Weddings can be expensive to organise, there’s no doubt about that. But what about the cost of attending as a guest?
It’s lovely to be invited to a wedding of course, but the cost of attending wedding celebrations can soon add up so it’s well worth budgeting for carefully.
A few years ago, one of my best friends told me that she was getting married. I was over the moon for her especially as she’d been waiting a really long time for her fiancé to propose. So when she asked me to be her maid of honour, I said “Yeah!” without a second thought!
My friend asked me to organise the hen party and after she told me what she wanted, I set about organising it. The whole hen party affair took place over an entire weekend and involved all sorts of activities including pampering treatments, accommodation, meals out and drinks.
Before I knew what was happening, the hen party was costing around £350 for each person (and I’d made sure to get the very best deals). The other girls attending the hen party were fine with the cost and I could hardly be the one person not to go so I had to shell out for it too. I knew I should have just pulled out, but I felt like I couldn’t let my friend down so I went along with it anyway. 🙁
My hubby declined the stag night invitation because we knew that we really couldn’t afford to do both – the stag do was adding up to around the same price!
Then came the accommodation for the wedding itself and this was over two nights because of a special meal which was planned the night before the wedding. There was the cost of that particular meal and drinks. I wore an old outfit for this meal as did my hubby and on the day of the wedding, I was wearing a bridesmaid dress and the hubby wore a suit that he bought years ago. So we didn’t have to spend money on clothes thankfully! We ended up staying in a hotel miles away because it was much cheaper than staying on site like everyone else.
We obviously wanted to get my friend a wedding present so we contributed £50 towards their gift list. Even with the savings that we attempted to make, we spent just over £700 to attend my friend’s wedding celebrations and that was without spending money on the stag night. On several occasions I was tempted to pay for accommodation on my credit card but luckily I didn’t. We really had to save hard to manage getting through this.
As much as I appreciate my friend and wouldn’t want to hurt her, I could kick myself for spending so much now. We spent so much money because we thought that we had to and everyone else was doing the same – our friends wouldn’t have understood if we tried to explain our situation. And I really still believe this to be the case.
But actually, it doesn’t really matter whether they would have understood or not – we should have put ourselves and the debts first. We could have attended the wedding and not spent quite as much if we’d have faced up to our fears and took whatever criticism came our way on the chin.
Since that time, we’ve had to decline quite a few requests to attend special occasions because of the risks of costs spiraling out of control like in this example, so we have put the debts first. It’s been tough doing this but these are the kind of sacrifices we need to make right now for us to get out of debt.
I’ve learned two things about friends in the process to become debt free:
- Some friends understand debt and some don’t. When they don’t, it doesn’t make them a bad friend as such. Lots of people don’t ‘get’ debt and don’t really understand what it means to be ‘broke’. That’s just the way it is sometimes! Nowadays, I just remember how important getting out of debt is to me and make that my priority.
- I’ve needed to be a friend to myself more than ever during this process. Because it’s only myself (and the hubby) who can get us out of debt!
Would we spend £700 to attend wedding celebrations again? Nope! Not even for immediate family members and this time around, we would find a way to make them know that it’s nothing personal and do everything in our power to be there for them without splashing out so much cash.
Have you spent more than you wanted to when attending a wedding or other special occasion?
P.S. I’m posting over at Debt Advice Blog today with an article called 5 Myths About Managing Debt Dispelled. I’d love it if you’d head on over there now to check it out! Have a great weekend!
*Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos