5 Ways to Save Money as a Wedding Guest
It’s wedding season, and that means a whirlwind of parties, events, and gift-giving, not to mention the actual weddings. If you’re invited to multiple weddings (or even one destination wedding), the costs can really add up. The good news is, you don’t have to go broke helping friends and family celebrate their special days. Here are several ways you can save money as a wedding guest.
Set a Budget — As with all spending decisions, one of the best ways to keep your wedding spending in check is to set a budget. It’s especially important if you have a number of weddings to attend in a short time span, and if one or more of them involves travel. Having a plan for how much you can spend will keep you on track and help you make good decisions. Try to avoid charging any wedding expenses on credit cards. If you do, make sure to map out a plan for how you will pay off that credit card debt quickly.
Choose One Outfit — Buying a new outfit for every wedding and wedding-related event will blow through your budget like wildfire. Buy (or find in your closet) one dress you love in a neutral color, then change it up with shoes, jewelry and bags. For a beach wedding, add flat sandals and boho jewels. A traditional, church affair might call for pearls and pumps, while a black-tie event is the perfect reason to break out your strappiest sandals and bring on the bling. Remember you’re the only one who’s going to know (or care) you’ve worn the same dress more than once.
Go Rogue on the Registry — Remember when conventional wisdom said the cost of your wedding gift should equal or exceed the amount the wedding couple spent on you as a guest? Fortunately, etiquette experts now agree that’s an outdated line of thinking. No one should be expected to give a wedding gift they can’t afford. If everything on the couple’s registry exceeds your price range, see if you can get in on being part of a group gift. And really, there’s no rule that says you have to buy off the registry. You can go the route of making a DIY gift, putting together a box of the couple’s favorite things (remember that sweet gift Annie made in Bridesmaids?), or giving them a gift card to their favorite restaurant for a relaxing dinner when they return from their honeymoon. With some creative thinking, the possibilities for a low cost, meaningful gift are endless.
Be Selective About Events — It’s not unusual for there to be multiple showers and other events both before and after the wedding itself. All that celebrating can end up being expensive. If you’re strapped for cash, be selective about which events you attend. There’s no shame in skipping wedding-related activities if doing so allows you to save money to be able to attend the wedding itself.
Say No if You Need To — Just because you’re invited to a wedding, doesn’t mean you have to go. Of course, you’ll want to make the effort to attend the nuptials of close family and your best friends. But if it’s someone you don’t know that well, or distant family you haven’t seen in years, don’t feel obligated to attend if it’s going to cause you financial strain. Simply send your regrets, along with your best wishes, and be done with it. Conversely, if you have already RSVP’d “yes” to a wedding and find yourself unable to make it, be sure to let the bride know so they can adjust their head count. It’s not fair for the wedding couple to have to pay for guests who don’t attend.