This is a tough one. We’ve all been there. You’re asked to be in your friend’s wedding, and as the bachelorette party, showers, and the wedding unfold, you suddenly realize what kind of financial investment you’re in for. It’s particularly hard for women in their 20’s who might not be financially established enough to afford this kind of commitment. So, here’s an etiquette question: is it okay to quit your friend’s wedding if you simply cannot afford it?
While bowing out is going to disappoint your friend in the short-term, if she cannot see the financial burden she’s placing on you, then perhaps you have a bigger problem. You definitely should not incur debt for a friend’s wedding, let alone your own wedding. In this instance, the sooner you can tell her, the better. And if the details surrounding the wedding have changed–like, it was supposed to be a close-to-home small wedding but has blossomed into an out-of-state lavish affair–you are well within your right to state your side of the story.
Simply saying something to the effect of, “When I agreed to be in your wedding, I was under the impression that it was going to be small, low-key, and local. I planned on spending $X. Since then, your plans have changed, and that’s awesome. Your wedding is going to be amazing, and you deserve that. However, with the costs now associated with it, I simply cannot afford it. It’s more than I planned on spending, and I simply don’t have $Y. I hate to bow out of your wedding, but at this point, it’s my only option. I’d still love to help you with anything that’s happening close to home. I hope you understand.”
Maybe she will cover some of the costs to make it feasible for your attend, and maybe she won’t. Also, be careful if she pulls the money card and offers to loan it to you. In this case, it would be better to bow out altogether than be indebted to your friend until you can eventually pay her back.