Your good friend just got engaged, and, you “know” he or she is going to be asking you to be an attendant (either a bridesmaid/bridesman or groomsman/groomswoman) but, you simply cannot afford it. A 2011 CNN report showed that the average bridesmaid had to spend over $1600 in expenses to be an attendant at a friend or relative’s wedding. (And you know costs have only gone up since then!) So, what should you do? Take on the financial burden and figure out how to pay for it later on or blurt out that your friend has absolutely no consideration for your situation and lose your friend over money? The answer? Neither.
If you’ve been asked to participate in a wedding, but, cannot afford everything that goes along with it (parties, presents, and, gowns or tuxedos) the best way to handle it is to be upfront as soon as your asked and be tactful about what you say to the bride or groom. For example “John, I am absolutely thrilled for you! Jane is a great girl and I like her a lot, but, I have student loans to pay back, I’m also paying a lot in rent and trying to pay off my car, I’d love to be an attendant for you, but, I just don’t think I can swing it financially. I’d still love to come to the wedding and if I can do anything to support or help you that doesn’t cost a lot of money, I’m more than happy to volunteer.”
Do you see by using the right wording, and, not immediately putting blame on the bride or groom, it becomes far easier for that person to understand your situation. It is all a matter of keeping your cool, being mature, and, offering a tactful explanation why you need to decline.
On rare occasions, if you are very close, a bride or groom may offer to pay for your expenses. If this is the case, then graciously accept, and, do the bride or groom right by honoring your commitment and giving your full efforts towards the big day without complaint. Another offer that may come your way is that the bride or groom may offer to pay the upfront expenses, and, allow you to pay them back in time – for example $40 a month for the next 48 months. It may sound ridiculous, but, it is a solution that might work for all parties, however, this is strictly up to the bride or groom to offer such a solution. You should never put the bride or groom on the spot asking them to front the money, because, they might be on a very tight budget themselves.
Lastly, remember anyone that is a true friend will understand your situation, and, will graciously allow you to decline the job of being a wedding attendant. Just remember to use tact yourself and work out a solution together, even if the solution means you will only be a guest at the wedding.