Surviving Single: Affording Weddings

I feel like a broken record because I have said this so many times, but weddings are expensive. Now, usually when I’m talking about the cost of a wedding I am talking to the people paying for the wedding (i.e. the bride and groom), but today I am talking to all the single people who are in a wedding.

saving money

While the bulk of wedding costs definitely fall on the people throwing the wedding that doesn’t mean that it isn’t costly for people in the wedding. I have been relatively fortunate that the weddings I have been in weren’t overly expensive, but I did still have to set aside some extra cash to pay for the festivities. You may be wondering what costs I’m talking about. Well there are bridesmaid dresses, Bachelorette parties, wedding gifts, and travel and accommodations if it is a destination wedding. I have heard of cases where the bride and groom or their parents have funded everything for the bridal party as well, but this is not the norm. Most often the costs of being in a wedding fall on you.

Assuming that you are on a budget like most young single people, there are really only two options when it comes to affording being in a wedding: save or decline.

When someone asks you to be in a wedding, you do not have to say yes. I think it is relatively unheard of that people decline an invitation to be a part of someone’s bridal party, but if you can’t then you can’t. I wouldn’t flat out say that you just can’t be in someone’s wedding. If they are asking you to be an attendant then you are probably pretty important to them. I would just explain that you aren’t able to afford being in their wedding. I know this sounds harsh and hard. However, it is better to be up front with the bride then freak her out a month before her wedding, or worse start resenting her because you are strapped for cash. Remember how stressed Annie was in Bridesmaids?


If you feel like you can’t decline to be in the wedding then you can always save for the wedding. Hopefully you get at least six months notice that you will be in a wedding, and this should give you enough time to set aside the money you will need. A note for the brides and grooms out there: remember that your single friends are operating on one income and they have to save for things like being in your wedding. I’ve been told that affording weddings when you are single becomes easier in your thirties when you are more established in your career, but as a mid 20-something I know that I have to save.

Money is never an easy topic to bring up, but with the rising costs of weddings these days it is something that has to be addressed with everyone that is involved. I don’t mean that as a bridesmaid you need to know the whole budget for the wedding, but you do need to know how much you will be needing for your expenses. I totally get that conversations about money can be uncomfortable. I’m from the South! We would rather dig holes all day then talk about money, but shying away from the topic will only lead to unnecessary stress later.

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