As I write this on Monday, I’m less than 24 hours removed from having been at my friend’s wedding brunch. I’m catching up on email and I see this article about people declining weddings because they can’t afford it.
The cost of attending a wedding to friends is something that is overshadowed by the cost of the wedding itself. It’s hard to write an about having to $700 when the bride and groom are dishing out $30,000. (Those are just averages.)
At this particular wedding, the bride and groom went way beyond what we’ve seen at most weddings. I don’t even want to think about what it cost, especially factoring the New York City cost of living into it.
Our costs we kept very low thanks their generosity. We probably still topped the $700 average. That’s the kind of thing that happens when it costs $60 a day to park your car. We thought about taking other transportation, but with two people trains weren’t much better.
Fortunately, this comes at a time in our lives, where this isn’t a hardship. Being nearly 40 and on-top of our finances, this was well-accounted for. It doesn’t work out that way for everyone. It didn’t work out that way for myself and my wife when we were younger.
I was asked to go to a wedding in New Jersey soon after the dot-com boom around 2002. I wasn’t employed and I definitely didn’t have the money saved up. It’s just natural for a 25 year old to not have much number, especially in a busted economy.
My wife’s experience was even worse. She was a bridesmaid while she was in college. Bridesmaids have it worse than groomsmen. Most groomsmen can rent their tuxedo and not have to buy a new dress. In this case, it was worse as the bride was out of college a few years along with all her peers. My wife was surprised with a bill of $2200 for her involvement, which I think included a lavish bachelorette party.
Here’s what I find fascinating about this. The average American can’t afford an $1000 emergency expense. I wonder how much people save for their friends’ wedding. You may see the expense coming down the pike, but I wonder how many people are really looking for it. Also since some groups of friends get married around the same time, people may have their own wedding to fund.
The real winner in all this… the wedding industry.