The Unexpected Cost of Being In Your Best Friend's Wedding
Everything adds up fast.
Way before someone gets on one knee to ask a certain question and way before an engagement ring slides onto a finger, many women have dreams of what their wedding might look like. It could be a bachelorette party in New Orleans followed by a destination wedding in Charleston or Key West, or a trip down the aisle in the Texas church where you were baptized with all your bridesmaids in matching lilac Lela Rose gowns. Most brides have a dream wedding in mind, but after looking through a new survey, it turns out that dreams weddings can cost more than money.
The survey from finance site CompareCards.com found that 58% of bridesmaids and 61% of maids of honor felt pressured to spend money on bridal party-related expenses – and many say the financial pressure strained their relationship with the bride.
There's a good reason that people feel financial pressure when invited to be part of a wedding party. It's really expensive. According to a 2017 WeddingWire study, bridesmaids can expect to spend about $1,200, with costs going up from there. Groomsmen aren't off the hook either, with costs ranging anywhere from about $1,025 to $2,770, the Huffington Post reports. Yes, that means groomsmen can pay more than bridesmaids. a Canadian menswear brand. The wedding pros at The Knot even ask the tough question about whether or not you should allow your bridesmaids to go into debt to pay for the dress, the gift, the travel, the bachelorette party, the bridal shower, the hair and makeup, and everything else that goes into putting together a dream wedding. The truth is that not everyone can afford it, but not everyone will admit they can't afford the expense. According to the survey, a third of bridal party members incurred debt for their friend's wedding, including a whopping 43% of maids of honor and 38% of best men. To pay for all those expenses, 68% ending up having to put all those bridal party expenses on a credit card with 37% racking up more than $1,000 of credit card debt for their friend's shindig.
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While the bride and groom may have happy memories about their big day, overall, a third of people who have been in a wedding in the last two years say they regret the money they spent on doing so. Some folks (37% of those surveyed) have nipped potential regret in the bud, by just saying no and skipping a wedding because of costs.
Sadly, it's not just money tension around a wedding that can ruin a friendship, though. A recent article in the New York Times called "When Weddings Ruin Friendships," discussed how some friendships are lost in the wake of a wedding, supported the survey's findings. After the article ran, readers sent in their own stories about losing friendships over wedding slights and frustrations. (Note: Don't invite someone to the wedding, but not the reception.)
If you're planning your dream wedding right now, it might be worth thinking about not just the cost of the wedding, but the cost to your friends and family, too.