Throwing a big wedding may cost a pretty penny, but the bride and groom aren’t the only ones who have to shell out when someone gets hitched. Agreeing to be a groomsmen also means signing up to open your wallet, from paying to rent a tux to treating your friend to a bachelor party to remember.
Groomsmen and bridesmaids will spend an average of $701 per wedding in 2015, according to a survey by American Express, but they aren’t always parting with that cash willingly. Thirty-four percent of bridal party members say they resented how much they were asked to spend on a wedding and 15% said they regretted agreeing to participate, Bridal Guide reported.
Despite the expense, many people are honored to stand up with their friends and family on their wedding day. If you’ve agree to shoulder groomsman responsibilities, there are ways to keep costs from spiraling out of control.
1. Set a budget
Before you say “I do” to being a groomsmen, get a sense of how much you’ll be expected to spend. A destination wedding in Turks and Caicos is going to cost you more than a backyard affair in your hometown. Will you have to rent or buy a tux, or can you wear a suit you already own? Will the groom want an elaborate (and expensive) bachelor party, or is he down for something more low-key?
As you tally up the expected expenses, don’t be afraid to say no if you really can’t afford to be part of the wedding party. Twelve percent of men between 18 and 34 have declined invitations to be groomsmen. If you are going to participate in the wedding, start saving right away if your budget is tight.
“One of the best ways to cope with the costs of being in a wedding party is to start saving money as soon as the engagement is announced so you don’t have to scramble to find the money when asked to take part in the festivities,” Raymond Chun, a senior vice president at TD, said in a statement. “By setting up a separate … savings account and depositing a regular amount into it each month or pay day, you’ll be able to build a savings fund for things like wedding attire, the gift, and any related travel costs.”
2. Rein in the bachelor party
The best man and the rest of groomsmen are in charge of planning the bachelor party, which means you can control expenses here, provided you and the rest of the guys involved are on the same page. While you don’t want to cheap out on the groom’s last hurrah as a single man, you also don’t have to jump on the trend of multi-day celebrations in places like Miami and Las Vegas, especially since these blow-out trips often cause tension within the wedding party.
Twenty-nine percent of people surveyed by Priceline said a destination bachelor or bachelorette party ended up creating a lot of drama among attendees, and 45% of people said they’d skipped joining the party altogether because of the cost. Out-of-town bachelor parties ended up costing guests $850 on average.
If you’re in charge of planning and cost is concern for multiple attendees, there’s nothing wrong a more modest local bachelor party. But if you’ve been invited to an over-the-top event that’s beyond your budget, keep in mind that you’re not obligated to attend. A good friend will understand if you must decline the invitation for financial reasons.
3. Look for budget accommodations
Wedding guests spend an average of $170 on a hotel stay, the American Express survey found. For groomsmen, that number may be low, especially if you need to be in town for several days in order to attend pre-wedding festivities. While some generous couples will offer to pay for bridal party accommodations, especially for destination weddings, it’s not required.
You can always look around for budget hotels or vacation rentals if you’re trying to save, though that can be tricky if the wedding is being held at a particular hotel or resort. Sharing a room with another groomsman or wedding guest might be a better option if cost is a concern.
4. Get a deal on airfare
The bad news about having to fly somewhere for a wedding is that you have little wiggle room when it comes to when and where you travel. Still, if you time your airfare purchase right, you may be able to save.
The best time to buy a plane ticket if you’re headed somewhere within the U.S. is 47 days before you travel, according to Cheap Air. If you’re flying internationally, the ideal time to buy depends on your destination, though you’ll need to make your reservations further in advance. Flights to the Caribbean are cheapest about 144 days before you plan to travel. Headed almost anywhere else in the world and you’ll want to lock down a flight about seven months ahead of time. And if the wedding is on a holiday weekend or at another peak time, you may need to book even further out.
5. Spend wisely on the gift
The average person spends $106 on a wedding gift, according to American Express, and presents at other events, like showers, engagement parties, and bachelor parties, could add another couple hundred to that total. Gift giving can cause major anxiety among guests, especially when people feel pressure to give a certain amount, even if they’ve already spent big bucks on other wedding-related events.
Don’t panic if you can’t afford the most expensive item on a couple’s registry. Per the Emily Post Institute: “The amount you spend is strictly a matter of your budget, how close you are to the bride and groom, and what you think is an appropriate gift.” Banding together with a few other guests on a group gift can be a good way to get the bride and groom something nicer without having to overspend.
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