WEDDING GUEST DEBT: Why you need to have a budget in place

An evening affair, a rustic retreat or a beach ceremony…no matter what type of weddings you attend this season, if you’re not careful, you could end up with more credit card debt and a closet full of clothes you won’t wear again. Has wedding season spending got you down? Don’t worry, there’s hope. All you need is a plan, a budget and some commitment.

Wedding guest cost breakdown

Of course you’re overjoyed for the happy couples when you see those invitations roll in, but is your budget prepared for the cost? These days, being a guest at a wedding comes with a high price tag:

  • A new outfit: A survey from revealed that wedding guests spend an average of $325 on wedding attire, with men spending a bit more, on average, than women.
  • Travel expenses: Hopefully you won’t have to fork out money for airfare during the summer months, but you may need to pay for gas, a hotel, and food since many couples make their nuptials a weekend event. This can cost you $200 to $400 depending on your accommodations.
  • Gifting: More than half of Canadian wedding guests give cash as a gift, while others shop registry items. The average amount for a cash gift is between $100 and $200.
  • Wedding party costs: If you happen to be part of the wedding party, you can expect more expenses. Between the bachelor(ette) party, hair, makeup, shoes, wedding attire, gifts and wedding shower, the average you’ll spend is $900.

5 ways to celebrate their big day while sticking to your budget

Wedding season in Canada stretches all the way into October, which can definitely derail your finances if you’re not prepared. And, if you’re racking up credit card debt to fund these events, chances are those wedding expenses are costing you more than you want. Here are some ways to get back on track:

  1. Add “wedding expenses” as a line item in your budget. Plan ahead for wedding season by saving up all year round. Take a look at how many weddings you attended last year. Calculate how much you spent and divide it by 12 months so you can start saving.
  2. Be choosy. Overspending happens when you’re trying to live up to someone else’s expectations or you’re setting your own unrealistic expectations. If you know you simply can’t afford to go to EVERY wedding you’re invited to, politely decline. Or, choose between which events you attend so you’re still sticking to a budget. For instance, you might skip the wedding shower and attend the bachelorette.
  3. Cut costs where you can. If weddings are taking up most of your summer weekends, you’ll want to get a little thrifty:

Instead of buying new dresses or suits for each event, learn to accessorize with different scarves, ties, shirts or shoes. For women, start with a little black dress and find low-cost accessories that will freshen up your look, wedding after wedding. In the wedding party? Sell your bridesmaid dress online afterward to recover some of the money you paid.

If you know a lot of people who are attending the wedding, go together and see if you can get a group rate for your stay. Another alternative is to check out discount travel and coupon sites to get the cheapest rates.

Check the couple’s wedding registry early and go for a lower cost item or give cash if it’s affordable for you.

  1. Keep an eye on your debt. You know those pesky student loans, credit card debt and car payments? Adding more to your consumer debt load won’t help them go away any faster. Focus on your own financial journey and try not to get caught up in FOMO when it comes to attending weddings. And, if your finances are suffering, get help from a debt help professional or check out your options online.
  2. Keep your financial priorities in mind. Don’t let a weekend away encroach on your ability to pay for your rent, mortgage or food each month. Be sure to make yourself and your financial responsibilities a priority over all other social events. And hey, if you can’t afford to attend, now is the time to start saving up for next year’s weddings.

Have you gone into debt to attend a friend’s wedding? What did you learn along the way? Keep the conversation going with us on Twitter and share your tips. #DestinationWedding #DebtSolutions #Weddings