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Weddings can be pricey, even for guests

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm •  Published: May 7, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — Weddings are expensive, even if you're not the one walking down the aisle.

Chantay Bridges expects to spend more than $4,000 to attend the weddings of three close friends this summer.

That tidy sum is going to dresses, shoes and gifts, as well as tuxedo rentals for her husband. Two of the weddings also require plane tickets and hotel stays. But there are still more costs she can't plan for yet, such as spa days, spontaneous group dinners or other events that are likely to happen as the big day gets closer.

"It's really hard to figure out all the expenses," says Bridges, a real estate agent in Los Angeles. "Stuff comes up all the time."

Being invited to a wedding can put a major dent in your finances. Ditching the wedding often is not an option. New outfits and cash-stuffed envelopes add up. So does the cost of travelling to out-of-town celebrations. But advance planning can help you from going broke.

"I'm big on relationships. I have to be a part of their big day," says Bridges. "You can always make more money."

Bridges has been putting away $400 a month since save the date cards started rolling in.

"I said, 'Oh my God, we actually have to save up for this.'"

Saving should start even before the invitation hits your mailbox. Begin when a close friend or family member gets engaged, says Kelley Long, a Chicago-based certified public accountant and member of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

Don't forget to set aside money for expenses beyond the main event. You may need funds for wedding shower gifts or trips for bachelorette or bachelor parties, says Long. If you can't afford them, don't feel obligated to go, but let the bride or groom know early that money is tight.

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