How to Honor Your Friend's Wedding and Your Budget

If you have friends getting married this summer, you’ll get to hear them say, “I do” at the ceremony—unless you have to tell them “I can’t” in your RSVP.

As wedding costs keep climbing, so does the price of participating as a member of the wedding party. In 2015, an Ebiquity marketing report on wedding spending showed bridesmaids and groomsmen spent an average of $700 to see their friends hitched!

From tux rentals to bridesmaid’s dresses to parties and more, taking an official role in a friend’s big day is getting expensive. Throw in the likelihood of a destination wedding, and your turn as a bridesmaid or best man can set you way back!

No matter what the bride and groom spend, your budget comes first.

The good news is you can honor your best friend and your budget at the same time. How so? By heeding these tips:

Just Keep Budgeting

That may seem obvious, but it bears repeating—your best friend’s wedding is no excuse to do anything rash like racking up credit card bills or using your emergency fund. Instead, add a line for Fred and Wilma’s wedding to your monthly budget. Figure out how much you plan to spend on the date and use the time until the day of the wedding to save up.

Find Out What’s Optional

You care about giving your friends a great time at their wedding, so it’s natural you’d be eager to spend time and money on them. But keep in mind not everything related to the wedding requires your participation. For example, it’s possible you simply can’t afford to attend the bachelor or bachelorette party scheduled prior to the wedding. Your friends will understand that, and they’ll be happy just to see you at the main event.

Buy, Rent or Bring Your Own

The choice of bridesmaid dresses tends to be steered by the bride, but wedding attire is sometimes more flexible for groomsmen. If that’s you, don’t assume the groom has set plans. You might not need to spend a dime on clothes if he’s planning to rent a tux for you. See about group rates on tux rentals that might work for the whole group, or propose the idea of wearing a suit or tux of your own. The key, as always, is communication and thrift.

Forego the “Perfect” Gift

For exciting occasions like a wedding, it’s easy to get caught up in how everything looks and feels—and wind up spending big bucks on a gift. The same study cited above reported an average wedding gift runs $106! Think about pooling money with other guests and giving a group gift. Or give the gift of a housewarming meal when the happy couple moves into their new place. There are plenty of ways to celebrate them without upsetting your finances.

You are Free to Say No

Depending on how long you’ve known the friend inviting you or how close you are, missing a big wedding might be the last thing you want to do. If this is one of those friendships, there’s no doubt you can find a way to attend and you’ll never regret going. But no one can accept every invitation that comes along in life. There are times we all need to remember the freedom to kindly decline. True friends will understand, and many will probably help you to think of ways to make your attendance possible.