Now that June has passed (statistically the most popular month for weddings), you are out of the woods in regards to attending weddings, right?
The next three months, from August to October, rank 2-4 in popularity (Source: Majesticmixers.com) and are sure to put a crunch on your wallet. More Americans are getting married this year than the last few years, the first upward swing since the Great Depression (Source: MarketWatch.com). If you are like me, you start to dread the fancy envelope with the script writing in the mail. In the last calendar year I have been invited to 12 weddings located in Georgia, Florida, New York, Las Vegas, and Mexico. I have been invited to 5 bachelor parties from Vegas to Austin and New Orleans to Charleston. Is there a way for a normal 28 year old to afford all this?
The answer is yes, and no.
At some point, it is ok to say no. A lot of times, people set destination weddings to places like Las Vegas and Mexico to keep numbers at their wedding low. There is no shame in telling a friend that the wedding just isn’t in the budget right now – the average cost of a wedding has gone up 75% in the last two years! The average cost to attend a wedding is over $700 when including the gift. (Source: nbcnews.com). Add that up for me, I would have to have an extra $7,700 in cash on hand at a minimum to attend the weddings alone. Instead, maybe spend a little bit more on a gift than you would have and send it in lieu of your presence.
But what if it is a good friend and you really want to go? How do you keep the cost down? Here are a few things I’ve done over the past year:
- Research hotels outside the ones listed on the wedding invitation or website. Though there may be a block discount, sometimes it isn’t the best option financially.
- Split the cost of a nicer gift with a few friends. Trust me, if you are as good of friends with the bride or groom as you seem to be (you got an invite to their wedding after all), they won’t mind this move at all.
- Usually you know about an engagement via social media these days at least a year before the wedding is set. If you know you are likely to be invited, start setting aside money monthly right away. You’ll be impressed to find that if you set aside $50/month for a year, your costs for the wedding will likely be covered.
- Your biggest cost is going to be your flight. Once you find out the date of the wedding, research flights that week. Flights generally open for sale about 330 days in advance and the costs stay steady for about 4 months. Sometime around 3 months out to 1 month out, flights are in their prime booking window. (Source: komando.com). During that time, research flights often as they can fluctuate daily. I personally like using Bing Travel to research flights because there is a Price Predictor feature that will show you what Bing thinks is going to happen to prices in the future and will recommend to “Buy Now” or “Wait.”
- If you are really in a pinch, split hotel rooms with friends or couples. It isn’t ideal, but can shave $100s per trip.
Wealth Plan Design Specialist
Request a FREE consultation: www.oxygenfinancial.net