Attending a Wedding Costs More Than You Think
Howdy partners, and welcome back to another thrilling tale of everything that happens in my life that forces me to spend a heap of money. So, what’s new?
First off, as I predicted last time around, I had to dip into that hard-earned emergency fund I had been building. Why, oh why, you might ask? (And I have asked, as I wept into my cornflakes while moving another hundred dollars out of my “savings” and into my “dear God, Kelly, please stop draining me” account. Someday I’ll learn. But let me explain.)
It’s like a chain reaction: My savings took a hit because I’d been on vacation, which meant that not only was I spending crazy money in L.A., but I also wasn’t earning anything since I’m technically a freelancer — no paid time off for me.
So my paycheck takes a hit, rent and bills are due, and subsequently, my emergency fund shrinks. But you guys, that’s what emergency funds are for! You have this money ready to go when times get tough, and when times aren’t that tough anymore, you build it back up. Rinse and repeat!
Plus, I’m going to a wedding this weekend. A destination wedding, which means another plane, another state, and even more travel for me. That’s basically an emergency, right? Probably should’ve mentioned that before, but come on, the title kinda gives it away. (Pun intended — LOL!)
Average Wedding Cost
The average couple in the United States will spend around $5,000 to get engaged, $27,000 on the ceremony and reception, and $4,000 on the honeymoon, according to a report by Wedding Wire. That’s a grand total of $36,000 for the happiest day of your life, but that’s only the average across all states.
In New York City, it will cost you around $77,000; in Chicago, it’s $52,000; Los Angeles is $45,000; and San Francisco isn’t far off at $39,000, according to the Knot. It seems money really can buy happiness, huh?
But I don’t care what the happy couple intends to spend. I’m not the one getting hitched. They chose this marital bed, and now they’ve got to lie in it. What I’m truly concerned about is me. How much is this damned destination wedding going to set me back?
The Cost of Attending a Wedding
I love my friends who are about to tie the knot, and I wish them nothing but a life of eternal bliss and happiness, but damn them to hell for loving me back and inviting me to their special day in Florida, of all places! Just kidding, Iain and Sarah! I love you both!
We all know how extravagant I am (after this many columns, it’s hard not to notice), but I really had to tighten the reins in order to make this wedding a possibility for myself. It was important to me to be there, as the bride became one of my closest friends in New York a couple of years ago.
I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing my friend get married through a phone screen, so I made it work.
Guests attending weddings were reported to have spent an average of $888 in 2016, according to a survey by the Knot. Well, my friends, it cost me around $710. So I am slightly below average, having used multiple methods to keep the cost low. Let me break it down for you:
New York to Jacksonville, round trip. I used Kiwi.com because, in my experience, it usually has the cheapest flight deals. Considering I am flying on Saturday, the day of the wedding, and flying home the following evening, it’s not too bad. I might have been able to save $50 or so if I flew in on Friday or flew home Monday, but then that would have driven up hotel costs. It didn’t balance out.
The betrothed reserved a stack of rooms for their wedding guests in a hotel near the reception, and room rates were capped at $95. Can’t really complain about that too much, can I?
But with no plus one to this wedding (sorry, boyfriend!), I had no one to split the costs with. Bringing a date, if you can, will definitely save you money here if you go splitsies.
Wedding Gift: $77
I’m mortified to be revealing the amount I spent on the gift, but this article doesn’t go out until a day after the wedding, so they won’t care by then, anyway. Haha! From their Amazon online registry, I got them a beautiful clothing iron. Married couples want the weirdest things.
I have been warned by other guests that the hotel and venue are at least an hour’s drive from Jacksonville airport, and there is little to no public transportation. So this is my generous estimate of what the cab is going to cost me to and from the airport. Kill me now, please.
Albert, my favorite personal finance app, has been yelling at me all last month about the amount of money I spent on cabs in L.A. He’s not going to be too pleased when he sees this.
Outfit: Around $100
I have yet to grab shoes and accessories at time of writing, but I got my outfit for an absolute steal, thanks to the browser extension Honey. I found this dress (pictured left) on Missguided. It was originally priced at $60, which seemed like a fair price to pay. So I went to check out because it was stunning and I was in love.
But then it was Honey to the rescue, finding a 40-percent discount and knocking the price down to $36! That meant I could happily pay $8 for express shipping to get it on time for the wedding. Because you know, I leave everything until the last minute.
I suspect I’ll spend about $50 to $60 between shoes, a bag, and accessories, so I’ve rounded up here. I’ll update you next time to let you know whether I was accurate.
Hair and Beauty: $93
So we know I dye my hair myself, and it’s bye-bye purple ends! The blonde bitch is back in full swing for the winter. A fresh set of box dye cost me a slick $13 and about an hour and a half of my life I’ll never get back, but oh well. You gotta do what ya gotta do.
For my nails, I chose to get white gel acrylics on my hands, as well as a pedicure. Altogether, that cost around $60, including tip. It’s so worth it for beautiful, coffin-shaped fingers! Throw in an extra maybe $20 on eyebrow threading and tinting, but leave out the mustache waxing as I have store-bought hair removal cream that does the same job.
Being a Queen costs a lot of money. Damn.
Is Attending a Wedding Worth It?
I mean, I haven’t actually attended the wedding yet, so I can’t say for sure, but of course. Seeing two people you love pledge to spend the rest of their lives together is something money can’t buy. Except for the $710 it will cost me to be there, but no matter. Money can be remade — experiences can’t.
Plus there’s an open bar at the reception, so who’s the real winner here?