For those of you in your mid to late twenties, this title needs no further explanation. For everyone else, let it be known that wedding season is upon us. And if we didn’t know it by the photos on Facebook, we would know it by looking at our bank accounts.
The fact of the matter is that weddings are expensive, even for the guests. From the bachelorette party, to the wedding shower(s) (yes, people have more than one now days), to the hotel and wedding gifts, to the hair and makeup, it all adds up fast. And it is even more expensive for out of town weddings or if you’re part of the wedding party. In an effort to make this wedding season manageable, here is a list of tips to help you stay on track financially this wedding season.
10 ways to survive wedding season without going broke:
1. Give creative, meaningful gifts
Instead of giving a monetary gift or a gift from the registry, think of a gift that is less expensive but more meaningful. Anything personalized or sentimental is a good idea, and websites like Etsy.com and Pinterest are great places to start. And try shopping discount stores for fun bachelorette party gifts instead of name brand.
2. Don’t over commit
If there are too many events for one wedding, commit to the important ones and skip the rest. For example, maybe you can afford to go to the out of town wedding, but you can’t afford to go to the out of town bachelorette party. Your friends or family should understand, just make sure you respond and are honest upfront.
3. Share expenses
If you’re going out of town, share a room to save half the cost of a hotel. Or, get a handful of people together and get one big wedding gift.
4. Do it yourself when it comes to beauty
Intentionally say no to the extras wherever you can. Do your own hair, nails, and makeup for all the weddings you attend. There are great YouTube videos on hair and makeup that can help you look great without spending the money.
5. Don’t buy a new dress
Instead of buying a new dress for every wedding, borrow a dress from a friend, rent one from Rent The Runway, or re-wear a dress you already own.
6. Shop sales and outlets
Wedding season is the same time every year, so make sure to look for sales on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, where you can get gifts for a lot less. The same goes for outlets. If you live near any outlets, make a trip and get all the gifts you’ll need for that wedding season at one time at a discounted price.
7. Plan ahead and compare prices online
Don’t wait for the week before the wedding to get a gift. Plan ahead and compare prices online, using sites like Amazon, to make sure you get the gift at the least expensive price. You can still get an item off the registry from somewhere else if it’s cheaper, just make sure to include a gift receipt.
8. Research hotel and airfare options
If you have to travel for a wedding or any wedding activities, check out discounted deals online for hotels and airfare. Just because one hotel is listed on the invitation, doesn’t mean you have to use that hotel. And avoid traveling during peak travel times to get the best deal.
9. Say “no” without feeling bad
Weddings quickly become an affair to keep up with the Joneses. Try sticking to your personal financial plan and say no to weddings or wedding events that are outside your budget. The more you say no, the less guilty you’ll feel. And your friends should understand.
10. Use a wedding budget
To keep your spending inline, create a wedding season budget and plan what you’ll spend for the entire season. Your budget should include the wedding gift, travel to and from the wedding, hotel stays, wedding attire, pre-wedding activities, such as bachelorette parties and bridal showers, and anything else. Knowing what you’ll spend on weddings ahead of time will help you stay on track.
Photographed above is a high school friend of mine who got married in August 2012 in Montana and had her bachelorette party in Texas. I could only swing the wedding and she totally understood! Do you have any money saving tips for wedding season?