Is saying 'no' to the invitation a new wedding trend?
It’s not that your friends don’t want to attend your big day; sometimes it’s just too expensive.
Last year, Marissa Anwar, a 29-year-old operations consultant from Ontario, Canada, dropped $7,000 to attend six weddings, reports the Toronto Sun. This sum covered gifts, dresses, travel, bridal showers and bachelorette parties. Saddled with personal debt, the financial burden associated with her friends' big days caused the frequent guest to make a decision: no more weddings.
“It adds up really quickly,” Anwar told the newspaper, adding that she has turned down about five invitations since instituting her no-go policy. “Girls can be very extravagant with their weddings, but not everyone can afford to drop a few hundred dollars as a wedding guest or a member of the bridal party multiple times a year. It’s just too much.”
Bing slide show: Most expensive weddings of all time
Anwar is not alone. According to the wedding website TheKnot.com, the average bridesmaid spends roughly $1,385 when adding all potential costs. Then consider that almost a quarter of all weddings in 2012 were destination events, which can cause the price of celebrating your favorite couple’s big day to skyrocket.
But saying no isn’t easy, and for many people, it causes feelings of remorse.
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A Los Angeles-based freelance writer recalls not attending her former roommate’s wedding more than a decade ago. She’d just moved cross-country, money was tight, and the wedding fell over the holidays (read: expensive flights) in some hard-to-get-to Northeastern town. Oh, and her car had just died.
“I had a few hundred extra dollars in my bank account, and it was either spend it on a wedding, not see my family for Christmas and hope for the best with my car, or use it for a car and/or maybe see my grandparents; it was the last for my grandfather, I think, for the holidays,” she told me.
The really bad part?
“I was supposed to be in the wedding,” she told me. She says she felt horrible and was not on speaking terms with her friend for a few years after that. They’re on good terms now but, she admits to still feeling pangs of guilt for not being able to follow through.
JC was in the same position when her best friend got hitched in 2009.
Her friend was getting married out of state, and JC doesn’t drive. “I was factoring the costs for travel, hotel, outfit, gift and money in case of emergencies, and I knew I was fooling myself,” she told me. “I was barely making rent. I was literally saving so I could file Chapter 7.”
Jennifer suspects she wasn’t the only one unable to attend a longtime friend’s wedding due to costs. After her friend had been searching, and trying to wait patiently for many years, they decided on a location at a Washington resort right on Puget Sound.
“It was a remote resort, so my only option was to stay for $225 a night,” she told me. “In the middle of a divorce while simultaneously hunting for a job, I just couldn't afford the wedding weekend and had to very sadly decline.”
So, when your budget won’t budge or you’re hit with a rapid-fire succession of friends getting hitched, how do you politely decline an invitation to an event that many women spend their entire lives dreaming about?
“People should continue to make their dream wedding plans, but they absolutely can't hold a grudge if you can't make it for financial reasons,” says Chelsea Lin, who reluctantly missed a good friend's wedding at a time when she was unemployed, broke and about 1,000 miles away. “Heck, I think that's part of the reason people plan elaborate destination weddings: to keep so many guests away.”
Tell us: Have you ever turned down a wedding invitation because cost was a factor?
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Photo: New wedding trend: saying no to invitations / Rob Melnychuk/Getty Images
I recently got married. I made a destination trip for my new wife and our (combined) 4 adult children. We paid for it all, it did not break the bank, and was wonderful. The only person who was upset was my mother and one sister, but with a strait conversation with each of them, they understood and agreed to the plan.
A month later, we held a catered reception in a reserved themed public venue. All of our family and friends came and had a great time. We showed a video of the wedding on a big screen, so everyone got to feel that part too.
No one went broke, no one was left out, and all remember how much fun and excitement were had by all.
Things don't always have to be black and white. You have to be creative.
Like Jennifer in the story, I was invited to a 2007 wedding at that "$215 a night" Puget Sound resort, but unlike her, I decided to attend. Despite the expense, it was the wedding to beat all weddings: three days, two nights, five meals served (with live music at four of them), golf with the groom-to-be, and a cameo appearance by the next-door neighbor, Bill Gates.
I wouldn't have missed it for the world, and when Will and Kate got married for example, I could say, "Well, I went to one once where I got a box of Godiva chocolates on my pillow, and the guests were richer than the ones here. When do the orcas swim by the dock, Yer Highness?" Everyone should treat themselves to ONE lavish destination wedding in their lives.
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