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How to Financially Survive the Wedding Season

Puja Lalwani Jan 12, 2019
How many times have you attended a wedding resenting the amount of money you have had to spend for it? But you can be happy for the couple entering wedlock, and with yourself for making it to the wedding on a budget. Yes you can indeed..
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 will have to shell out a few bucks for gift, your attire, and parties before and after, but these can be controlled significantly by 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 these 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?

This is important so that you can prepare a budget, your wardrobe, choose a gift, and make travel plans accordingly.

Is Attendance Necessary?

Bombarded with too many invitations? Choose the weddings you genuinely want to attend the ones you know you could give a miss. You don't have to feel guilty for missing someone's wedding.
Wouldn't you rather spend more on your buddy's big day than for someone you're not so close to? Just politely decline the invitation at the appropriate time so that the couple can make arrangements accordingly.

Dress Up or Dress Down

Most of us end up spending a lot on clothes for the wedding of someone we may not be very close. But there are ways to look your best at a wedding without spending too much. Consider these factors when deciding outfit for the event.
Venue: This decides if you wear a light floral dress, or a designer cocktail dress; linen pants and a simple, light shirt or a formal suit, and how much you spend.

Can You Repeat your Outfit?: 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.
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 get a good skirt and accessories, find a good blouse. Or you can jazz up a simple dress with a good belt and nice shoes. If you find the right jacket, you can get a good shirt and trousers with it. Even a good tie can make the difference. If you can find even one item in your closet, it saves you the amount, and get you a unique look.
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.

What about the Gift?

You 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 ideas given ahead.
Rush to the Gift Registry: If the couple has signed up at a gift registry, try getting there early  to get the good and the less expensive stuff.
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 Gift: If you can't afford expensive gifts, help the couple with arrangements and ensure they know this is your gift. For instance, if you know people and can pull strings to get one of the many things they badly want for their wedding (a particular decorator, a band, or an ice sculpture at a discount), this could be perfect.
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.

When the Wedding is Out of Town

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.
The best way to avoid getting hit unawares in the wedding season is to plan, and to save. You have to keep some amount aside if you know weddings are coming up and you just can't avoid them. Finally, don't let the expenses bog you down. Just go and have a good time at these weddings and give yourself a break!