Sep 13, 2010

The Price of Friendship

Let's face it - - the older we get the more expensive it is to be a friend. This year alone I've dished out dough for a baby shower and I'm in a wedding next month. Though both joyous occasions I'm glad to be a part of, all I see are $ signs. Yes, it's expensive being a friend and I feel like nobody wants to discuss it.

Baby Shower

When asked to host a baby shower the first thought that should run through your mind is this: How much do I like this friend? I have tons of friends whose baby showers I'd attend... but host? Not so much. After co-hosting a baby shower earlier this year for one of my girlfriends I realized a few things:

1) They cost A LOT OF $. Unless you're rolling in dough I'd suggest getting together with a few friends to co-host the event. Having more people to divide the costs will make everyone happier.

2) Have a budget. You have no idea how quickly things get out of control. Even balloons can easily cost you a couple hundred bucks if you aren't careful.

3) Ask for favors. If you have a friend that is the resident Betty Crocker in your crew, see if they'll bake a cake for the event. Know a chef? Try purchasing some ingredients and letting them cook. Anywhere you can save $ the better.

People don't RSVP. Even when we requested rsvp's via email (something that everyone would've been able to do in 3 secs on their iPhone or Blackberry) people avoided sending their RSVP like the plague. Don't let everyone else's laziness affect you. Stick with a firm rsvp date, follow up with folks, then keep it moving. You will drive yourself crazy tracking people down.


My friends have all started getting married and I'll be making my 1st appearance as a bridesmaid next month. While being asked to join in on what is sure to be one of the happiest days of someone's life is a huge honor, being a part of the bridal party is racked with hidden costs. This is DEFINITELY something you should not agree to if you aren't head over heels about your friend.

1) Gifts, gifts, and more gifts - I'm still learning the appropriate gift etiquette, but between the bridal shower, bachelorette party and actual wedding, be prepared to flex your gift giving muscles.

It seems wrong to go cheap - - anything under $50 for the bridal shower, under $100 for the wedding, though I think you can save $ on a raunchy gift for the bachelorette party... but if you're on a budget I'd definitely suggest browsing the couple's registry and opting for a few of the smaller gifts (if they have them). Otherwise, cash is King and as long as you cover the cost of whatever your meal was then I think it's all good. Yes, it's about enjoying a special time with your friends/family, but let's be honest - - the bride and groom really want to make their money back then some so I'm sure they'll accept the cash (whatever the amount) with a smile.

2) The dress - Our bridesmaid dresses were about $100 (which isn't much) but I feel any money spent on clothing that you don't necessarily want is too much lol. Luckily, we'll be wearing black, strapless dresses so the likelihood we can rock it somewhere else is high... but most dresses are hideous. I have no clue what possesses a bride to pick out the most visually challenged dresses, but I really think it's advisable to encourage the bride to opt for a dress that you can get some wear out of. If not, I'd rather give them the $ as a wedding gift then be stuck with a worthless dress.

3) Wedding Location - If you're lucky you can travel to the wedding location in under 30 minutes. Unfortunately I'll be traveling to Houston. Now, I'm all about traveling, but when you add the expense of an airline ticket onto whatever else you've spent (not to mention a hotel room if needed) you'll see how expensive attending someone else's wedding can cost you. I've determined that after this wedding, I'm only going to attend in-state weddings of close friends. Unless the wedding happens to take place outside the country (where I can get a vacation out of the deal too) then I'm not going. I don't think it's being selfish either - - when you're spending so much $ you want to feel like it's for more than a 15 min ceremony and reception with dry chicken. Throw in some sunshine, a beach and open bar and it's like music to my ears lol.

Maybe I'm slightly jaded, but I went to Vegas to get married. It was quick, easy and cheap... and guess what? My marriage is just as valid as those that spent 30k and up on their wedding. The difference? My husband and I spent our money paying off all of our debt and our friends and family weren't obligated to fork over cash for anything. Now, there's nothing wrong with having a big ceremony, but at the end of the day I really do think it's usually a waste of money and time. When you think about it, not that many people really care to see you get married. Now, don't feel butt hurt about it... but aside from your super close friends and family, people are going to be scrutinizing your wedding from the moment the invitation comes (or comes too late). The dress, the decorations, the people you chose for your bridal party, the minister, did your ceremony start late, did it last too long, how was the weather, was the food good, was there enough food, did you have an open bar, was the cake ghetto looking... did the groomsmen get drunk... the list goes on and on and guess what, folks will have an opinion about everything. I think smaller ceremonies are best, but to each their own.

What are your experiences with the cost of friendship? Have any stories?
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