Hosting a wedding is expensive, but attending someone else’s nuptials can wind up costing you as well. Many people in their twenties and thirties find themselves invited to multiple weddings a year – often during the summer months. This can be especially tricky for engaged couples who may find themselves having to balance saving for their own celebration with attending the nuptials of their friends. Justin Bailey, the co-founder of the financial goal-setting app Vimvest, offers his advice for those who find that celebrating their friends’ love can add up.
Photo by Abby Jiu Photography; Bridal Salon: Carine's Bridal Atelier
Question: How much and how often do you suggest attendees put money away for wedding season?
Answer: The basic answer is the earlier the better. At the very least, the second you find out you are going to be actively involved in at least one friend’s wedding, you should strategize a plan to put some money away each week. It is helpful to determine how elaborate the wedding activities are going to be, in order to gauge how you should be saving. On average, most people in wedding parties will spend about $300-400, but some spend as much as $1,500 or more. I would suggest getting all the details as early as possible and then deciding how much of your weekly payment should go towards wedding season.
Question: How would you suggest sectioning off goals for a friend’s wedding?
Answer: The simpler you make it, the better. Our automatic spilt deposit feature, which is extremely budget friendly and helps you see every amount that is going in, may be a helpful tool in this case. You can adjust how much you are saving based on priority, that way you can start putting away more and more money as the wedding gets closer. Additionally, if you are single and feel uncomfortable about having wedding-centric savings goals, I would suggest starting some sort of “wealth building” type of goal. From there, you can start to get more specific and section off the money going in. So, if you are aware that you will be going to a wedding shower in three months, you can build a “bridal shower” goal under the umbrella wealth management goal, and boost that as a priority.
Question: Should your “wedding season” savings act as an emergency fund?
Answer: Yes, in some capacity. In an ideal world, one should have at least three to six months' worth of expenses covered by an emergency fund. Three months of “necessary expenses” should be a minimum to shoot for. The 50/30/20 rule is a good one to remember. 20% of your income should be saved, at all times, if possible. The difference here is that the very nature of an emergency is that it’s unexpected. In this case, wedding season shouldn’t necessarily catch you by surprise. Though, similar to an emergency fund, friends getting engaged isn’t always predicable. It would be helpful to be able to use money on a wedding in a similar way you would use emergency money, that way it doesn’t affect your everyday spending.
Question: What about saving for gifts? What is the best to go about this?
Answer: Gifts can certainly add up. The average wedding guest spends around $100 for each item from a registry. It would be helpful to take a look at the registry ahead of time, set a budget for yourself and make sure to only choose personalized items in that range. If you are looking to spend a large portion on a gift, adding a “Wedding Gifts” goal to your wealth management will also help.