A bride asking you to be her bridesmaid is exciting, flattering and … possibly a scam?
Being a member of wedding bridal parties is usually expensive, but apparently it can also leave you open to fraud, according to an episode of “Am I the A**hole? Podcast” (AITApod). A listener, who was picked to be a bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding, submitted her shocking story.
She said the maid of honor offered to purchase all the bridesmaids’ dresses on her credit card with the understanding that they would pay her back later. But when the listener went to the store to pick up her dress, she discovered it actually cost $200, not the $400 that the maid of honor had charged her for it.
Upon being confronted, the maid of honor spilled the truth — she and the bride had plotted together to charge the bridesmaids double to help pay for the bride’s dress.
“It’s a full 100% overcharge – that’s crazy!” said co-host Jake Davis. The listener and her fellow bridesmaids agree and want to drop out of the wedding.
But dresses and suits are just some of the many things that brides and grooms ask their friends to cough up for. “Weddings bring out the worst in people,” said co-host Danny Vega, and part of the reason may be how pricey they can get.
The average wedding costs $30,000, according to The Knot’s 2022 Real Weddings Study. In big cities like New York and San Francisco, this figure jumps to $60,000 and $54,000, respectively.
Here’s some pointers you should keep in mind for the next wedding you attend so that you don’t end up breaking the bank.
The gift is a big expense you need to think about if you’re invited to a wedding. You may have something affordable and thoughtful in mind, but couples are increasingly asking for cash gifts, according to The New York Times. The number of couples requesting cash on The Knot registries in the first quarter of 2022 increased 10% from the same period in 2021.
So what’s the right amount to spend? It depends.
The Knot calculated that the average wedding gift in 2022 was worth around $160. But according to the website’s interviews with etiquette and financial experts, that’s not necessarily the magic number. If you’re close friends or close family with the couple, $200 may be more appropriate. But if you’re an acquaintance, distant relative or co-worker, you can get away with $50 to $100.
If you have a plus-one with you, you might consider spending anywhere from $100 to over $200, according to Lizzie Post, the granddaughter of the late etiquette expert Emily Post.
However, she added that the most important thing is going with a sum that “you can afford to give comfortably.”
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For better or for worse, weddings are often held in places far from where you live. Though it can be fun to go to Napa Valley or the Dominican Republic, the expenses involved make it incredibly difficult to attend several such events in a single summer.
Destination or out-of-town weddings mean that you’re not only paying for that $160 gift, but also a few hundred dollars on travel costs and accommodation. Guests who drive out of town spend around a total of $660 on a wedding (including the gift), and those who fly spend around $1,270 (also including the gift), according to The Knot’s most recent data.
Travel points can be a lifesaver in this regard. Save money on trips and hotel rooms so that your mind and wallet can be at peace as you dance the Electric Slide.
Wedding party costs
And of course, there are the high costs of being a bridesmaid or a groomsman. Besides attire, there may be other expenses like makeup and bachelor/bachelorette parties.
It costs an average of $825 to be in a bridal party, according to a 2022 LendingTree survey. More than half of the bridal party members surveyed said they felt pressure to spend more than they could afford, and 50% actually incurred debt as a result.
What’s clear is it’s important to live within your means to protect your financial future and avoid regret and resentment in the future.
“AITApod” co-host Shannon Dee’s advice to those planning weddings was, “Fit the things that you’re getting into your budget instead of being like, ‘How can we make our budget bigger by scamming other people?’”
This also applies to anyone in a bridal party. Figure out your budget, communicate that with your bride- or groom-to-be and stick to it.
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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.