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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.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor May 6, 2013 3:37PM

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.

Photo: New wedding trend, saying no to invites / Rob Melnychuk/Getty Images“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.

More on MSN Living: Funniest wedding invitations from Pinterest

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?

Bing: The average cost of a wedding

“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

May 24, 2013 4:52AM
Destination weddings are a real pain in the **** for everyone concerned. It cost our family over $5000 to attend our nephews destination wedding since we had to fly coast to coast and then pay for five nights in a hotel and meals out. While it was really a fun wedding it was very costly for all the guests- since NONE of them lived in the chosen city. I wouldn't spend that kind of money again to attend anyone's wedding. I'd rather send them $2000 as a gift and save myself the other 3 grand. 
May 24, 2013 12:06AM
I don't think anyone should feel or be obligated to attend a wedding or any other function that would require over night accommodations. That is really too much to expect from people. I remember when my son got married it was quite a financial burden for me. I had been a single Mom with no support for 15 years to begin with but suddenly I was expected to pay for the rehearsal dinner but my son stepped in and asked me to contribute $200 and I did and that was a lot and then hotel -gas etc. I only had enough money to do what I absolutely had to do and ended up having to wear a dress I already had to my sons wedding. Her parents however paid for this spectacular wedding at a mansion and were well to do. People need to stop the expensive wedding madness. Get a grange or town Hall and have the minister marry you there and then break it down to a party with cake and dancing. I do events and the last wedding cost the couple about $1500 + whatever they spent for clothing. That included the room-decorations-minister-food-cake and me. That is the way to do it. Just because you have the $ for a big **** wedding doesn't mean you should have one. FYI-My son is now divorced after 6 years of marriage- oi vey.

May 23, 2013 10:55PM
id rather skip the white dress and ceremony and just have the party. weddings are boring and everyone is there for the food and drink anyway. 
May 23, 2013 9:01PM
     When my oldest daughter was getting married I told her:  "Treat your wedding like a party you're having, which means you ONLY invite the people you want to be there and ONLY friends & family members who are important in your day to day life, NOT relatives like "Uncle Joe/Cousin Mary" (from either the bride or groom's family) you only see at weddings or funerals and never see/hear from any other time of the year, NOR acquaintances or co-workers who have little to no impact in your daily/social life.  Stand your ground when it comes to the groom's side trying to pressure you to invite to invite relatives/friends you've never met & will never meet again.  If you treat this special day like a personal party, you'll have a wonderful & relatively inexpensive event."  She listened, & she & her husband saved a ton of money and had a wonderful & stress-free time of it.
May 21, 2013 8:58PM
And people complained at my wedding because I didn't have an open bar...
May 21, 2013 8:31PM

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.

May 21, 2013 6:36PM
My husband and I got married almost 3 yrs ago, it was the 2nd for both of us, I wanted to get married in Vegas, we were already there,  he wanted a wedding with our friends and family. We had a beautiful beach themed wedding in our backyard under 2 big trees. My MOH planned it with her sister who does catering, we paid for EVERYTHING including her dress, we didn't spend a lot. We wanted everyone to celebrate and have FUN with us! We asked that they wear beach themed attire, shorts, hawaiian shirts, sundresses, flip-flops! Once the ceremony was over our guests started eating & drinking, we didn't want them to wait while we took pictures.  Everyone was saying what a fun, relaxing wedding it was!  Now I look in our backyard & remember our wedding as our 2 grandsons are playing on their swingset making more memories  under those same 2 trees!!
May 21, 2013 5:06PM

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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