Work & Money

Report shows BFF weddings are what's keeping millennials from buying homes

Your love is killing my real-estate dreams.

Your love is killing my real-estate dreams.

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Back in May, Australian millionaire Tim Gurner told millennials that avo toast was costing them their dreams of ever owning real-estate. Re: millennial squandering, I'd have pointed to tattoos, fixies and hairless cats myself (or any designer breed of pupper) well before attempting to turn the humble avocado into a luxury food item. No matter. The many virtues of avocado toast cannot be so easily subverted by something as pragmatic as money. And no wonder — it's currently enjoying a season as the edible muse of the art world.

Besides, a new report points to a culprit far more reasonable than our insatiable lust for buttery, jade-hued south american fruit: LOVE. Not yours. Your friend's. Particularly, the kind of love that necessitates a costly bonding ritual and all the traditional trappings that go with it.   

If you're looking for a scapegoat on which to pin your lacklustre life in that dingy apartment with a roommate who thinks kitchen cleanliness is interpretive, a new report by real-estate outfit Zillow lays blame on the wedding bashes of all your BFFs. Yes, your pals are wedding marching you into beggary. 

The data actually points to pre-nuptial festivities like the coveted destination bachelor or bachelorette blast. Millennials who are expected to take nine destination bachelor trips in their lifetimes will spend up to about $17,530 CAD ($13,788 USD, as reported by the study) - or 35% of the standard down payment on a mid-priced first-time home. For the exchange rates, we've calculated all the other wedding costs below in loonies for you — not that it makes the tally easier to digest. The real kick in your bank account? You haven't even paid for the wedding yet.

According to The Knot, a basic wedding will usually cost you just under $500 when you add up gifts ($225 or so) and new formal attire (about $250, if you're a good shopper). That's providing it's not also a destination wedding, of course. All your friends live super close, right? If you have the honor of being in the wedding party of a destination wedding, travel, accommodations, meals, attire and gifts will have you looking (pretty conservatively) at an additional $1,467 at the end of your buddies' big day.   

Unsurprisingly, The Knot confirms that men shell out a little more on the bachelor party than their revelling female counterparts (the tally was $1,948 for a stag and $1,406 for a bachelorette). I'm not gonna say that the discrepancy here might be accounted for in poker chips and "dancing girls" but I'm not not going to say that the discrepancy here might be accounted for in poker chips and "dancing girls". Clichéd (read outmoded) traditions and all that.

Of course, the traditional bridal shower undoubtedly balances those scales and then some. If you've lucked into planning duties, note that there's always a way to be better than basic, whether you'll be wearing a suit or gown to the main event. If my friends are reading, I'll take a groomal shower (™) over a bachelor party any day of the week - you know, once I find a girlfriend. And love. And she loves me back. And I get really good at commitment. And start believing weddings make sense.     

If nine destination romps for romance's sake seem high for a lifetime, consider that you probably know at least ten people for whom the "it would really mean alot to me if you could be there" plea applies. Consider, too, that the away party is becoming the go-to get-together for close-knit comrades. Well meaning millennial friends are hungrier and hungrier for experiences that translate to pics with which to pepper their Instagram feeds. This is, after all, their big day so why not go all in and make some (clickable) memories, right? Yay love! Still, an argument might be made here for less friends. One summer of whimsically back-to-back weddings can really take some of the romance out of your platonic relationships all the while threatening the health of your savings account. The data don't lie.     

Trite observation or not, friendships are one of the things that enrich our lives exponentially. But the diehard tradition of "we're in love forever, give us stuff" (similar to "we had unprotected sex and we're pregnant now, give us stuff") may be yet another thing literally impoverishing millennials*. Those traditions were solidified by older generations in good faith. Parents would throw lavish parties, inviting droves of family and friends with the understanding that generous contributions would be made by all to start the couple out in life with as robust a nest egg as possible. Millennials are still trying to have momentous weddings but often without benefit of older generations paying for them. In the end, they're putting up a fair bit of their own cash and leaning on their friends to leverage costs - everybody inching a little closer to debt for one swell shindig.

One endearing solution may be the Pop-Up Wedding Chapel. The Drake recently aced the concept of a pret-a-porter wedding complete with venue, officiant, champagne, photographer, decor, bouquets or boutonnieres as needed, even live music. Nine happy couples got hitched at the easy-to-elope celebration just last June and it only cost them $600 each. So traditional love on a dime is doable if you're flexible on sharing your day (and bouquet).

That said, if you do end up spending too much on your wedding or those of your many cherished friends, take solace that a brekkie of pacifying avocado toast can do wonders for morale as you nurse a raging hangover. Be it financial or otherwise.

*If I was at your wedding or baby shower recently, it was completely worth it. I totally meant our other friends in this post. Plus, your baby and/or wedding is the exception and I'm Gen X so this isn't about us. At all.

Marc Beaulieu is a writer, producer and host of the live Q&A show guyQ LIVE @AskMen