Archive for July, 2013
Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 | media, trends | No Comments
We are frequently interviewed about all things wedding…here’s one from the perspective of the wedding guest:
No, I don’t want to go to your expensive wedding
by Melissa Leong | Financial Post | May 7, 2013
When a beautiful wedding invitation arrives in our mailbox, imagine if we could RSVP in the most honest way.
“Dear friend, Thank you so much for wanting me to be a part of your incredible celebration. But I am spending a month’s rent on gifts, a bridesmaid dress and the bachelorette party in Vegas. If you have a third bridal shower, I am going to lose it.”
“Dear cousin, I know you’re getting married at the swankiest venue in the city. But my date and I will not cover our heads at $350 a pop. Please don’t badmouth us to the rest of the family.”
“Dear work colleague, No way. In debt from the last wedding that I attended. But congrats.”
How to survive the wedding season
Attending weddings can be expensive. So here are some tips to help you emerge from the tulle-draped, flower-petal littered and champagne filled celebrations with more of your money in the bank.
Read more here
We know weddings are expensive. Weddingbells Magazine’s annual survey recently revealed that couples spend an average of $32,358 to get married and go on a honeymoon. But lovebirds aside, it can be expensive for everyone else too. According to new research by American Express, people expect to fork out $539 per wedding this year, including $167 on travel and $108 on gifts. (Close family members spend an average of $179 on gifts and co-workers cough up $66.)
Also, more couples are opting for destination events which raises costs for traveling guests; 24% of all American weddings in 2012 were abroad, up 20% since 2008, says TheKnot.
Statistics Canada’s 2008 data shows that men get married at an average age of 31.1 and women get hitched at 29.1. So for recent graduates with student loans and for people with new careers trying to build wealth, a flurry of weddings invitations couldn’t come at a worse time.
In the past 10 years, Mira M. has attended about 20 weddings and says she’s easily spent $10,000. Last year, the 29-year-old Toronto resident went to six weddings. One bride had two engagement parties, three showers, an out-of-town stagette and an in-town stagette. And the wedding invitation read: “Monetary gifts appreciated.”
“I gave a gift at every single event,” she says. “You start to feel the pressure because the bride starts talking to you about who gave gifts and ‘How much do you think a party like this costs?’”
So how much are you supposed to give?
Well, you don’t have to give anything if you don’t want to.
Big wedding gift, big mistake
These emotional highs can sometimes lead to brash decisions — such as the decision to unconditionally give your newlywed children extraordinary wedding gifts.
Read more here
“From an etiquette perspective, the most common misconception that I hear is that you’re supposed to spend how much you think they’re spending on your dinner. That’s not the case. [The] wedding is not supposed to be a money-making or break even proposition,” says Lisa Hanslip, owner and senior event designer at The Wedding Planner Inc. She used to write an etiquette column for the Calgary Herald. “You need to take into account how well do you know this person and what your particular circumstances are.”
She has planned several weddings in the last few years where the couple either didn’t want gifts or asked for charitable donations.
“You shouldn’t feel obligated to buy something off the registry. The registry is supposed to make it easier for you, in case you don’t know them that well or you don’t know what they need,” she says. “I’ve had clients complaining about friends’ registries where the cheapest thing is one silver teaspoon that’s $100 and you feel so stupid buying one spoon.”
Buying a silver spoon is the least of our problems if we get the call to join the ranks of the wedding party. (It’s like having the honour of being knighted, except the sword cuts your purse strings.) According to the wedding site TheKnot.com, the average bridesmaid could face a bill for $1,385 when adding all potential costs.
Julianne Taskey, a 31-year-old Toronto resident who works in fundraising has been in six wedding parties; she spends about $1,000 to fulfill her bridal party duties.
“I’m a spender. It’s someone’s special day so how do you put a price tag on it. How do you say, ‘No?’” she says.
Take just one of her events. The cost included more than $400 for a bridesmaid dress, $150 for hair and make-up, $80 for shoes, $50 for a pedicure and manicure. Add to that $150-$300 for a wedding gift, $50 to $100 for shower gifts and $500 for the bachelorette party. “The rooms, the cabs, the drinks, strippers, the bridesmaids tank tops. I probably have four [tank tops],” she says.
Going to people’s weddings could deepen your relationship
Debauchery isn’t cheap. At bachelor parties, Armando Guedez’s friends call him “the banker.” That’s because the 31-year-old Toronto resident doesn’t drink much.
“They’ll give me the money and my job is to make sure they don’t make stupid decisions with their money,” he says.
He’s been invited to about five weddings in the last few years and the bachelor parties are the costliest part. “I usually budget $500. Drinks could be $150 to $200. The hotel and gas is shared so $50 to $100. Food might be $100. The rest goes to the ladies.”
The price of these man-parties and the $150 gift that Mr. Guedez gives at weddings is worth it, he adds. “Going to people’s weddings could deepen your relationships.”
Michael O’Farrell, a 31-year-old entrepreneur who lives in Gatineau, Que., flew to Las Vegas for his cousin’s bachelor party.
“Without the flight, it was close to $1,000 to $1,500 for three nights,” he says. “You’re a bunch of guys. They say, ‘Why don’t we spend $1,000 on drinks and bottle service?’ Everyone chips in. There’s definitely peer pressure and the guilt trip. In some cases … no one wants to take charge and if you do decide to, you’re loading up your credit card.”
He will also buy a new suit to wear to weddings. Blame Facebook for being a catalogue of our formal wear for everyone to see. (To deal with this, Mira once rented a $2,000 gown for $150 from Toronto company, Rent frock Repeat, to wear to a black-tie wedding.)
I’ve been invited to a Jack and Jill where I wasn’t invited to the wedding. It’s so tacky
You cannot put a dollar amount to attending a wedding, Mr. O’Farrell says. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event for the bride and groom. Getting an invitation is a sign that you’re important in their lives. It’s important for you to be there and you want to share that moment with them … If you get invited, it’s not proper to say ‘No.’”
I’ve said “no,” and not sent a gift (which according to my mom, is the rudest thing in the world). I’ve said “no” to being in someone’s wedding party. I also don’t go to what Winnipeggers call “socials” or Jack and Jill parties where guests pay a cover and buy raffle tickets to help raise money for someone else’s wedding.
“I’ve been invited to a Jack and Jill where I wasn’t invited to the wedding. It’s so tacky,” says Kirsten Ellison, a 28-year-old student at the University of Calgary.
She has three weddings to attend this summer in Ontario and one bachelorette in Las Vegas. She’s been saving and spreading out the costs for the flights, for the “spa-rty” (spa party) ahead of one wedding and the hotels.
“I know of people who’ve taken a second mortgage on their house to have a wedding. It was an extravagant thing and all of the bridesmaids were swept up as well,” she says. “It’s important for the couple to have those who are close to them, family and friends, to be there and be supportive. At the same time, it has spun out of control and gone beyond the celebration of two people getting together.”
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