5 On Your Side

Mismatched attire, nearby location can keep wedding costs down

Posted June 16

Weddings can be expensive for everyone involved: parents, the couple, guests and the wedding party.

When weddings are out of town or you're asked to be a bridesmaid—again—the costs can pile up. But there are some ways to soften that financial hit.

Looking back on his groomsmen experience, Mike Grubiak resents his cost of that perfection, such as the pricey linen suit he had to buy that he's certain he won't wear again.

“We also had the bachelor party, which was upwards of 1,000 dollars per person," Grubiak said.

For bridesmaids, there's the dress, hair, makeup, jewelry and, of course, the bachelorette party.

“Brides and grooms really need to think carefully about the expenses that they’re foisting on their friends and relatives," said Consumer Reports' Money Editor Toby Stanger.

Lauren Tannenbaum kept the costs down by sending her bridesmaids links to dress sales and options on what they could pick.

“Find a dress, have it be knee length, make sure it coordinates somewhere with this purple," Tannenbaum said. "The bridesmaids, I think, really appreciated that.”

Groomsmen, though, actually spend more than bridesmaids on average, according to a study by the financial advice website GOBankingRates.

Experts suggest groomsmen can save the same way, by wearing a suit of their choice in a similar color. Matching ties and pocket squares can pull it all together.

Also, think hard about a destination wedding. With fewer guests, it may keep costs down for the couple but not for those who attend.

“The transportation. It’s the hotel room. There may be meals that don’t happen during the wedding time. And it can be a real burden on people," Stanger said.

That's why Grubiak and his fiancée decided to keep their upcoming wedding local. Also, they're skipping bridesmaids and groomsmen.

“It should really be about being with family and friends, celebrating the love that we have," Grubiak said. "It’s not about spending $500 on a suit that you’ll never wear again.”

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