Being a wedding guest is expensive. When you add up the cost of travel, hotel rooms (for two nights if there is a welcome party), and multiple gifts for pre-wedding events, you could be looking at a bill pushing $1,000 or more. And if you’re in your mid-20s to mid-30s, you’re probably attending more than one wedding a year as your friends begin tie the knot more and more often—which can be a serious budget-buster. If you simply can’t afford to attend every wedding (we feel you!), how do you decide which you will go to? We asked our experts for a little bit of advice.
While it might seem hard to choose, deciding which weddings to attend and which skip is all about prioritizing. These questions should help you finalize your wedding season schedule.
Are you related to any of the brides or grooms? How closely?
If your sibling or your favorite cousin is getting hitched, their wedding takes priority no matter what. Second cousin who you haven’t seen since the last family reunion a few years ago? If the two of you aren’t particularly close, you’re not obligated to attend.
How long have you known about the wedding?
If you knew about the engagement the second your friend said “Yes,” her wedding should take priority over one you didn’t know about until you saw the engagement announcement on Facebook. And if you’ve had the wedding date on your calendar for months (and it isn’t even until next year!), that’s one you shouldn’t skip.
Where are they being held?
Flights and hotel rooms are the biggest expense when it comes to attending a wedding, so keep that in mind when you decide which you’ll attend. If you can stay at your own house or crash at a friend’s (and don’t have to pay for airfare), that’s much easier to add to your calendar than a multi-day celebration at a remote destination. Decide if you’d rather go to a couple more affordable weddings, or splurge on the one that’s more expensive to get to.
Which invitation came first?
Did you get invited to a few weddings all at once? If none of the invitations are for family members, and you’re equally close with all of the couples, keep in mind which invitation came in first, and choose that one over the others. It might seem arbitrary, but if you know you can only attend one wedding this year, and have already mailed in your RSVP, you’re committed.
Do you really need to go?
When you get invited to the wedding of someone you like, the first instinct is usually to say, “Of course I’ll be there!” But if you haven’t seen the couple in years, or are pretty sure they won’t notice if you’re not there, don’t stress about it. Write a nice note on your RSVP (heck, you can even send a gift if you want!) and save yourself the trouble.
Will you still be friends in 10 years?
If the answer is yes, the wedding should be prioritized over any other invites you’ve gotten. But if you’re just not sure if you and the happy couple will be getting together for family dinners or inviting your kids to one another’s birthday parties—or are pretty sure none of that will be happening—send in your regrets.