Author Topic: Wedding guest spending woes.  (Read 13603 times)

amykathleen

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Wedding guest spending woes.
« on: August 19, 2014, 01:28:22 PM »
Dear fellow Mustachians:

My boyfriend and I have embraced the MMM lifestyle. We've been together for a bunch of years, and have a huge, amazing group of loving friends. Some of them share similar views about finances, while others lead drastically different, gut-wrenchingly spendy lifestyles. To each their own, I tell myself.

We've come to a time in our lives when it seems like every couple we know has decided to get married - and we've been invited to all of the weddings. Like seriously, all of them. We have 10 next year alone, and that's after 5 this year.


The Situation:
My lady friends all seem to be following one-another's lead, throwing extravagent engagement parties, bridal showers, AND bachelorette weekend parties -- ON TOP of the weddings themselves (and gift -- we currently give $200 from the both of us).

The Problem:
I am expected to: 1. Attend all of these events 2. Buy presents for all of these events, and 3. Spend so much money on bachelorette weekends on things I would NEVER spend money on (i.e., hotel rooms, extravagent dinners, over-priced bar drinks.. Gah!).

The Complication:
I've been working for a few years at a stable job, so my friends all know I have a comfortable income (more comfortable than many of them), so statements like, "Well, YOU can afford to do this/that" often come up. (Yes, technically I have enough money to cover the bill - but I choose to put that money towards my future instead.)

The Question:
Any tips from other Ms. Money Mustaches out there about how to drastically reduce these wedding-related costs, while still showing support for my friends?


Many thanks in advance!

norabird

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 02:43:44 PM »
Opt out of the spendier bachelorette weekends, or volunteer to plan some of these yourself for very close friends where that would be appropriate and then plan something more low-key (an airbnb house, all drinks and meals prepared by you all on-site?). There is zero obligation for you to go to everything you are invited to, though you may need to do some boundary-enforcing to keep from allowing pressure to be placed on you.

Others might have ideas for good home-made gifts to opt for instead of cash gifts. I usually write a check also for these but give yourself permission to think outside the box and find something meaningful that may cost less. With 10 weddings, that's $2,000 in a year--not really reasonable.

4alpacas

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 03:19:21 PM »
I've been through the "wedding years," and I'm SO happy to be out of it.

My recommendation is to prioritize your friendships.  I know it sounds cold, but I can't count the number of wedding gifts for people that I no longer speak with. 

I avoid crazy bachelorette weekends.  I tag along if it seems low key and fun (like water skiing, kayaking, SUP, etc.).  I've also started skipping bridal showers because I find them SO boring.  I've also stopped going to weddings that require multiple days of travel.  In order to get out of events, I would have "other plans" or work stuff. 

Good luck.  This period sucks. 

frugledoc

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 03:20:02 PM »
You should count yourself lucky to have so many good friends.  There is no way out, just enjoy it. 


steadierfooting

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 03:37:44 PM »
I love 4alpacas's advice.  I'm a guy, but had to go through the same thing you did.  I skipped expensive portions of bachelor parties. "I'll meet up with you later".  I also did not have my wife go to any bridal shower that was for my friends. I gave cash to my friends weddings, but my wife would by the $150 crystal ice cube tray that was on their registry, but only after it went on super clearance with coupons for $30.  So they got a '$150' wedding gift.  I don't mind the cash, it's basically a zero sum return.  I invited all the people that invited me to their wedding and got it all back.

I hate weddings and bachelor parties and all the crap associated with it now.  I'm glad that we are past that phase.  Towards the end I decided to start blowing them off, "no" to wedding invitations and bachelor parties unless it was from my super close friends.  Even then I intentionally told friends I didn't want to be the best man or be in the wedding party.  Guys are different from girls though and don't generally take offense to it, although I was quite brash with it.
 

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 04:00:24 PM »
I'm with 4alpacas on prioritizing.  We had a small housewarming in lieu of a wedding since we eloped, and we've never gone to a wedding event for anyone that we didn't invite to that.  Makes for a pretty short "short list" - has been about 1 wedding per year and we end up spending $1K or so to travel and attend each.

If you can't go that far, opt out of events that are beyond your comfort level like crazy bachelorette parties.  Good friends wouldn't bat an eye if I said, "Guys, that's not my bag - I'm not gonna go." 

Mt9982

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2014, 04:58:51 PM »
This is a tough one.  Not attending a wedding unless you have obvious other plans will offend the bride.  I also wouldn't want to burn any bridges.  I say skip the bachelorette parties and claim you have to work.  Attend all of the showers and buy cheap gifts that aren't on the registry.  You can find some nice home goods at tj maxx. 

labrat

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 08:58:38 PM »
I'm with 4alpacas on prioritizing.  We had a small housewarming in lieu of a wedding since we eloped, and we've never gone to a wedding event for anyone that we didn't invite to that.  Makes for a pretty short "short list" - has been about 1 wedding per year and we end up spending $1K or so to travel and attend each.

If you can't go that far, opt out of events that are beyond your comfort level like crazy bachelorette parties.  Good friends wouldn't bat an eye if I said, "Guys, that's not my bag - I'm not gonna go."

Ugh. Weddings have morphed into a glorified money/gift grab + unrestricted spending for many people.  Invitations are just that, not mandates! 

I'm with 4alpacas and Mrs. PoP.  Prioritize.  It will simplify your life.  Do not feel guilty about bowing out of the bachelorette parties or being part of the wedding party if you aren't super-close and are uncomfortable spending so lavishly.  Like MrsPoP mentioned, a good friend would understand. 

Chuck

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2014, 09:38:42 PM »
Decline, but be honest as to why.

"I feel this would be a big waste of my money. I value you, but I want to demonstrate that by buying worthless shit."

This would work with dudes. Dudes are cool like that, though.

CommonCents

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 09:43:13 PM »
The fact that you have 10 this year actually helps you.  It's hard to argue with "I wish I could join you (at the shower/bachelorette) but we have 10 weddings this year!  I'm looking forward to seeing you get married June though."  Four events for ten people is 40 weekends. You really can't attend that many, money even aside.   Prioritize the "extra" events if there is someone really special.  And who knows, odds are you'll get "lucky" and have an overlapping summer wedding anyways, making it 9 to attend.

P.S. It can get worse. My BIL had 7 one year followed by 12 the next year!

greenmimama

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2014, 09:48:21 PM »
I feel sorry for you if this is a trend, we are long past that phase, now it's all the baby showers and such. I am so glad that the super expensive parties weren't a trend when we got married.


How close are you with these friends, if you are really tight, you should probably go, to the wedding I mean, you can't be forced to attend a Bachelorette party, they can guilt you but just stand strong, and stop giving $200 per wedding, $100 is plenty and any couple should be happy to get that.

Clarion

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2014, 10:16:32 PM »
There was a time not so long ago (I'm late 30's now) that it seemed I was at a wedding every weekend too.  It was an expensive time.  It was also before I had discovered MMM and before I was serious about our finances.  However, I have to say weddings are one of those real celebrations in life and are part of what life is about.  I don't regret going to any of the weddings, I have a photo album dedicated solely to friends weddings and I love to look back at it from time to time. 

I remember my late grandmother saying to me during that time, "It seems you are always going to friends weddings and I am always going to friends funerals."  Her statement really stuck with me and reminded me about moments that are important to me in life. 

I am sure you can manage to attend most of the weddings in a financially manageable way.  Maybe there is no need to attend every bridal shower or bachelorette party, these can get a bit over the top.

I like this idea by CommonCents.  Chances are with so many events in one year you will be double booked for many of them anyway.
The fact that you have 10 this year actually helps you.  It's hard to argue with "I wish I could join you (at the shower/bachelorette) but we have 10 weddings this year!  I'm looking forward to seeing you get married June though."  Four events for ten people is 40 weekends. You really can't attend that many, money even aside.   Prioritize the "extra" events if there is someone really special.  And who knows, odds are you'll get "lucky" and have an overlapping summer wedding anyways, making it 9 to attend.


 


Dicey

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2014, 10:48:20 PM »
Clarion, your grandma's statement is similar to one my family quotes often.

They say, "We'll come to your wedding or we'll come to your funeral, but we'd rather come to your wedding, so please have a fun one." We embrace weddings as a way to celebrate life while we're living. They don't have to be fancy, but fun is a high priority, mainly so we can all spend time together. Backyard BBQ? Picnic in the park? We'll be there!

Having said that, I'd follow some of the other advice you've been given. Say that you've been invited to ten weddings and you can't physically get to every wedding-related event. Then critically pick and choose which couples you think you will still be friends with ten years from now.

Finally, shop like mad for those wedding gifts. Use ebay, CL, coupons, etc. to get the most value for your dollars.

Bateaux

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2014, 11:18:45 PM »
Uggghh!  Weddings are Christmas on steroids.   Glad to have been working for most of them.

Clarion

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2014, 11:46:46 PM »
Uggghh!  Weddings are Christmas on steroids.   Glad to have been working for most of them.

They needn't be like "Christmas on steroids" though.  They should be about friends and family being together to be part of a special day.  Just like Christmas shouldn't be about all the commercialism crap that comes with it.

One of the best wedding presents I got from a friend was a book.  "The five love languages" by Gary Chapman.  Simple, not expensive and thoughtful.  It was from a friend who probably could of afforded a more expensive gift but I am glad she didn't spend more money and nor did she need to.   If you get married for the gifts then you aren't getting married for the right reasons = recipe for disaster right from the beginning.

PilotsWife

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2014, 11:52:07 PM »
This is a tough one.  Not attending a wedding unless you have obvious other plans will offend the bride.  I also wouldn't want to burn any bridges.  I say skip the bachelorette parties and claim you have to work.  Attend all of the showers and buy cheap gifts that aren't on the registry.  You can find some nice home goods at tj maxx.

I disagree with the bolded section here. Why buy someone something cheap that they won't necessarily want? It's not very Mustachian to waste money on something that will most likely be donated.

starbuck

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2014, 07:55:52 AM »
The fact that you have 10 this year actually helps you.  It's hard to argue with "I wish I could join you (at the shower/bachelorette) but we have 10 weddings this year!  I'm looking forward to seeing you get married June though."  Four events for ten people is 40 weekends. You really can't attend that many, money even aside.   Prioritize the "extra" events if there is someone really special.  And who knows, odds are you'll get "lucky" and have an overlapping summer wedding anyways, making it 9 to attend.

Yup with any luck, you'll be overbooked which will give you an easy out on some of the events. I've also used the vague "I have a family thing" excuse when I'm not really interested in attending. (You don't actually need to give a reason, though.) To echo others, you don't HAVE to go to every event you're invited to if you're not in the bridal party. I wouldn't/don't go to the bridal shower/bachelorette of someone that was only friends with my husband because frankly who cares. I'd rather invest my time and money into those that are really close friends of mine, instead of half-assing everything for everyone.

If you DO want to attend a wedding that requires travel, try and join up with others in your social circle. We've split hotel rooms with another couple, cutting the costs (carpool+lodging) in half. And get on those travel rewards now if you can.

If you're asked to be IN a lot of the weddings, remember that you do not have to accept every offer, unless you really want to. It's a choice! Being in a wedding party is often a large large $ and time commitment, so it's not all sunshine and sparkles. You end up forking over some serious dough from start to finish, so choose wisely.

MandyM

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2014, 08:26:09 AM »
This is a tough one.  Not attending a wedding unless you have obvious other plans will offend the bride.  I also wouldn't want to burn any bridges.  I say skip the bachelorette parties and claim you have to work.  Attend all of the showers and buy cheap gifts that aren't on the registry.  You can find some nice home goods at tj maxx.

I disagree with the bolded section here. Why buy someone something cheap that they won't necessarily want? It's not very Mustachian to waste money on something that will most likely be donated.

I agree that cheap in and of itself is bad. I'm an avid "off registry" gifter when its a friend that I know pretty well. I love to come up with an idea that is inexpensive, but suits to a T.

rujancified

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2014, 09:00:52 AM »
Are these friends from the same part of life (college vs. hs vs first job)? Could you see if there's any interest in a combined Bach party/shower? At least that way you don't have to travel twice...I guess? Could you give less at the wedding if you attend other events? When I've been a BM, I host the shower & bachelorette, but I don't do cash at the weddings, just a really nice card about what it means to me to be part of the event.

I love weddings. I love getting dressed up and dancing and drinking with my friends. I love the baseline of the day: two people promising their lives to one another. Weddings are fucking fabulous. But I have to agree with people that said you need to prioritize friendships. I had a large group of friends in college and, once that part of life ended, we broke off into smaller sub-groups. There's interaction between the sub-groups on some level, but there's people I don't talk to at all. And that's fine! But I wouldn't go to their bridal showers AND bach parties AND the weddings, I'd pick the most convenient/cheapest event for me to attend and do that.

Bridal showers: Don't get me started. I hate them. Funny story, though. My husband didn't know that as a lady person, you were expected to* give two presents - one at the shower and one at the wedding. He was shocked and dismayed.

*I know, I know, some of you don't think this is a real expectation, but it is in my little corner of society.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2014, 09:26:56 AM »
It sounds like you have something of a say in how events are planned? If they are assuming you have more cash than they do, then maybe you can steer them into a more mustacian direction.

If you can start off the "wedding season" with an event that you plan -- and you can pull off a fun event with minimal cost -- then that can set the tone. One of my first college friends to get married had a fun, beautiful, and inexpensive wedding. Afterwards, most of my friends planned events and weddings with that in mind. Only one had the super expensive hotel wedding and everyone else's was very unique and mustacian.

I bet you can set a good tone. If not, you can decline the pricey events and get thoughtful but less expensive gifts for the events that you attend. If you want to go "off the registry," you could get their modestly priced kitchen gadgets and a creative way to give them; or a bridal shower cake made of the towels they registered for, wrapped up in tulle and with a pizza sheet at the bottom. Do that for everyone, and they will come to expect and love it because it's "your" thing -- plus, you can save on supplies; just one roll of tulle and ribbon and you're set for 5 bridal showers. It doubles as a decoration for the shower, too :)

We received a lot of thoughtful, priceless, but inexpensive gifts from friends at our wedding. One of which was our cake: a friend baked it and cupcakes and we absolutely loved it. It cost a lot less than $200 for them to make it, although it did involve a lot of work the morning of the wedding!

If you have a talent you can contribute, consider that. If it's not baking, how about arranging flowers for all the bridesmaids bouquets? It's a way for the bride to save money but she won't have to stress about it the day of -- you'll be stressed, though ;) Or, could you translate a talent into wedding favors that would be unique to the bride and groom?

windawake

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2014, 09:40:16 AM »
I really dislike all of the expectations around weddings, and I suspect that being a recalcitrant maid of honor irreparably altered a friendship a couple summers ago. I'm just not that into it, and have realized that unless someone is having a very small, personal wedding, I'm probably not a good choice for the wedding party. I just can't get excited about expensive dresses, expensive venues, expensive pre-parties, expensive gifts, and unrealistic expectations. Unfortunately, that's what you're required (by law?) to be excited about as a maid of honor.

I'm fully on the hand-crafted-gifts-are-better bandwagon. Last summer I made a cutout of each member of the couple's home state, laid over a white background with a little heart where they're from. I'm going to make this exact present for my wedding this summer, but use maps behind the cutouts instead.

MooseOutFront

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2014, 10:45:32 AM »
Take a good look at which of these people you're already growing apart from, and make some calculated choices.  You'll not see many of them again is my experience.  Thank goodness I'm old enough to be past this phase.

For the record my wife and I do about $50 standard gift and $100 for genuinely close friends and this has never cost us a relationship.

surfhb

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2014, 10:59:31 AM »
You just go and stop being such a complainy pants!! 

$2000 is not going to break your FIRE plans......be grateful you have a large group of friends...this is a byproduct of that. 

This is a part of life so don't burn a bridge just because you want to retire a few months earlier then planned
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 11:03:28 AM by surfhb »

alwayslearning

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2014, 11:21:21 AM »
Are there family and friends who would be interested in "going in" together on gifts? That always seems to help!

Could you help make/find decorations/food for these events instead? (We shopped at thrift stores for all of my bridal shower decorations and saved a ton of money!)

minimustache1985

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2014, 11:39:25 AM »
I'm finally on the tail end of the wedding phase and understand.  Particularly with the husbands family events where "but it's FAMILY" and they know we make enough to fly back for things.

I would decline any and all out of town bachelorettes and bridal showers along with a good number of in town ones- like others have said, the fact that you're invited to 10 weddings this year actually helps- you certainly can't make ALL those events!

While I don't recommend gifts that are cheap for the sake of being cheap, inexpensive homemade or thoughtful gifts can be some of the best.  We didn't register for beach towels but use the ones my sister got from Costco regularly at pools, and the picture frame my SIL gave us is on our mantle.

I don't regret going to any of the actual weddings I've attended, witnessing our friends and family exchange their vows and start a new chapter of their lives has always been a wonderful experience.  Being generous with people I love is also something I've never regretted.  That said we have declined a few weddings (and I don't go to OOT pre-wedding events unless they overlap with something else) because of vacation time constraints or overlapping commitments, and our relationships with those people haven't been hampered because of it.  Remember that invitations are not summons or invoices, they are just invitations.

Goldielocks

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2014, 06:18:43 PM »
Hi!

This is a nice problem to have, all things put together.

My approach:
1)  Only attend bachelorette parties that are smiliar to what you would normally do on a weekend.  so, if you are MMM, that means just about none.  you don't have to make excuses with detail, just say that you are booked that night (to reading in bed, but only you know that).

2)  Showers do not have to be expensive, and are only mandatory for bridesmaids, mothers, old maiden aunts.   You can make something as a gift.  Give with a set of new tea towels, or "antique" that you found just for them (at the second hand store, of course!  like an antique teapot).   The shower gifts I received were all at $25 or less and many handmade, and all about setting up a new house.   We weren't poor, many had money, and no one thought twice about it, either.

3)  I would continue to give cash as wedding presents.  $200 is a great, generous amount for good friends, close cousins, etc.  Much reduced amounts of course for not so close friends, or those whose destination weddings you choose not to attend.  If you are travelling to someone's wedding, too, it is okay to just give $100 as you just spent $100 on the hotel / car trip.   For those friends, it is really about seeing you there, you know.

The wedding presents you can budget for, as you can those shower gifts.   

Be very Wary of the bachelorette parties!   You will suddenly be expected to pay up for unexpected bills.


Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2014, 07:41:21 PM »
I'm with 4alpacas on prioritizing.  We had a small housewarming in lieu of a wedding since we eloped, and we've never gone to a wedding event for anyone that we didn't invite to that.  Makes for a pretty short "short list" - has been about 1 wedding per year and we end up spending $1K or so to travel and attend each.

If you can't go that far, opt out of events that are beyond your comfort level like crazy bachelorette parties.  Good friends wouldn't bat an eye if I said, "Guys, that's not my bag - I'm not gonna go."

Ugh. Weddings have morphed into a glorified money/gift grab + unrestricted spending for many people.  Invitations are just that, not mandates! 

I'm with 4alpacas and Mrs. PoP.  Prioritize.  It will simplify your life.  Do not feel guilty about bowing out of the bachelorette parties or being part of the wedding party if you aren't super-close and are uncomfortable spending so lavishly.  Like MrsPoP mentioned, a good friend would understand.
Yep, this is my advice too. We've been invited to so many weddings--in far flung locations--over the past few years that we've just had to prioritize. First priority were the weddings we were in the wedding party for. All others were dependent upon location. For us, the cost of airfare alone was prohibitive. We sent our regrets and I think people understand that it's expensive and not everyone can clear their schedule, budget, etc.

Chrissy

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2014, 08:15:07 PM »
You asked how to "drastically reduce" wedding related costs.  There are only three ways:  don't go, don't buy a gift, or buy something inexpensive.  You can make this happen; here are your options...

Option 1:  RSVP with regrets to the party/shower/wedding, and write "We have an engagement that weekend!"  Engagement is just a fancy word for plan... so what if hardly anyone uses it like that?  Make a PLAN to sit on your couch, eat ice cream, and marathon Orphan Black.  See?  You are otherwise engaged.

Option 2:  buy a pet of any kind.  A lone goldfish is pretty cheap.  Name the goldfish Graham, but don't tell anyone.  RSVP yes to everything you feel obligated to attend.  Two or three days before, if you decide you don't want to go, overfeed Graham a little.  Worry about about it.  The next day, call and say, "We just can't make it.  We're really worried about Graham right now."  If they think you said "Gram" that's their problem, and, remember, as George said on "Seinfeld", it's not a lie if you believe it.

CommonCents

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2014, 08:31:24 PM »
You asked how to "drastically reduce" wedding related costs.  There are only three ways:  don't go, don't buy a gift, or buy something inexpensive.  You can make this happen; here are your options...

Option 1:  RSVP with regrets to the party/shower/wedding, and write "We have an engagement that weekend!"  Engagement is just a fancy word for plan... so what if hardly anyone uses it like that?  Make a PLAN to sit on your couch, eat ice cream, and marathon Orphan Black.  See?  You are otherwise engaged.

Option 2:  buy a pet of any kind.  A lone goldfish is pretty cheap.  Name the goldfish Graham, but don't tell anyone.  RSVP yes to everything you feel obligated to attend.  Two or three days before, if you decide you don't want to go, overfeed Graham a little.  Worry about about it.  The next day, call and say, "We just can't make it.  We're really worried about Graham right now."  If they think you said "Gram" that's their problem, and, remember, as George said on "Seinfeld", it's not a lie if you believe it.

ha, to option 2!

(Although to anyone seriously considering doing that, please keep in mind the hosts likely had to pay catering bills based on anticipated number of guests a week or two beforehand, so it's Not Nice to cost them money like that if you know you won't go.  I had 3 guests cancel last minute - one I found out about at the actual wedding, he booked a flight back after the wedding but before dinner for work which was fine, but would have been nice to have known about.  Still had to pay for all 3.)

MillenialMustache

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2014, 02:57:22 PM »
I really have no idea if this is appropriate, but I normally give $50 at weddings if my DH and I both attend, $100 for a really close friend or close family member. I buy a $25 gift off the registry and use coupons, making it $15-$20 for the bridal shower. I have only attended two bachlorette parties - my own that a friend forced me to have and I required it be inexpensive (was a sleepover at one friend's home) and another awkward one. I bow out of the expensive ones, saying they are not my thing. My friends know I am frugal (but not that I want to retire young) and they seem to understand. I am also not as big a drinker as many friends, so I think that too. And I dislike going drinking without my husband in general. The entire bachelorette thing is something I just don't understand. Anyway, I digress. Another gift I have done before is bought the towels of the registry and then have them embroidered with Mrs. "last name" and Mr. "last name". I truly believe those are popular, as people will mention them to me months later about how they love them. Good luck, and enjoy them. Weddings are the best.

mak1277

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2014, 03:16:26 PM »
Two bills seems like a lot for a gift to me too, but I've a decade past the prime wedding season for my friends.

I really think, if you're not in the wedding party, then you aren't going to be missed if you don't attend the wedding.  Weddings and receptions are absurdly chaotic, and the bride & groom rarely spend more than a few minutes with most guests (except family and the party)....so missing the event itself isn't usually much of a problem.

oldtoyota

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2014, 03:49:39 PM »
I went through this period, too.

Looking back on it, we went to a number of weddings for people we lost touch with over the years. If you have a sense of that now, then maybe that can help you decide which ones to attend.

I think skipping the extra events would be fine.

For one wedding, the bride had a shower, the wedding and then got pregnant not long after--so baby shower. I felt like I was always buying her gifts. It was crazy. We lost touch after a while…so...


chasesfish

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2014, 03:56:00 PM »
You should count yourself lucky to have so many good friends.  There is no way out, just enjoy it.

I'm going to have to second this.  I would count these as once in a lifetime experiences, just prioritize your friends (you should only have 3-5 in total in your life) and push your frugal habits when you can.  Who doesn't like the bridesmaid that packs the vodka with her?

Ybserp

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #33 on: August 21, 2014, 08:48:59 PM »
My preference is to focus my frugality on controlling the spending on myself and to seek to be generous with others.

So if I'm giving a wedding/shower/etc gift, I want to pick something from the registry that I think will have longterm value for the recipient. I would *not* buy something (on registry or not) that I thought was crap.

If you are a part of the planning, you can influence the choice of how to do all the parties... and have a good chance of making things less expensive than they might otherwise be. Sometimes gifts-in-kind are welcomed. If you are a good cook in the opinion of the bride and groom, an offer of food for a shower or bachelorette party (costing more time but not as much cash) might be welcomed. If you are a good artist in the opinion of the bride and groom, something customized for them might be welcomed.

CommonCents

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #34 on: August 22, 2014, 07:50:16 AM »
I really have no idea if this is appropriate, but I normally give $50 at weddings if my DH and I both attend, $100 for a really close friend or close family member.

What type of weddings were this?  Backyard affairs or sit down dinners?  I know some people judge the gift based on the expense of the plate.

We generally give $150 for just the wedding from the both of us for friends, $200-250 for close friends (often in wedding party) or family.  For showers it's $25-50.  Of late I've given (expensive and time consuming) homemade gifts - quilts for three weddings.  After our wedding we talked about increasing our basic standard to $175.  I also will shop sales and double it with a coupon, so sometimes I'm able to get a lot more registry gift than I otherwise would.  For example, for a wedding next weekend where DH is best man, I managed to get gifts for both the wedding and bridal shower totalling $465 in overpriced sticker price (not a true value as these are usually on some sale), but paid $150.  In our circle, we're average - we generally received $100 from a single person, $150 couple, but with close and older family/family friends giving more.  That said, we were mid-30s.  I gave less in my 20s - $50 myself and $100 from a couple.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 08:00:27 AM by CommonCents »

MooseOutFront

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2014, 12:09:58 PM »
We just got invited to our 2nd wedding of the year.  The couple included little printed out cards, one for each place they registered.  These people are 35-36 yrs old, each own their own home and make a good living.  Sorry folks, moose out front should have told ya I ain't buying you new frickin crap that you already have at least 1 version of and likely 2 between you.

If they would have thought about this and not registered anywhere for anything, they would have raked in the cash.  Instead they'll just get new crap they don't need. 

Oh, and also it's the classic friend of my wife's that we used to hang out with in a large group in our 20's, don't see each other since she met this guy she's marrying, and will likely not hang out with ever again after buying them a gift for this wedding.  Actually that's exactly what the other wedding we went to this year was too.  The upside is that our mutual friends that we do hang out with still will be at the wedding too and it's always good to get to get together with them for a night out sans children.

Cassie

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2014, 01:14:23 PM »
When we were in this phase of our life we only went to the weddings that were local. The only exception was a close family member.  Right now where we live the expectation is about 200 for a wedding gift.  Since we are older we don't have many anymore.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #37 on: August 25, 2014, 01:20:01 PM »
I really have no idea if this is appropriate, but I normally give $50 at weddings if my DH and I both attend, $100 for a really close friend or close family member.

What type of weddings were this?  Backyard affairs or sit down dinners?  I know some people judge the gift based on the expense of the plate.


They were sit down dinners. I would say we received similar gifts from people at our wedding, whether we had been to theirs or not yet. I do not like the idea of giving a gift to cover my plate. First off, I have no idea how much the plate of food (and drinks, cake whatever) cost. Second, it was not my decision to have expensive or inexpensive food in the first place.

minimustache1985

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #38 on: August 25, 2014, 01:49:54 PM »
I really have no idea if this is appropriate, but I normally give $50 at weddings if my DH and I both attend, $100 for a really close friend or close family member.

What type of weddings were this?  Backyard affairs or sit down dinners?  I know some people judge the gift based on the expense of the plate.


They were sit down dinners. I would say we received similar gifts from people at our wedding, whether we had been to theirs or not yet. I do not like the idea of giving a gift to cover my plate. First off, I have no idea how much the plate of food (and drinks, cake whatever) cost. Second, it was not my decision to have expensive or inexpensive food in the first place.
So much this.  I can't control the bride and grooms budget, but I get to control mine.  I set a gift budget based on three factors:
1) How close we are.  I gave my sister more than I've ever given to cousins.
2) How much I have to spend on travel.
3) My financial situation at the time.  The year I had 8 weddings to attend gifts were more budget than they are now that I'm down to about 1 a year.

My sister's wedding reception was dinner at a nice pizza place.  Them not having a 4 course meal (or a wedding cake, GASP!) had absolutely no impact on what we gave her.

Ybserp

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #39 on: August 25, 2014, 01:53:19 PM »
I did make a point to try to give the same general amount to siblings. I don't think they'd ever get together and compare... But if they ever did, I'd want them to feel equally loved.

Kaspian

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #40 on: August 25, 2014, 02:29:18 PM »
Ersh..  I think it's probably best just to bite the bullet when it comes to wedding expenses.  Happily (hopefully?) these expenses won't show up on your balance sheet every year.

I had to do two of them last year.  (One out of town.)  I did things behind the scenes to keep costs down:  Gave a car ride to another guest who chipped in $50 for gas.  Negotiated an even better price with the hotel than the wedding party "deal".  Packed a lunch and soda in the car so I wouldn't have to stop at a restaurant during the 7-hour drive.  Did the same on the way back.  Carried a pocket flask for the evening before libations and during the wedding itself.  My cash gift was properly generous, but I bought the wedding card from a Dollar Store to hold it in and did a beautiful colour drawing on the inside in ink and pencil crayon from one of the bride's favourite books, "The Little Prince". 

My advice?  Swallow the cost, but cut corners where nobody's looking.  Didn't MMM once write, "Live like a Spartan when nobody's looking"? 

CommonCents

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Re: Wedding guest spending woes.
« Reply #41 on: August 25, 2014, 03:30:30 PM »
I really have no idea if this is appropriate, but I normally give $50 at weddings if my DH and I both attend, $100 for a really close friend or close family member.

What type of weddings were this?  Backyard affairs or sit down dinners?  I know some people judge the gift based on the expense of the plate.


They were sit down dinners. I would say we received similar gifts from people at our wedding, whether we had been to theirs or not yet. I do not like the idea of giving a gift to cover my plate. First off, I have no idea how much the plate of food (and drinks, cake whatever) cost. Second, it was not my decision to have expensive or inexpensive food in the first place.
So much this.  I can't control the bride and grooms budget, but I get to control mine.  I set a gift budget based on three factors:
1) How close we are.  I gave my sister more than I've ever given to cousins.
2) How much I have to spend on travel.
3) My financial situation at the time.  The year I had 8 weddings to attend gifts were more budget than they are now that I'm down to about 1 a year.

My sister's wedding reception was dinner at a nice pizza place.  Them not having a 4 course meal (or a wedding cake, GASP!) had absolutely no impact on what we gave her.

Ashley, I agree with you on this, but I was trying to find a diplomatic way to suggest that I thought that absent other circumstances (you are in a debt emergency, are ~18, or you had high travel costs to get there) that $50 for a gift from a couple might really be at the low end.  I perhaps should have said straight out what I thought rather than dancing around the bush.  I think wisely shopping sales/using coupons can also help your gift go further.  (And regarding the travel, I actually don't let it affect my budget other than when I attended a wedding in India, though I understand it does affect others.  I've been to very very few local weddings - perhaps 10%? and I still shell out $150/couple, which I understand may be on the higher side for mustachians.)  This is one area where I give more generously to others than I do to myself.  YMMV