Wedding season is upon us, and in a typical year, your schedule would likely already be filled with festivities. However, this year’s wedding boom may mean your calendar is looking too full—especially if you’re also planning your own wedding!
While it can be a memorable experience for friends to plan their weddings together, it also invites additional challenges in terms of budgeting and timing. Hosting a wedding involves a significant investment of your time and money, which stretches you thin if you’re also thinking about your friends’ bach parties, showers, and other activities.
If you’re invited to be a part of the wedding party, you’ll also have to factor in the financial and non-financial costs of purchasing attire, helping with DIY projects, planning ancillary events, and preparing other items for your friends’ celebrations.
So, what can you do when it feels like your whole friend group is tying the knot at the same time? Let’s see what the industry experts have to say.
Start an Open Discussion With Friends
Honesty is always the best policy, especially when navigating multiple weddings. Wedding planning is an emotional endeavor for everyone involved, so it’s best to be objective when coordinating with friends.
“When asked to be in a wedding party, you really need to look at your budget and chat with the bride or groom about their expectations,” says Shannon Tarrant of Wedding Venue Map. “Is the bachelorette party a chill night out, a weekend at a nearby beach, or a five-day trip to Las Vegas? Being in a wedding party is usually a $2,000 to $5,000 commitment. Be open and honest with what you can commit before saying yes.”
It’s not just about budget, though. Timeless Event Planning’s Sandy Brooks speaks to the importance of timing, suggesting that you “notify [your friends] of any important dates, as you don’t want to end up having your bridal showers on the same day. Having open communication with your friends and asking them what they expect from you as a bridal party member is important to ensure no one’s feelings are hurt.”
Create Systems To Keep You on Track
If you’re planning your own wedding, you already know that there are plenty of moving pieces to manage on your way to the aisle. If you’re also taking on responsibilities for friends’ weddings, you’ll need to ensure you can stay on top of everything. Otherwise, feelings can get hurt, and that’s no way to start the next chapter of your life!
Patricha Pike of Meadows Event Center recommends systemizing your calendar for an easy, organized approach, explaining that “these events are deadline-driven, so make sure you put all the important dates on an easy-to-view calendar and color-code them. A quick look at the colors will tell you if there’s a scheduling overload.”
As for tracking expenses, Brooks asserts that a spreadsheet is the way to go.
“[C]reate a spreadsheet of when all payments are due. This way, you can see exactly how much money you need to save for each month. When you receive a contract, you can ask your vendor if they are willing to switch payment dates around so they are not all clomped into one month.”
Be sure to build in extra line items for financial obligations related to friends’ weddings, such as gifts, attire, hair and makeup, travel, and accommodations. This will give you a clear overview of your expenses each month.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
In a perfect world, you’d be able to do all the things for all the people—but that’s simply not how life works, especially if you’re juggling the demands of multiple weddings at once.
The hard truth here is that your wedding should precede others’ in terms of your budget and schedule. After all, it’s your big day, and you’re investing time and money to get it right. Your friends will likely feel the same about their own weddings, so saying no doesn’t have to feel icky.
To soften the letdown, Brooks suggests couples “let the friend know that you plan on doing something special for them, such as taking them out to dinner or having a spa day. It’s not fun turning down these invitations, and doing this in person is a must to ensure your friend knows how important they are to you.”
“Send congratulations, a polite decline, and a nice gift,” Pike adds. “COVID upended many couples’ wedding plans, and conflicts with dates are going to occur. Wish each other the best and promise to get together for a post-celebration outing.”
If it feels like you’re bombarded by all things weddings this year, pause and reflect on the fact that you and your friends are all saying “I do” to a bright and love-filled future. This too shall pass, and when it does, you’ll have all the time in the world for game nights, brunches, and group dates together! You may even look back on this wild year of weddings with fondness, remembering the camaraderie rather than the busyness.