It’s wedding season, everyone you know is getting married and—surprise!—you’re invited to all of them. The wedding season stress is very real. I’ve had some friends attend up to seven(!!!) weddings in one year. My personal record has (just) been three, thank goodness.
Attending all of those weddings can be fun: dinner, dancing, drinks and, of course, getting to celebrate your closest friends or family members joining forces with their boo to become one. However, attending all of those weddings certainly get expensive, which could lead to some financial strain. I spoke with consumer finance expert, Kevin Gallegos, to get tips on how to budget for multiple weddings and avoid all the stress that comes along with them.
The best thing to do if you’re on a budget, according to Gallegos, is to find out where the couple has registered as soon as possible, then get online or go to the brick-and-mortar store and select a gift immediately. He said, “Shopping early assures the best selection—and one that fits your budget.”
Go off the registry
If the items in a wedding registry are a little out-of-reach, budget-wise, you might want to skip it all together. While registries can be very helpful, remember that it’s not mandatory to buy a particular wedding gift from the registry. “If you find an item on the registry you wish to give, it’s possible to search for the same or similar product at a lower price either online or at other stores (this may be particularly appropriate for appliances, for example),” said Gallegos. However, if you do decide to purchase your gift this way, make sure to contact the store where the couple registered and ask them to note that the item has been purchased.
Give a group gift
Again, there are no rules about each gift being from one person only, so this is a good way to remain within your budget while also getting a more expensive item. If you know other people who will be attending the wedding, or are friends of the couple, talk to them about sharing the cost of a gift. “Along with items listed on the registry, splitting costs on a couple’s spa package or dinner at an upscale restaurant can make a gift most couples will appreciate,” said Gallegos.
If the budget is tight, try something more personalized for a gift. If you’re good at a craft—and keep it one hundred with yourself here—Gallegos said, “consider creating a photo album or collage (try enlisting their family members to get photos from years ago), or even write a heartfelt letter telling the couple why you think the two make a perfect match.” Don’t be afraid to use Pinterest for ideas on things to craft as a gift. You’d be surprised at how many beautiful, handmade ideas you can find. It’ll also probably create a greater impression than a toaster or set of towels ever could.
This might be a tough one for those of us (okay, me) who love putting together *new* outfits for every big event they attend, but when you’ve got a few weddings to attend in a short amount of time, you’ll have to be practical. Sorry. “Shop for the couple, not yourself,” said Gallegos. “Think carefully before buying a dress or suit you’ll wear only once to the wedding.” Ladies, remember that it is possible to dress up even the simplest dressed with jewelry or other accessories, which means that you can totally wear the same thing to multiple weddings by changing your jewelry, clutch or shoes.
If you need to travel to a wedding, do some research to try and find out about discounted prices for flights, hotel accommodations and car rentals. One way to do this, according to Gallegos is to register for travel email alerts, “to learn of any deals from airlines and rental car companies during the times you’ll need to travel.” For example, websites like Kayak and Expedia help find lowest prices on hotels, rental cars and airfare.
Splitting the bill can be a great way to save some cash. A few of my friends and I who are attending a wedding this September are actually carpooling and sharing a hotel room. If you’re attending a wedding solo and don’t already have a travel partner for an out-of-town event, you can try asking the bride or groom if they know other single attendees who might be interested in sharing costs for a rental car or hotel room. This way, you can save money of travel and and accommodation expenses, and maybe even have yourself a fun road trip with old—or new—pals!
Main image via Etsy