Have you gotten to a certain age when it feels like everyone you know is getting married? I’ve personally been through two phases of this. When I was 26, I went to eight weddings in one calendar year. This year, I’m 30 (almost 31) and I’ll be attending four weddings. One of those is my own! These life events are wonderful and a lot of fun, but they can also cost a whole lot of money. So how can you celebrate your friends and family while not blowing your budget completely?
1. Plan It Out
Find out when your friends and family members are getting married and mark it on your calendar. Figure out how much time you have to plan and save for the wedding. Next, find out if you’ll be invited to any pre-wedding parties, like a bridal shower or bachelorette party. Put those on your calendar as well so that they’re always on your radar. Forgetting about a wedding or party is a guaranteed way to be stressed and end up overspending.
2. Prioritize Events
There are lots of events when it comes to weddings. Engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, and then the wedding itself! If travel is involved, these can really add up. Plus, many of these events also include a gift. So start prioritizing; you don’t have to go to every single event if it doesn’t fit in your budget. You also don’t have to go to every wedding you’re invited to. It can be awkward to send a “no” RSVP, but if that’s what’s best for you, do it. If you have an old friend you haven’t spoken to in years, it may not make sense to fly across the country to attend their wedding.
Personally, I have many friends who don’t live anywhere near where I’m getting married. I’m inviting them to my bachelorette party and my wedding, but I’m letting them know that there is no pressure to attend both. Your good friends will be understanding.
3. Create a Wedding Guest Budget
Decide how many wedding events you’ll be going to. Figure out how much it will cost to attend them. Make sure to include travel costs, hotel stays, gifts, clothing, etc. From there, calculate how much money you would have to save each month to have the amount you need when the wedding date comes. If you don’t think you could possibly save that much money each month, what do you need to do instead? Are there events you can skip? Can you take on a side hustle to bring in extra income?
4. Start Saving
Set up a savings account that is specifically for these wedding expenses. This will make it easier to keep track of how much you’re saving. It is also an easy place to pull the money from once you need it. From there, start saving money every month. The best way to make sure you’re doing this is to automate your savings. Set up direct deposit through your employer, or set it up so your bank automatically transfers money on payday.
5. Do Group Gifts
If you and your friends are traveling for a wedding, consider going in on a gift together, rather than everyone buying something separately. This can save money, but it can also allow you to get your friend something meaningful that you wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. Many online registries will allow folks to contribute a certain amount of money to larger ticket items, rather than one person buying the whole thing. There’s no shame in that!
Wedding season comes with a lot of pressure. It can feel like you’re a bad friend if you have to miss a wedding or buy a more affordable gift. But that’s not the case! We all have limits, and our friends should understand that. So be honest, and set your priorities for the year. You’ll thank yourself later.
Maggie is a Certified Financial Education Instructor and financial coach for women. She founded Maggie Germano Financial Coaching with the mission to provide women with the support and tools they need to take control of their money and achieve their goals. She does this through one-on-one coaching, monthly Money Circle gatherings, writing, and workshops. Follow Maggie on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and join her Money Circle group! For more information, or to contact Maggie directly, visit her website.
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