Cost of Being in Someone Else’s Wedding

being in wedding
Another picture from my wedding

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

Total: $800

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.

18 Responses to Cost of Being in Someone Else’s Wedding

  1. I’m attending my sister’s wedding this month and I’m going to be pushing $2,000 and I’m not even in it! Most of the cost has to do with the fact that she lives on the east coast and I live on the west. After flights, hotel, and car rental, we’re at about $1,700. Then add in attire (new suit and dress), gift, and food once we get there and it will easily be $2,000 if not more. I’m so glad this is the only wedding I have to attend this year. 🙂

    • Ouch – yeah, that makes sense. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. Weddings are one of those events in life that makes huge expenses easy to justify, in my mind.

  2. “Many people under-estimate the costs of being in a wedding”— I agree with this completely. But the people who underestimate the costs are not the people paying…it’s the Bridezillas that underestimate the impact. Weddings are a true budget buster, for all parties involved.

  3. It’s easy to go overboard on other people’s weddings — especially when you’re not in the same situation. All the money I’ve spent on all the weddings I’ve attended could pay for my own wedding (or get me out of debt!).

  4. I’ll be part of my friends wedding in September, and I’d never say no based on the costs. At the end of the day, relationships are far more important than money.

    My friends are considerate and I don’t think they’d let it climb up that high, though.

  5. […] The Cost of Being in Someone Else’s Wedding “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.” 20′s Finances […]

  6. It’s always interesting to see how much a wedding will cost, for the bride and groom AND wedding attendants. I attended a wedding a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t in it, but I did have to travel across the country and pay for housing. What made it slightly cheaper is that my friends and I rented a vacation house together (worked out to about $40/person per night). That way, we could have some meals at the house, instead of always eating out. Bonus: It was a gorgeous house on the lake!

  7. By reducing the costs of a wedding, a couple isn’t only saving themselves money, but they’re also making it easier on their friends. I adore my wedding party people (or I wouldn’t have asked them to stand up with me), and it’s important to me that their costs aren’t a burden.

  8. Many people think of the bridesmaids as the only ones having to spend money for a wedding. No one thinks of us guys. Tux rentals in addition to travel, lodging and gifts definitely add up. I’ve been lucky though and all of the weddings I’ve attended have been spread out over the years.

  9. I was suppose to be in my cousin’s wedding two years ago. She paid for everything. Actually, her parents paid for everything. They bought the bridesmaid dresses, the shoes, the jewelry and they were going to pay for a hair stylist. They were also going to pay all of my travel expenses. My cousin and her fiance broke up three weeks before the wedding. She ended up meeting someone else and they got married last week. I wasn’t asked to be in her wedding the second time around which really hurt. I (used to) consider her as my sister because we are so close. I found out that her bridesmaids were three women from her new church that she just met a couple months ago. I’ve always wanted to be a bridesmaid and it hurts to know that she picked three strangers to be in her wedding instead of me. Well, if I ever get married, I sure as hell won’t ask her to be in it.

  10. My husband and I paid for our wedding on our own, just out of college. It was tough, but we saved tons by DIY-ing and finding little budget breaks here and there, and the wedding was fantastic!

    As an engineer, most of my closest friends are guys, so the bridal party ended up being all guys except for the maid of honor, my sister. Our wedding was black and white, so my sister picked a black and white dress. It was nice that she could pick a dress from anywhere, and not be constrained by bridal shops. Then we asked all the guys to wear black pants and white button-up shirts (we figured if they didn’t already have them, they would at least be buying a wardrobe staple!). Then we bought them all matching black ties and black suspenders.

    Everyone looked so sharp!

    It definitely is really hard though, when you are attending a non-budget-friendly wedding. I was in a Cancun destination wedding once, and that was so expensive! But, like others have said, when it is somebody you really love, you just go for it anyway!

  11. My poor friends recently had to come into town for their friend’s wedding. They spent thousands on it, from airfare (the wedding was held on Memorial Day weekend, so a plane ticket was about $800 each), to the hotel, to the car rental, to eating out and partying (the bride and groom wanted to every night), to the bachelor party (pre booze it was about $700). I felt so bad for them…

  12. Slightly over $1000 for a friend of 15 years. She doesn’t realize how much I’ve put into her dream wedding from 1700 miles away. I won’t be saying anything to her about it though because her wedding is costing roughly $50k with 500 people attending.

  13. Weddings are so freaking expensive! We tried to eat a lot of the cost for our wedding party. My parents also paid for several of my cousins in university to fly out, plus my bro’s fiancee. I really, really appreciated that they did this, because I wanted all of them there but knew there was no way they could afford it!
    There was a bunch of discussion about the cost of attending weddings last weekend with friends. We keep telling people that we want lots of warning in advance about their weddings, so we can save and plan vacation accordingly. I told the couple that we were with we want a few months warning and that, “we’ll be disgruntled with one week’s notice, but we’ll still come.”