend will try to convince you to be in the wedding. She probably just wants you to be part of it, but it’s important to stick with the choice you made. It won’t make it easier on your friendship if you go back and forth. Instead, re-explain why you came to this decision and assure her that you’re still just as excited that she’s getting married as you were before.

Calculate what you can afford.

Now, it’s time to see what you can afford to spend when it comes to the wedding. Can you afford to go? Maybe you can get her a super thoughtful gift? Can you still attend the shower? Take a look at your financial situation to see what you need to plan for financially for the wedding. This will give you clarity and events to look forward to during your friend’s engagement and later wedding.

It takes transparency and sometimes sacrifice when you’re trying to achieve financial goals and build wealth. I usually recommend using Empower’s free financial tools as a resource. These free tools allow you to sync all your financial accounts, so you get a clear picture of where you stand. I check it daily for tracking my net worth and my progress towards goals like retirement, debt payoff, and (yes!) saving that first $100k.

RO2969668-0623

Tori Dunlap

Tori Dunlap

Contributor

Tori Dunlap is a millennial money and career expert. After saving $100,000 at age 25, Tori founded Her First $100K to fight financial inequality by giving women actionable resources to better their money. A Plutus award winner, her work has been featured on Good Morning America, New York Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, and more. An honors graduate of the University of Portland, Tori currently lives in Seattle, where she enjoys eating fried chicken, going to barre classes, and attempting to naturally work John Mulaney bits into conversation.

 

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