Broke-Ass Financial Coaching: Wedding Party Woes
While being young, broke and beautiful is all well and good, some people’s finances are more jacked than others. That’s why we’ve invited Betsy Crouch (aka Coach $izzle) to come onboard and dole out some much needed advice. She is a professional financial coach after all. If you’ve got a question you’d like answered please email her email@example.com. Maybe your question will be the next one answered.
“I am standing up in my friend’s wedding. I am really struggling financially and I have spent over $400, and I just found out that the dress is going to be $250! I am freaking out… what should I do?” – SD
Standing up in a wedding for someone you love and support is a huge honor and it is one of the biggest financial commitments people make to their friends. Some would say that in that type of situation money “shouldn’t matter.” Well, money is involved, and when money is involved some crazy stuff happens between people, see Money and ____ don’t mix. In that article I address the weirdness, assumptions, and lack of communication between friends and family, around finances. Weddings have a way of bringing out all types of issues, for everyone involved. So, it is understandable that dealing with the finances of a wedding can get really nutty.
If you are feeling like “money doesn’t matter,” and you are bitching to all of your friends about all of the expenses associated with being a wedding, and how burdensome it is, something is not lining up.
Here are the ways I see this commitment going: Your friend asks you to stand up in their wedding, and you are really struggling financially so,
* You tell your friend that you want to support them but money is a huge concern to you and it breaks your heart but you know you don’t have the funds to do it. In the end, you either don’t stand up in the wedding or you two work out a creative solution that works for both of you.
* You don’t mention it and you just suck it up and put expenses on a credit card if need be. “This is their special day,” you say to yourself, and “I don’t want to burden her with my concerns about the cost of being in the wedding.” You pay high interest on all the expenses associated with being in the wedding and you look back and question whether or not you should have put yourself in such a financial position.
If you are already committed, I would say you should get the dress and suck it up. I would ask your friend what other financial commitments you should expect so that there are no other surprises.
Ideally you could have this conversation in advance. “So and so, I am really excited and honored to be in your wedding. I am working on planning out my finances and I am curious to know what other expenses I should be planning for.” Take responsibility and be honest about your strain. When your friend brings up the $60 to get your hair done you two could discuss some creative solutions that may work for both of you: bartering with the hair stylist or having a friend do your hair, etc.
When asked to stand up in a wedding discuss the financial commitment and your financial concerns, when appropriate.
I say “when appropriate,” because there are a group of people who will read this and wonder why I am focusing so much on the finances of being in a friend’s wedding. “Yeah I wanna be in your wedding, how much will it cost?” Not what I am saying. Well basically that is what I am saying, just don’t be that blunt. I am a financial coach, and lots of people have issues with this. “My friend will think I am too focused on the money!” Well, if you are concerned, I would be honest about it. Bottom line, if you have a concern about the finances of the commitment, bring it up, sooner than later.
Discussing your financial concerns could lead to you both working on a solution, that works for both of you. This initial conversation could lead to a brainstorm about less expensive options for the wedding party. If your friend is committed to things that you cannot afford that you know will create a stressful financial situation for you, ask yourself, “are you more committed to your own future or your friend’s wedding?” Oh snap!
I am a relationship person and I love people. Unfortunately, as you know, relationships end over these types of issues. If I can help you and your friends/family navigate these issues more smoothly, then I have done my job.