How to survive the wedding season (on a budget)
Thursday, 7 May 2015
You're delighted for your newly-engaged friends.
But all of the shower invitations, wedding parties and gifts also will require a big outlay of cash — yours. Attending one out-of-town wedding can easily cost a guest hundreds of dollars. But if you're the bridesmaid, you can expect to spend several hundred more on the outfits.
And if the invitations are piling up, you can face some challenges staying on your budget and being a good guest and friend. But just as budget-conscious couples find ways to curb costs for their big day, wedding guests can find creative ways to keep their finances in line.
How to save on wedding gifts
Figure out your budget for the gift. It's a widespread notion that etiquette dictates a guest should spend as much on the gift as the hosts spend on each wedding guest. That is a myth. According to the arbiter of etiquette, the Emily Post Institute, it's perfectly okay for you to set a budget, based on what you can afford.
Check the couple's gift registry early. There will be a better chance you'll find one of the less expensive items on the couple's list - perhaps the $30 ceramic pie plate rather than the $250 espresso machine. And, see if you can find an item at a discount, perhaps with the help of a store coupon or promo code. (You can find promo codes by using sites like RetailMeNot and Brad's Deals. If you check the registry early,
Considering chipping in with friends. It's also acceptable to pool your money with friends to purchase the newlyweds a bigger group gift.
Offer your time or a homemade gift. Newlyweds who like to experiment in the kitchen might appreciate a cookbook you put together with your own well-loved family recipes. Or, perhaps you can offer the gift of house-sitting or cat-watching while the couple honeymoons.
Regift — carefully. Have a wedding gift of your own that never left its box? It's OK to give it to the happy couple — as long as the item is in mint condition, you believe they'll enjoy it, and you're sure it didn't come from the recipients or friends who will notice.
How to save on clothes
Accessorize. A classic, elegant black dress can look very different with the right accessories. Rather than buying a new outfit for every nuptial event, consider freshening up the same dress or two with new jackets, shawls or scarves and different jewelry.
Consider alternatives to buying new. Scour the racks at thrift shops and consignment shops that carry high-quality clothing. Renting also is very popular. A shop like Rent The Runway offers lots of designer dresses — bridesmaid dresses are available there, too.
Swap outfits with a friend who's going to different weddings.
Find one great pair of dressy heels. Opt for a beautiful pair that can be worn with many different dresses and outfits. Not only won't you break the bank, but you'll ensure that the shoes will be broken in and comfortable.
Ways to economize on wedding travel
Shop around for lodging. If you don't need to stay in the same spot as other guests, you may be able to find a rate that is less expensive than the hotel the couple recommended.
Save on airplane or train fare by book far in advance. Also travel off-peak hours and use frequent flier miles.
Pack light. Save on airline baggage fees by carrying on.
If the destination is a road trip away, drive with friends and split the costs of gas and tolls. You'll have a better time traveling together, anyway.
Just as brides and grooms pare their guest lists, you also can pick and choose which parties to attend. An invitation isn't a draft notice. Of course, your attendance is required if a close friend is getting married, but if you truly can't afford to travel for the engagement party or the shower, be honest with your friend. She'll likely understand and be even more grateful when you attend the big day.
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