How to Financially Survive the Wedding Season Without Stressing Out
Research suggests that attending one wedding can leave you $500 lighter (spending on yourself, your clothes, the gift, and other miscellaneous expenses). And this does not include travel expenses in case you have to travel to another city for the wedding. While insurmountable expenses are inevitable for the couple headed into wedded bliss, for the guests attending the wedding, the day(s) can be saved. You are obviously going to have to shell out a few bucks for the gift, your attire, and the parties before and after, but these can be controlled significantly by one simple measure – planning! Head into the wedding season without a plan, and you won’t know what hit your savings. On the other hand, a little planning, even though it may end up with you going slightly out of budget, will keep you within spending limits and help you get through the wedding season financially. To make a plan, consider the following questions:
- How many weddings have you been invited to?
- How many weddings do you absolutely HAVE to attend?
- How many involve the same group of guests?
- How many people are you close to among the guests?
Why is this important you ask? So that you can prepare a budget, your wardrobe, choose a gift, and make travel plans accordingly.
Most of us end up spending a lot of money on clothes for the wedding of someone we may not be very close to. But there are ways in which you can look your best at a wedding without having to make a hole in your pocket. Consider the following factors when deciding on your outfit for the event.
- The Venue: This will decide whether you are going to wear a simple, light floral dress, or a designer cocktail dress; a pair of linen pants and a simple, light shirt or a formal suit, and how much you technically have to spend.
- Can You Repeat your Outfit at Multiple Weddings?: This is possible if the group of guests attending one wedding are unlikely to be present at another wedding. This makes it easier for you to repeat your outfit. (Of course, you may have to deal with being tagged in multiple pictures on Facebook in the same outfit.)
- Can you Borrow?: So if you know that the same group of guests will be attending, or if you can’t stand the thought of being tagged in the same outfit at different weddings, consider exchanging outfits with your friends so that you have something new to wear without having to spend much.
- Your Closeness with the Couple: You are expected to dress in a particular way if you are closer to the bride or groom or both of them. For a wedding where you aren’t so close to the couple, you may tone it down a little and save some bucks.
- Mix and Match: If you can fish out a good skirt and accessories, then all you have to do is find a good blouse. Or if you have a simple dress, you can jazz it up with a good belt and a nice pair of shoes. If you find the right jacket, you can get a good shirt and trousers to go with it. Sometimes even a good tie can make all the difference. If you can find even one item in your closet, it saves you that amount, and you get to sport a unique look at every wedding.
- How Good You are at Doing Your Own Hair and Makeup: This one is specific to women. If you aren’t good at it, learn from online tutorials. There’s no way you can survive the wedding season on a budget if you go for professional services all the time.
- Why not Rent Your Outfit?: If you can’t afford to buy a different outfit for different occasions, you don’t have clothes that you can mix and match, and you can’t wear the same outfit at different weddings, rent your outfit. You’ll find it at half the price as compared to retail stores, and can hence save a lot of money.
You just can’t go to a wedding without a gift. But there are lots of things that count as gifts and don’t cost too much. Try out these ideas.
- Rush to the Gift Registry: If the couple has signed up at a gift registry, try getting there as early as possible to get the good and the less expensive stuff for them.
- Chip in for a Bigger, Better Gift: This is why you need to know lots of other people who will be attending the wedding. Get together and buy a gift that will truly wow the couple! This way you don’t have to spend too much money, yet you get to give them a great gift!
- Make Something Yourself: If you are really close to the couple, and you know they will appreciate the effort, make something for them yourself. Use your knowledge or learn how to do it through the Internet, and give them your love and affection through your handmade gift.
- Offer your Help/Services as a Gift: If you think you can’t afford expensive gifts, offer to help the couple with the wedding arrangements and ensure that they know this is your gift to them. For instance, if you know people and can pull strings to get one of the many things they badly want for their wedding (such as a particular decorator, a band, or even an ice sculpture at a discount), this could be a perfect gift for them. Also, if you are involved in the planning, you can help save the couple’s and your own costs in certain areas, e.g. if it is a destination wedding, you can get bulk discounts by making bookings for the entire group.
This is when it can get real difficult. While some couples are generous enough to make arrangements for all their guests, there are some that can’t. In such a case, you’re left to fend for yourself. How do you make the most of this situation?
- Chip in for Bulk Discounts: Yet another reason knowing other people attending the wedding can help. Bigger bookings help get better discounts. It’s as simple as that.
- Be the Early Bird and Save: The sooner you make your bookings, the cheaper they will be. This may not be feasible for everyone, but if you can travel on an off-peak day, you can even save flight costs to a certain extent. Lots of websites offer packages at discounted rates which you can make the most of in the financially burdening wedding season.
- Stay with your Friends/Acquaintances: If you know someone in the place you are traveling to and who will willingly put you up for a couple of days, you my friend, have struck gold and saved a LOT of money. Of course, remember to repay your friend/acquaintance with a nice gift, or offer to do the same for them when they come to your town.