Do you have any close friends getting married soon? Have they asked you to be in their wedding? Do you know how much it will cost you to say yes? I was in a friend’s wedding in December and will be in another wedding in June. Between those two weddings and having 3 other weddings to attend in the next few months, I have weddings on the mind.
Before you say yes to be in a friend’s wedding, you may want to consider all of the associated costs of being in someone else’s wedding. If they are close enough of a friend, it may not be much of a decision but this should still help you budget for the upcoming expenses (similar to budgeting for vacations).
Wedding Expenses for Groomsmen/Bridesmaids
Many people under-estimate the costs of being in a wedding. It is hard to say that money outweighs the experience of being in a wedding of a close friend, but it doesn’t mean that you should ignore what it will cost you. One of my two best friends asked me to be in his wedding and I didn’t hesitate. No matter what it cost me, I was going to be in his wedding. His friendship means that much to me. Here are many of the costs involved:
Travel: Whether you are driving or flying, transportation is something to be considered. Where is the wedding going to be? Is it close or far away? My wife and I will driving to the wedding that I am. It is about an 8 hour drive and approximately 450 miles one way. This means about 900 miles round trip. Without wear and tear, it means we are spending $120 in gas (900 / 30 MPG = 30 Gallons X $4 per gallon). If we estimate $.40 of gas and wear and tear, it adds up to $360, but I am not budgeting for that as most of these expenses will be seen later in repairs.
Housing: Where will you be staying? Do you have a friend to stay with our will you be staying at a hotel? Staying a hotel can add up quite fast, so be sure to take this into consideration. Some weddings require you to stay at expensive hotels because of logistics. We will be staying at the bed and breakfast where the ceremony will be held (which is nice to reduce our traveling once there) and we were able to get a discounted price. I believe this should cost us around $200 for the three nights. Not too bad at all.
Attire: What kind of wedding attire will be required? Will you be renting tuxes? Buying a bridesmaid dress? While the cost of wedding attire depends on the degree of formality of the ceremony, this could be one of the larger expenses after travel and housing. U.S. tradition says that the wedding party pays for their own attire, even though it is often the bride and groom that decide on what option is the best. Renting a tux can easily cost $140 per person, without any long-term benefit. Buying a bridesmaid dress can easily cost over $200 dollars. While I decided to go with tuxes for my wedding, the groom in this wedding decided for buying suits. This was my preference as I would rather buy a suit for $250 and keep it long-term than rent a tux for $140. Plus, I don’t have a suit yet and it is a great excuse to buy one. I need to get new dress shoes because my old ones don’t fit me anymore and I have been getting by with a semi-dress shoe at work, so it’s time to buy some cheap dress shoes. I will also be buying the same tie as the groom and other groomsmen, so it could close to $300 for my wedding attire.
Wedding Gift: Have you remembered that you should buy a wedding gift for the bride and groom? I’ve talked to several people and the opinions differ on what is customary if you are in the wedding. I will be giving a gift because I want to help them out as much as possible. How much you give (or what you give if you want to give a gift) probably depends on your financial status. I would love to share what I am thinking for my gift, but the groom may be reading this and I don’t want to spoil it. 🙂
Food: While the wedding meal is most likely covered, with traveling, it is more than likely that you will be eating out most of the weekend. We will probably eat out 6-7 times over the course of four days excluding the wedding, so that could easily add up to $180-200.
While the commitment to be in a wedding may not seem like a big event, it can easily add up. For the wedding that I am going to be in this summer, look at how easily it adds up.
Travel Expenses – $120
Housing – $200
Attire – $300
Food – $180
While it is definitely an option to get by with less expenses (I successfully accomplished this for the December wedding by not having to pay for housing and small attire costs), this trip will cost us approximately $800 before the optional wedding gift. This isn’t any small figure. Again, I don’t think it should discourage you from participating because life is all about the experiences. However, it may mean that you have to sacrifice somewhere else in order to afford the trip.