Post # 1
My best friend is getting married in May and I’m chief bridesmaid. Whilst I’m incredibly excited and happy for her I am getting in a right tizz about the costs that are involved. For reference I’ve been a bridesmaid a few times before (twice for family and twice for other school friends) but generally the costs associated with those weddings were smaller and much more manageable.
She’s paid for the dress, shoes and is having our hair and makeup done on the day which is incredible and I’m so thankful for so I can’t complain about that at all, and I don’t want to talk to her too much because I know how stressful a wedding can be having watched my sisters go through it (and knowing how much people complain!).
I’m just finishing a Masters degree – will be done about a week before the wedding – so I’m not earning any money at the moment and whilst I’m trying my hardest to scrape something together for this event I’ve also got a family holiday in the summer that I have to pay flights for and need to move out of my flat in July so that’s a deposit for a new place I need to find. I should have a job by then but it’ll be minimum wage until September due to the way the industry I’m going into works.
The hotel she’s getting married in is incredibly posh and a single room is just under £200 a night. It’s also about 60 miles away so that’s £20 in petrol to get there, plus drinks in the evening – by the end of the day I’ll be at around £250 if I’m lucky. I’m not engaged but I do have a long term partner who’s not been invited so I can’t split the costs (the other bridesmaids are family of hers so they’re sharing a room together, I don’t know anyone else well enough to share with them).
Hen do is currently looking like a boozy brunch (£40), overnight stay in London (£80 – £100 depending what hotel everyone wants), two meals (£~30 each cos London), afternoon activity which is looking like some kind of spa thing (£40 roughly), strippergram/stripper show (?? no idea – but it’s London, so I imagine it won’t be cheap!), night out (again – London, so you’re looking at like £6 for a normal drink, and we’ll probably try and get a booth or some kind of package with a club so it’ll be split between the other girls and probably at least £30 a person straight away – with a few drinks the whole club part will be probably another £50). Then there’s also a normal brunch and lunch the next day as well (£40 – £50) and train tickets (£25). So all in all it’s probably going to be around £300 for the weekend.
I simply cannot afford it but I don’t want to let my friend down or cause her unnecessary stress. Much as I love her, over the past five years she’s worked her way up in a very demanding career in Central London and has gone from not much money to a £200 hotel room for one night being small change so she’s kinda forgotten how poor a student can be! Help! Originally when the hen do was more lowkey I was hopeful I could limit what I went to but now it’s got bigger and seems to be growing further into something where you have to go to all of it or none of it – and I’d really hate to miss it.
Post # 2
You’re a bridesmaid and she didn’t even invite your significant other?
Post # 3
I’d personally attend the wedding and skip the hen do. Or could you attend one meal/event for the hen do and forego the rest? I’m not sure how far London would be from you, so obviously that’ll make a difference.
I have bridesmaids who live across the US and I’ve made it perfectly clear they do not need to travel for all of the festivities unless they can afford it and want to. 2/5 bridesmaids won’t make it to my bachelorette or shower, which sucks, but I understand their life doesn’t stop because I’m getting married and I’m 100% understanding. They’ll be here for the actual wedding and that’s all that matters!
Just explain to the bride that while you’d love to attend, it’s just not in the budget. I’d hope she’d be understanding of that.
Post # 4
newbee592 : Yep. Decided that was a battle I didn’t need to have… space was cited as a reason but also it’s largely a political move due to other members in the wedding party that she’s not invited either (and at that point I decided I didn’t need to know anymore and changed the subject!). FWIW aside from her I only know about three other people attending at all – which bearing in mind we’ve been friends since we were teenagers is quite surprising!
Post # 5
Skip the hen do, and see if you can stay in a more affordable hotel close by for the wedding.
I am seriously pissed for you that she didn’t invite your long-term SO. That is incredibly rude. I probably would have stepped down from the wedding party at that point.
Post # 6
One of my friends had a hen do that cost a similar amount and a good friend consequently couldn’t afford to go. The Maid/Matron of Honor who’d organised it was disappointed, but got over it, and everyone else understood.
For the wedding, I would also not want to pay that much for one night. Are there any alternative hotels / B&B / Travelodge nearby? Or restrict what you drink /ask your boyfriend to collect you at the end of the evening and go home. I’ve done that before too and I didn’t miss out or feel I’d had less fun.
With the hen I’d probably go to the first half and leave after the spa. Are you close enough to London to go home to sleep and then train back again if you didn’t want to miss the second day?
Post # 7
Skip the hen do and try to find a cheaper hotel. Tell her you can’t afford all this. Maybe she’ll have an idea on the hotel? Are there possibly anybody else who needs to share a room? I’d be open with her about the lack of funds. Say you’re not trying to add stress to her plate, but you don’t have the money. If she remembers at all what it was like to be a poor college student, maybe she’ll brainstorm somewhere you can stay.
Post # 8
I’d also say, it’s perfectly reasonable to either go or not go to the hen do based on costs. But definitely decide and communicate the decision early because saying or implying you’ll go, only to drop out later and leave others to cover the cost is super annoying. I know people who did that and it went down badly.
Post # 9
brokestudent : “I simply cannot afford it but I don’t want to let my friend down” — Why is the attitude so often “If you love someone, you’ll put yourself into debt for them” instead of “If you love someone, you would never ask them to put themself into debt for you”? I don’t get this. She’s letting YOU down by expecting this of you and making you feel guilty for >gasp< not being a Kardashian. Skip the hen do. It’s absurd. Tell her you can join for either the night portion or the brunch next day, whichever you prefer or can better afford. If she pouts, she’s a shit friend. End of story. Only the shittiest of shitty people would make someone feel bad for not being rich and able to lavishly indulge the shitty person’s whims. I understand being THE BRIDE is fun and special, but you can’t put your friends in the poorhouse so you can feel even specialer. (“you” meaning brides, not OP in this case). If bridesmaids keep saying no to all these unreasonable demands, eventually brides will stop making all these unreasonable demands.
Post # 10
Daisy_Mae : She’s had absolutely no hand in planning the hen do, it’s all a surprise planned by the rest of us. Unfortunately everyone else except a couple of us (around 14 people going) works in the same sector and area of London – very upper market – as her so is able to afford it too. I don’t think I can ask her to relocate her whole wedding because I can’t afford the room 😉
As for the SO thing, the advice I’ve always been handed with weddings is that if it’s not yours, you don’t get to dictate who’s going so I’ve steered clear of starting an argument with my best friend for the sake of it. In the grand scheme of things it wouldn’t save me a *massive* amount of money anyway (and wasn’t really the point of this thread).
I’ll talk to her about the venue… See if we can come up with something.
Post # 11
I think you should just be honest with her, she’s your friend! Say the finances of the hen and the wedding are really stressing you out, and of course that’s not the bride’s fault, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to go to the hen. She may offer to help you pay for it. Also, you could do the hen the cheap way, don’t buy any drinks out, order kids meals at restaurants, pack your own snacks, potentially skip the spa. Not ideal, but then you could still go.
Post # 12
For the wedding, could you stay in an Airbnb instead of the posh hotel? That would save a lot of money.
And for the hen party could you compromise by going just for the one day? You could leave after dinner to head back home if you don’t drink, or you could meet up with everyone the second day for brunch and whatever else? It’s not ideal since you’d have to do a lot of driving in one day but you’d save some money but still put in face time.
Post # 13
I would chat with your friend and let you know you can not afford all of this stuff. Being a bridesmaid is a very costly endeavor.
Post # 14
Does the bride know anyone you could split the posh hotel room with?
Also you could skip the first brunch and just show up right after that. Also just limit your drinks for the evening or don’t drink at all.
I don’t think these costs are getting out of hand they sound pretty average. When you were asked to be a bridesmaid, what was the amount you figured you would be comfortable spending?
Post # 15
brokestudent : attend the wedding and drive home after so no hotel room is needed. Skip the hen party.