Author Topic: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses  (Read 9110 times)

baseballhum

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Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« on: February 05, 2014, 08:58:32 PM »
Hello everyone -

First of all, I want to say thank you to MMM and the MMM community! I found out about MMM four months ago. In that time I have learned -so- much about investing, retirement, reasonable monthly expenses, budgeting, etc. It has been a huge eye-opener for me to think about what is really important in life. I still have a long way to go, but reading MMM's posts and these forums really helps.

Alright, on to the issue at hand. My sister and I are both getting married this summer. The problem I have is an internal struggle - when to say "no" to her wedding expenses. Here are my estimates on how much I am about to spend up to her wedding date in late August:

Bridal shower:
1. $300 plane ticket to bridal shower and back.
     - I already bought this ticket and am going so that I can meet her fiancé’s family for the first time. It is important for both of us to meet each others’ families, and in general try to be more family-oriented.
2. Maybe $60 for airport parking and meals.

The wedding:
1. Plane tickets for me and my fiancé, plus airport parking: $680
2. Hotel rooms for Thursday - Sunday: $500
      - How I calculated this: The hotel blocks my sister reserved are $160 and $200 per night. She is staying in the $200 per night hotel. ****ing ridiculous, I know. I would like to stay in her hotel the night before and of the wedding to be sisterly, supportive, etc. On the other night, we will be staying in a cheap hotel by the airport.
3. Extra food during the weekend: $150
      - I realize this is high, but my family is a bit extravagant restaurant-wise when we get together. Fiance and I will still try to be as reasonable as we can.

Maid of honor duties:
1. Dress was $65
2. Will need to purchase shoes - will try to keep this cheap, around $30-40
3. Gift - $50 tops

By now I am up to around $1,800. In my mind this is insane, but I suppose the cost of doing business in the wedding world. I am sure it is not cheap for my family to come to my wedding either.

Here is where I need the most help: the bachelorette party. I don't make a ton of money ($2,000 net per month), but I don’t have any debt. However, my fiance has $50,000 in student loans. Our plan is to pay off all the loans that are currently accruing interest after we receive wedding gifts from friends and family, and then slowly pay off the other loans (luckily since my fiancé is in graduate school they will be deferred for awhile). Plus, I don’t have much in savings/investments – around $4,000 total. I really need to beef this up.

To pay for the bachelorette party, I estimate:

1. $300 plane ticket
2.  Sister wants to rent a house. I think my costs for this will be around $350
3. Eating - everyone will probably want to go out all the time to "celebrate." I hope I can keep this under $150.

So, that is another $800!!!

Personally, I am offended that my sister would even ask for such an extravagant bachelorette party. I would never imagine doing the same – I didn’t even want one, but when we realized that everyone would be in town for my bridal shower, my sister suggested we go out to dinner to celebrate. I have tried to see if she would come up with a more reasonable party, but she will not budge - her response is always "If you can't afford it then don't come."

I am REPULSED at having to pay for this. However, this is my first time being a part of a bridal party, let alone the maid of honor. Can people who have been in similar situations give me some advice? How would you handle this? Am I being unreasonable because a wedding and all its activities are once-in-a-lifetime, so I should be more supportive and less selfish? Or is this ridiculous? Advice on how to handle ALL the wedding expenses listed above, what is appropriate to pay for, what is not, etc. would be greatly appreciated :)

Thank you in advance for your help!

lemonlime

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2014, 09:45:23 PM »
Do you have the money?
Is she going to be pissed at you if you don't go to the bachelorette party? Do you care?
How would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot and she felt the outlay for your wedding was too much for her and, despite being your maid of honor, she declined to participate in bridal party activities?

If you have the money, and you (pre-wedding) had a close relationship with your sister, you might just suck it up, it's your sister. And try to forgive her for her badbbehavior. Brides lose their minds and become totally different people then we knew before the wedding became a thing. It will likely happen to you too. Think about how you would want her to act if roles were reversed and then act accordingly.

On the other hand, if she really won't care, or not going is not going to damage your relationship, and you really don't want to go or in no way can afford it, don't go.

Good luck, and congratulations to you both!

LibraryGirl

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2014, 09:52:54 PM »
When I was a bridesmaid for my best friend, I skipped the bachelorette party (and it wasn't nearly as extravagant).  I couldn't justify a third plane ticket and it really isn't my kind of thing.  I don't drink or gamble and they went to a casino.  My best friend didn't care and was thrilled that I made the effort to go to her shower.  She asked me to be in her wedding party because we care about each other and support each other.  Even if I couldn't have made any pre-wedding activities, she wouldn't have cared.  She just wanted me to stand up with her on her special day.  Everything else as a bonus.

I can't imagine getting mad at someone for skipping a pre-wedding party, especially if they had to fly in.  Quite honestly, if someone were to get pissed at me for missing a party, they aren't someone who I would be close to anyway.   

Not all brides "lose their minds" or act poorly before their weddings.  I don't have a single friend who acted like a bridezilla.  Kind, loving people don't go psycho on their closest friends for having a budget or not being able to travel three times within a short time frame.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2014, 10:00:35 PM »
Yikes!  When will this wedding madness end?  The only thing I paid for for my siblings weddings was their gifts. But no one had their wedding in exotic locations. And no bachelorette parties. And bridal showers had a few games, a bundt cake, and a quilt we could all help tie.  And if I had to wear a dress in a certain color for the pictures, the parents of the bride paid for it (unconventional, but it makes a lot more sense to me).   All I can say is that y'all have been sold a bill of goods to think this is "normal".

I do believe in supporting family. When my brother competed in the HI ironman, I flew out and cheered him on.  My sister couldn't afford it, so she was there in spirit.  I think everyone understood, and if they didn't, that's their problem.  What do your parents say of the situation?  Maybe they could help out-financially, or smoothing this over with your sister.

lemonlime

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2014, 11:31:48 PM »
When I was a bridesmaid for my best friend, I skipped the bachelorette party (and it wasn't nearly as extravagant).  I couldn't justify a third plane ticket and it really isn't my kind of thing.  I don't drink or gamble and they went to a casino.  My best friend didn't care and was thrilled that I made the effort to go to her shower.  She asked me to be in her wedding party because we care about each other and support each other.  Even if I couldn't have made any pre-wedding activities, she wouldn't have cared.  She just wanted me to stand up with her on her special day.  Everything else as a bonus.

I can't imagine getting mad at someone for skipping a pre-wedding party, especially if they had to fly in.  Quite honestly, if someone were to get pissed at me for missing a party, they aren't someone who I would be close to anyway.   

Not all brides "lose their minds" or act poorly before their weddings.  I don't have a single friend who acted like a bridezilla.  Kind, loving people don't go psycho on their closest friends for having a budget or not being able to travel three times within a short time frame.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say that it was a rule that all brides lose their minds. My own experience of seeing people I would never imagine to become unreasonable, imperious, or a different person, do and become exactly all of those things in the lead up to their wedding makes me wary, though, because it does happen. And I'm not blaming the brides across the board either - there is a lot of pressure going on there.

As with most situations, it's a matter of your values and priorities and how they all line up.

Argyle

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2014, 11:49:59 PM »
I'd suggest that you will have the rest of your life to hang out with her fiancé's family.  It's not like there's a deadline.  Paying $300+ just to meet them a few months early is a lot of money.  Your sister is clearly not a mustachian and it looks like it's up to you to hold the line.  The bachelorette party just sounds self-indulgent to me -- I mean on the part of your sister -- and are any of the people who are supposed to be included enthusiastic about coughing up all that money for it?  If someone put the brakes on, wouldn't all the other guests breathe a big sigh of relief? 

How much you can put the brakes on depends on how touchy your sister is.  But it is perfectly realistic to feel that this has gotten way out of hand.  She should recognize that having to fly in even once is quite an expense for you.  And you make $2000 a month!  You are not pulling down vast sums of money where these expenses mean nothing!  She's expecting you to pay more than a whole month's salary on all her extra-curricular wedding stuff, plus I would assume she wants a present, etc etc.  And is there also a present due at the wedding shower?  Anyway, this is way out of control.  I think you are fully justified in calling a halt to your ability to attend and pay for all the extra-curriculars.  The only problem is whether that would cause a breach with your sister who has suddenly morphed into a bridezilla.

If you have to go through with all of it, at least get friends to drive you to the airport, and save on the parking expenses.  Ouch.

Kaminoge

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2014, 03:47:49 AM »
Ouch. Especially the same summer as you're getting married.

Only you know the dynamics of you family which makes it tough for anyone else to make a call on this. I certainly wouldn't have spent this for my brother's wedding but we aren't close and I wouldn't expect everyone else to care as little about their sibling getting married.

If you really have to go then there are a few things to trim.

1. I can understand you wanting to stay in her hotel the night before the wedding but the night of? Surely where you're sleeping that particular night will be of no interest at all to her.
2. Try and keep the food costs down.
3. The bachelorette party is ridiculous. But only you know if she really means it when she says don't come if you can't afford it. I've been bridesmaid twice and maid of honor/witness once (for my brother ironically) and I didn't go to any bachelorette parties because each time I flew in for the wedding. No-one even considered telling me I should come to a party a week or two before - sane people would realise that was silly, they just assumed I couldn't make it. Any chance your sister would be that reasonable?


baseballhum

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2014, 06:14:29 AM »
Hello everyone -

First of all, thank you for all the great suggestions and help!

I think the biggest point that everyone is raising (which makes complete sense) is how she and my family will feel if I decide not to attend the bachelorette party. My parents are pretty hands-off - they trust that if I say I cannot go to the party, then that's fine and they understand. The thing with my sister is that what sounds OK to her in theory and what actually happens in practice can be two different things. She was nice when she said, "It's OK, I totally understand if you can't attend." But it is quite possible when I tell her I can't attend, she'll get short with me or grill me on why not.

If the shoe were on the other foot, I think I would be understanding. It's hard for me to see the other side because I would never ask for such things ... So I guess if I was asking for someone to fly out, pay for meals, pay for hotels, etc. for a wedding extracurricular and they could not afford it, I would completely understand. How could I not at this point!? :)

I think it is time to draw the line. While I technically "have" the money, by MMM terms I do NOT have the money. I have little savings, and am about to marry a man with a lot of student loans. I also need to stand up to my sister (clearly). I love my sister, but we have had a relationship where she tells me what she wants and I deliver. Now that we are adults, it's getting ridiculous.

I think you all also bring up a good point, which is: what do the other bridesmaids think of this? I personally don't know them very well, but I do know that they live all around the country. I am sure that some of them will not be able to make the trip either. Maybe the fact that the maid of honor can't attend will convince others to be more reasonable.

Yes, there is another present due at the shower. Crap, I forgot about that.

Ashyukun

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2014, 06:57:09 AM »
When my fiancee's brother got married, they did a destination wedding in Jamaica and expected everyone (obviously including family) to be there. My fiancee is a very caring and kind woman, but she STILL grumbles about how much she had to shell out to fly there for their 'perfect' wedding just to make them (mostly the sister-in-law) happy- and this was like 7 years ago. You're worrying that not going to some of the festivities will offend your sister- but don't discount how YOU feel about it as well and what you'll think about it down the line remembering having to spend over a month's salary for her extravagence.

My brother lives far enough away that flying is the only real way to get there, and if he ever gets married I imagine we'll only be there for the wedding itself (though I'd certainly be going out early to help out with things). When I was married the first time, I only expected the friends and family who were far enough away to have to travel (which was pretty much all of them since we got married at my ex's college town) to be there for the wedding itself and made it quite clear that I didn't hold it against anyone who couldn't afford to come since many friends were still in or just freshly out of college. When my fiancee and I get married next month, we're actually not having a formal wedding and are just planning on having a reception/wedding celebration a few months down the road that all our friends & family can come to. We actually had to heavily argue with the fiancee's family about this- several of them (her mother and sister-in-law) tried HARD to invite themselves along on the cruise we're taking as our honeymoon since we're planning on doing a private vow exchange on one of the beaches we'll stop at. The sister-in-law literally said to the fiancee, "we thought it would be a nice vacation for us like our wedding was for you." Cue fuming fiancee...

Something that strikes me as a bit odd- why is the bachelorette party so separated from the wedding itself that you have to fly out for that separate from the wedding? Can you talk with her and see if it could be moved close enough to the wedding for you to just have to fly out there once? If you being there for it is important enough for her, that would save you the extra expense of at least that while still being able to attend.

iris lily

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2014, 07:04:40 AM »
Got to the shower or the bachelorette weekend, not both. There's nothing wrong with that.

This trend of multi-day bachelorette flings is part of the same trend of growing the Big White Wedding extravaganza and it is silly.

 

netskyblue

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2014, 08:11:14 AM »
Does no one LIVE at the place to where you are flying?  Why do you all have to eat at restaurants for every meal?  I get staying in a hotel - you and they may want the privacy.  But nobody is willing to cook a family dinner?  That seems weird to me, but maybe that's just my family experience. 

The bachelorette party is ridiculous.  I MAYBE spent $50 for my sister's.  We all went to a paint your own pottery place, then out to dinner at a hibachi restaurant, then to a piano bar.  One bridesmaid had one drink, and my sister had one drink.  The rest of us had water!

Tell her you'll be spending a MONTH of your income on her wedding if you have to go to this party.  1/12 of your income for someone else's wedding is absurd.

jrhampt

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2014, 08:37:17 AM »
I think the fact that you're also getting married around the same time is enough to justify "only" flying out twice for wedding-related festivities.  Just say you have wedding expenses of your own.

CommonCents

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2014, 08:51:36 AM »
The good news: The attire for the wedding is actually fairly cheap from what I've seen.  Maybe you can even rewear the dress, and definitely the shoes. 

The bad news: This is your sister.  Only you know if not going to the bachelorette would irrepairably damage your relationship with your sister.  It is easy on this board to say not to go, but unfortunately weddings (are meant to be) a once in a lifetime event and as a result, people have high expectations and strong emotions.  If she truly won't accept you not attending then I'd suggest sucking it up, going

Other ways to cut costs:
- Research restaurants in advance of the trips, to have places to suggest ("oh I heard about a GREAT Japanese restaurant I really want to try") that are a cheaper.  I wouldn't go from $50/head to $10/head or your family will rebel, but $50 to $20 is meaningful.  Share meals with your fiance and skip the drinks.
- Research if the hotel has better deals other than the blocking - sometimes there are better rates, sometimes not.  I live in a big city, so honestly those don't sound so bad to me.  I assume all wedding hotels are at least $150, and I'm happy when they are $200 or below.
- Can you get a friend to drive you to the airport?  Can you do a park and ride and save on parking expenses?  For the bridal shower, if your fiance isn't going, can't he drop you off?

Or try the alternative - take an extra day or two and call it a vacation.
If you can exchange tickets, you might also ask her if she'd prefer that you be out there for the shower or the bachelorette.

I should say, I'm coming from a perspective where my husband's brother's wedding cost us more that what you tally - AND he did a $1500 bachelor party.  Plus a buddy's wedding with a $2000 bachelor party.  (Weddings were back to back weekends.)  The weddings were expensive enough but I sucked them.  The bachelor parties pissed me off, but he felt like he couldn't NOT go.  (They started extravagent parties back when they were not married, so this was their "vacation".  It amped up considerably as some got more.)  I declined to go to the new SIL's bachelorette because the plane flights alone would have been $1500, with the house rental in Cabos even more.  If you don't go, I suggest doing what I did to alleviate any negative emotions (and celebrate in spirit).  Send along a gift anyways.  I sent a $100 in champagne, arranged with her friends, but even $50 would go over well I'm sure and be worth it.

windawake

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2014, 08:56:09 AM »
Can you do something the weekend of the wedding shower that will "count" as more of a bachelorette party? You could offer to take your sister out for drinks on the wedding shower weekend to toast to her last bit of single-life, ask her to invite a friend or two. Then you can say, "Hey sis, I can't make it to the bachelorette weekend but how about we do X instead while I'm out there for the wedding shower."


meteor

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2014, 10:07:19 AM »
I've stopped investing much time and money in friend/family weddings after most of them ended up in divorce.  I think we should celebrate weddings *after* they show they can stay married for at least 10 years.

CommonCents

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2014, 10:30:13 AM »
I've stopped investing much time and money in friend/family weddings after most of them ended up in divorce.  I think we should celebrate weddings *after* they show they can stay married for at least 10 years.

Ouch.  Unfortunately, this tactic may leave you uninvited to the 10 year commitment ceremony :(

In any event, I do think a sister's wedding is different than a friend, cousin, etc.  I'm not saying it means you must spend a lot, but it does mean you should think it through carefully.

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2014, 10:35:09 AM »
I've stopped investing much time and money in friend/family weddings after most of them ended up in divorce.  I think we should celebrate weddings *after* they show they can stay married for at least 10 years.

That's a good one.  Also, I've noticed as friends have been getting married the last few years that some of these brides are asking for 3 gifts!  1 for wedding shower, 1=the bachelorette party and 1 for the wedding!  One of my buddy's new wife was bitching that one of his groomsmen did not send a thank you note for being a groomsmen!  (does she realize that men thank each other w/ half hugs and pats on the back?)  This is the same chick that also "checked in" with my girlfriend and I to make sure our gift wasn't lost in the shuffle.  WE DIDN'T GET YOU A WEDDING GIFT BECAUSE WE GAVE YOU A $100 SHOWER GIFT!!!  (also, standard for socially acceptable wedding gifting is 1 year)

1 wedding = 1 gift
And if it cost too much to go to a wedding, the bride/groom should understand if they don't, then offer for them to pay your way if it's that important! 


Greg

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2014, 10:42:21 AM »
This big wedding celebration stuff is ludicrous.  No one should plan events like this that cost other people, especially family, so much money.  I think you need to have a talk about this with your sister.  You are planning bug stuff for yourself at the same time (this is bad planning, can you move your date?) and it's just too much.  You already are unhappy about it.

My own wedding cost was about what you're going to spend on your sister's wedding events.  Simple ceremony at an affordable place, potluck reception, nice normal clothes, etc.  I think the biggest expense was the rental space.  It's about the people, not being fancy.

Dulcimina

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2014, 11:49:01 AM »
Can you do something the weekend of the wedding shower that will "count" as more of a bachelorette party? You could offer to take your sister out for drinks on the wedding shower weekend to toast to her last bit of single-life, ask her to invite a friend or two. Then you can say, "Hey sis, I can't make it to the bachelorette weekend but how about we do X instead while I'm out there for the wedding shower."

I was going to suggest something the weekend of the wedding. If she's there from Thurs -Sun night, then maybe rehearsal dinner one night, bachelorette the other, wedding then Sunday to decompress? I would not be incurring three sets of plane tickets, or renting a house for $350 on top of that if I couldn't afford it.

nvmama

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2014, 12:18:52 PM »
When my husband and I got married, anyone from my family who attended had to fly out to the Boston area where we are living.  Because we knew this would be an expense, we planned our wedding 2 years out, giving those who wanted to come time to save.  We took cost into consideration when booking the Hotel rooms and provided most meals for them when in town(these were not fancy meals as my husband and I paid for our own wedding, but food non the less).  We also expressed that just the mere fact that they took time off of work and traveled across the country for the wedding was gift enough.  I wouldn't dream of expectant a gift after they had the expense of traveling.  I also realized when we planned our wedding was that most of my family wouldn't make it.  I knew my parents and siblings would be about it.  I was pleasantly surprised to get 2 sets of grandparents and a handful of aunts and uncles.

My sister was my maid of honor.  She didn't attend any pre wedding parties, but we really didn't have any.  My place of work threw me a wedding shower, which was super nice and unexpected.  The point is, even if we had any major pre wedding parties, I wouldn't have expected her to come.

Now that the pages are turned and I have two siblings getting married in the future (exact date unknown, but both engaged) I have started to save for those trips.  They are my siblings and I will not miss the big day.  I wont be attending any pre wedding parties unless they are within the week of the actual wedding.  I am actually planning on saving a pretty significant amount as I need to plan for me, my husband, and my two kids to fly out and we will need to rent a car as well.  Luckily, if they get married where they are currently living, then we will be staying with family.

baseballhum

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2014, 07:52:16 PM »
Thank you everyone for your great advice! I wish she would just have the bachelorette party the same weekend of the wedding or bridal shower. I already asked her if she would do that, and her response was a staunch "no."

I think I simply cannot afford to make a separate bachelorette party trip. As I said earlier, I don't make very much, I don't have much in the way of savings, and my husband-to-be has student loans. I agree with the people who say that she should understand my situation, and if she really wants me to go then she can chip in. I have a philosphical problem with what she is asking. I would never think it was appropriate or acceptable to ask for anyone to basically pay for a full vacation, stay in expensive hotels, etc., for me.

I am going to follow through with the idea a few of you had to pitch some sisterly time during the weekend of the bridal shower - drinks to celebrate or something. Hopefully she'll understand that I'm trying to do the best I can to be supportive.

Threshkin

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2014, 11:52:11 PM »
Personally, I am offended that my sister would even ask for such an extravagant bachelorette party. I would never imagine doing the same – I didn’t even want one, but when we realized that everyone would be in town for my bridal shower, my sister suggested we go out to dinner to celebrate. I have tried to see if she would come up with a more reasonable party, but she will not budge - her response is always "If you can't afford it then don't come."

I am REPULSED at having to pay for this. However, this is my first time being a part of a bridal party, let alone the maid of honor. Can people who have been in similar situations give me some advice? How would you handle this? Am I being unreasonable because a wedding and all its activities are once-in-a-lifetime, so I should be more supportive and less selfish? Or is this ridiculous? Advice on how to handle ALL the wedding expenses listed above, what is appropriate to pay for, what is not, etc. would be greatly appreciated :)
Just say NO!  You are better off not participating than doing something that repulses you.  You are not being selfish in this.  Your sister is!  Is she in a position to afford all of this?

2. Maybe $60 for airport parking and meals. [Plus parking for the second trip]
If you do go, get someone to drop you off at the airport and pick you up on the return.  Even if you pay for their gas it should be much cheaper than parking.

However, my fiance has $50,000 in student loans. Our plan is to pay off all the loans that are currently accruing interest after we receive wedding gifts from friends and family, and then slowly pay off the other loans (luckily since my fiancé is in graduate school they will be deferred for awhile).
Hair on Fire!!!!  Deferred debt is still DEBT especially if it accruing interest in the background.  Your priority should be to tackle this debt first.

You did not mention your own wedding plans.  Are they mustachian or are you planing to run up the same kind of expenses and expect everyone else to pay?

A good friend of mine went the big marriage route.  Their parents could not help pay for it so they financed it all and went up to their eyebrows in debt. (They sat 400 hundred people for the reception dinner alone.)  Within a few months they started fighting about the money they owed and wound up getting divorced less than a year later.  Unfortunately they could not divorce the debt.

A wedding is all about you and your partner.  NO ONE ELSE.  Don't let the wedding vultures or crazed family rip your hearts out.

Mori

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2014, 10:58:54 AM »
I wish she would just have the bachelorette party the same weekend of the wedding or bridal shower. I already asked her if she would do that, and her response was a staunch "no."

I think I simply cannot afford to make a separate bachelorette party trip.

^^This.

My sister and I aren't particularly close, so I don't have as much skin in the game as you might--but if you've already asked about this option, and she said "no", and you mentioned

her response is always "If you can't afford it then don't come."

then call her on her words. It could be something as simple as "I can't afford to fly out twice," and some of the suggestions mentioned above. Because, honestly, you can't. Not if your finances aren't where you want them to be (within certain tolerances of emergency funds, etc.). You could always try to come a day early or stay a day late to visit with her. This does depend on how your sister reacts to such things, and if that "then don't come" was passive-aggressive.

Oh, another thought! Maybe some Skypeing with the family and friends? Some fun party game(s) that can be done by PC? So that you can be there even if not physically present?

Anyway, whatever you decide, let her know soon so that she can plan around it.

baseballhum

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2014, 07:03:40 PM »
Thank you again for your helpful advice! Apologies, I should have mentioned sooner - my wedding is going to be a low-key affair at a park a mile away from our house. We live in a midwestern "city" (not Chicago, but still considered a city). Since our families are spread throughout the country, unfortunately most people will have to travel to our wedding. I think I have made it very clear that if anyone cannot make it because of finances, that is completely understandable (how could I judge?! :).

For our bridal party to save money (most of them are recently out of college without much $ like us), they can bring sleeping bags, blow up beads, etc. and spread them across our apartment and our friends' apartment nearby. We aren't even staying in a hotel the night of our wedding, because ... why? In this day and age, the bride and groom party with their guests all night. It would hardly be worth it to stumble to an expensive hotel room late at night that is 4 blocks from our apartment. Our plan is to make meals at home for everyone for all breakfasts, lunches, and most dinners as well.

Luckily most of my fiance's family and my bridal party live in the same state, so I will be the one traveling to them for my bridal shower :). Bachelorette party will be dinner at my favorite restaurant in town that night. There is one thing I requested - that my mother come to the bridal shower. I really wanted her to be there to meet my fiancé's family, and she is a reasonable drive away. For the bridal shower and bachelorette party, we will be staying in my fiancé's family's house.

All we have asked of our bridal party was to show up to the wedding - the rest is up to their own discretion. We have no rules on hair and makeup except to take a shower and brush your hair. We gave them guidelines on clothes and shoes colors, and then said "go for it" so they could pick out something they would wear again and was in their price range. Like I said, my fiancé and I have made it -very- clear to the bridal party that aside from showing up to our wedding, all the rest is a bonus.

Between both of our families, we have received very generous gifts totaling $25k. We decided to use some of the money to have the wedding my fiancé wants (I would rather have a tiny wedding! He is much more social than me, and it was important for him to have a wedding with his friends and extended family in attendance). I care about the honeymoon. In all, we are hoping to spend $10-12K. The rest of the money, along with all gifts from the wedding (we are asking for cash) will go towards paying off as much student loans as possible and building up an emergency fund. I know this amount is not very mustachian, but I want my fiancé to be happy with the wedding, and we won't have as nice of a vacation for a LONG time.

My sister, in normal American terms, is able to afford her extravagant wedding. But in MMM terms, I am not sure. I know that between her fiancé and her they make a fair bit of money (at least 120k yearly gross). Their wedding will be large and she is spending more than I am on most parts of it (the food, photography, venue, etc.).
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 07:27:29 PM by baseballhum »

Argyle

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2014, 07:16:42 PM »
Sorry to be face-punchy, but even $10-12K for a wedding and honeymoon -- ouch.  While you have a hair-on-fire debt emergency... 

Are you aiming for FIRE?  Because even if you don't put that money toward debt, invest $7000 of that $10-12K for twenty years and you'd have an appreciable amount.  (At 8%, not extreme for the stock market, you'd have just under $33,3000.) 

I guess I'm saying this because I travel extensively and I don't think I've spent $10,000 (for me + child) in a single year of luxurious travel in my whole life.  And that's travelling for months in high-cost countries.  There are so many hacks to get great things for cheap.  Don't assume you have to spend big to have wonderful honeymoon experiences.  I'd aim for wedding + honeymoon at $5000.  I bet your experience would be just as wonderful.

baseballhum

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2014, 07:34:50 PM »
Agh, you're right ... we are already well into the wedding planning, but I am sure that there are expenses we haven't paid for yet that I can cut. Thank you for keeping it real - I need it!

lifejoy

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2014, 10:31:30 PM »
My parents' honeymoon was a few days in Seattle, and a Seattle Seahawks football game (woo woo!)
I always laugh about this, because my mom could care less about football but she cares a heck of a lot about my dad!

Anyways I bring it up because this trip involved a 6 hour drive a few nights at a hotel. Granted, we're Canadian, so that makes the US "exotic". Where I'm going with this:

My parents have now been to California, Japan, Italy, and other places in Europe. Other places in Canada. The honeymoon is not the last chance to travel together!! So keep that in mind when you're trying to cut back expenses :)

C. K.

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2014, 07:55:24 AM »
My parents' honeymoon was a few days in Seattle, and a Seattle Seahawks football game (woo woo!)
I always laugh about this, because my mom could care less about football but she cares a heck of a lot about my dad!

Funny and lovely story. :)

mm1970

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2014, 08:57:16 AM »
Got to the shower or the bachelorette weekend, not both. There's nothing wrong with that.

This trend of multi-day bachelorette flings is part of the same trend of growing the Big White Wedding extravaganza and it is silly.

This.  You are flying out TWICE already.  Do not make it three times.  It's unnecessary.

prosaic

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Re: Justifying Sister's Wedding Expenses
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2014, 09:03:07 AM »
You tried to accommodate the bachelorette party by suggesting it be held around the shower or within a couple of days of the wedding (which is the *norm*). She said no.

She exerted her choice, and the result is that you won't be there. She can't come back and complain, because *she exerted her choice and you respected it*. Now she has to respect the consequence.