Should I pay $1000 for an opportunity to do the YMCA dance?

Is it worth it to go into a little bit of credit card debt to be in my old friend’s wedding? I am strapped at the moment and know I could decline the bridesmaid invitation and skip the wedding but I worry that she will offer to pay or that I’ll be sad in the end if I miss it. There will be a flight and a hotel too.

Yes! Go! Buy a dress that you’ll only wear once that costs more than all of your shoes put together. Then fly across the country to have your picture taken 4,000 times by a guy with a ponytail. You don’t get to spend any time with the bride, but you have to spend copious amounts of time with her sister, who never liked you.

This is exactly what you should be spending your money on. Not, let’s say, rent, or your phone bill, or a bank account where you can save money for the next time a friend asks you to be in a wedding.

So, no. It’s not worth it. If the wedding is at the Ritz in Dubai, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event but you’ll be in debt forever. You can’t afford that. If the wedding is at the Best Western in Topeka, it’s going to be a lot cheaper, but you’re going to be borrowing money to go on a vacation to somewhere unexciting when you can’t even afford to take a real vacation. (Sorry, people in Topeka.)

A couple exceptions: If you don’t have a lot of other debt, I say go if you can save enough money before the event to pay for at least half of it, and to stick to that spending and saving immediately upon your return home until you’ve quickly paid off the debt. Or, if she offers, let your friend pay for it and graciously thank her without hooing and haaing about paying her back. Then pay her back as soon as you can. If she wants you to be in your wedding, you’re close enough that it’s not a big deal to let her pay.

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