Spending a lot on your wedding? Don’t make friends do it too

Many brides and grooms are willing to spend big on their special day, but they shouldn’t expect their friends to spend as well, especially those most likely to feel pressure — the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

A destination wedding, expensive gowns or tuxedos and a lavish gift registry list can strain relationships, even more so when considering the newlyweds’ friends are most often still relatively young.

“With so many young folks saddled with student loan debts and other issues, and just getting cranked up in their career, their financial margin for error isn’t that high,” Matt Shulz at CompareCards.com told WTOP.

“So it is really important that if you are getting married, you take into consideration your friends’ financial situation,” he said.

In a survey of recent wedding party participants, 58% of bridesmaids and 61% of maids of honor felt pressured to spend money on bridal party-related expenses, and many say the financial pressure strained their relationship with the bride.

Men feel pressure too, with 43% of groomsmen and 50% who were the best man saying the same.

Overall, a third of people who have been in a wedding in the last two years incurred debt for their friend’s wedding and say they regret the money they spent on doing so.

If you can’t afford to be in your friend’s wedding or attend it, Shulz says it is perfectly acceptable to just say so.

“If somebody is asking you to be part of their wedding party, chances are you are really close friends, and with close friends you should be able to have those honest conversations,” Shulz said.

“If your friend judges you too harshly for not being able to afford their lavish wedding, it may be time to rethink the relationship,” he said.

In its survey, 37% said they had declined an invitation to be in a wedding because of costs.

If you really want that wedding on a Caribbean beach or that bachelor party in Las Vegas, consider footing the travel and lodging tab for your friends.

The online survey of U.S. adults age 18 to 53 who have been to a wedding in the last two years was conducted from April 14 to April 23.

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