The best way to politely decline a wedding invitation if you can't afford to go

Wedding guestsNicky Rowbottom/FlickrThe average person spends $US600 as wedding guest.

From buying a gift and a new outfit to booking travel and accommodations, the average person spends upwards of $US600 as a wedding guest today.

If you’re attending the engagement party, bridal shower, or bachelor or bachelorette parties — or God forbid, it’s a destination wedding — that number could easily balloon into the thousands.

Weddings are, of course, a time to celebrate and maybe even splurge a little, but if your mailbox is packed with invites, it could start to feel like your friends’ wedded bliss is breaking your bank.

On a recent episode of her So Money podcast, host and financial expert Farnoosh Torabi spoke with Erin Lowry, a blogger and author of the new book “The Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together” about the best way to decline wedding invitation if you simply can’t afford to go.

Lowry’s best advice? Be honest.

“I think part of it is you have to be honest and it can be as simple as [saying], ‘My boyfriend and I had seven weddings that we got invited to last year, and every single one involved travel. We couldn’t do them all,'” she said. “Then, I send a little gift. Nothing major, but something to show that I’m thinking of them and I’m appreciative.”

You could also forgo the gift and extend a standing offer to take the bride and groom out for dinner or drinks on you next time they’re in town, she said.

Now, if you want to decline an invitation to be part of the wedding party — whether a bridesmaid or groomsman — that may be a tougher and more awkward conversation to have, Lowry said.

“I have had a falling out with a family member, an extended family member, over being in her wedding, because it got to a point where the demands that were being asked of the bridal party financially were in my opinion just egregious… Then, it just got really difficult to navigate,” she told Torabi.

“Now, in retrospect, I wish I had just said, ‘Oh, I so appreciate it, but, again, I just have a few other weddings this year and I’m certainly going to be there for you on the day and I would love to come to your bachelorette party or your bridal shower, but I just unfortunately can’t commit to being in the actual bridal party,’ and that would have been less awkward.”

The bottom line: You don’t need to lay out your financial troubles, if that’s the reason you can’t make it, but definitely let them know you won’t be attending — no one wants to be ghosted by guests on their wedding day.

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