How to Survive Wedding Season ~ “Saving Money”
Written by Lindsay Ropella
Between family weddings and friend’s weddings, Eric and I will be pretty busy for the remaining summer weekends. And hey, you won’t find me complaining about it! Who doesn’t love a good wedding?!
But we all know that wedding season can get expensive. Especially if you are in your 20’s and 30’s and don’t only have a bunch of your cousin’s getting married, but tons of friends and coworkers as well. Before you know it you have 5 weddings, 4 bridal showers, 3 bachelorette parties, 2 bachelor parties, and a few weddings you’re even standing up in; all within a few months of each other. All of these gifts, party planning, attire, and travel can add up quickly.
So what’s a girl to do when you want in on all the fun but don’t want to go broke in the process?? Here are a few tips I came up with to hopefully make wedding season a little bit less painful on the pocketbook.
ONE | Create a gift budget and pick out the wedding gifts before going shopping.
It’s important to know how much you plan to spend on a wedding gift before even hitting up the stores. That way, you won’t be tempted to get to the store and do the whole, “how much should we spend? I don’t know, how much did xyz spend? I don’t know, this seems about right though, right?”
Knowing how much you plan to spend before even entering the aisles can help you to avoid spending an extra $5 here and $8 there, which adds up very quickly when you have 6 weddings to attend in the next 3 months. Also, if you can look up a registry online before going shopping that’s even better yet. Often times shopping in store can be super overwhelming and you end up just picking something so you can get the heck outta there. I’ve found that if I take 20 minutes or so to plan out a gift using the couple’s online registry, I am able to stay within budget much better and also can put together a gift that feels a little more cohesive instead of, in my haste, picking out 1 oven mitt, a bathroom scale, and a set of beer mugs…
Not sure how much is appropriate to spend on a wedding? Typical guidelines suggest that you spend equal to or more than the meal for your party will cost. You probably have an idea of how much a typical plated meal costs at weddings in your area, but if not, in the midwest a typical wedding chicken meal costs about $16 to $20 and steak is about $20 to $25. So if you and your husband both get the steak, your gift should cost around $40 to $50, if it’s a super close friend or family member you may want to spend a little more.
TWO | Never shop without coupons.
All that being said, I never buy a wedding gift without a coupon or some sort of discount. Just because their gift is worth $50 doesn’t mean that’s how much I have to pay for it. Always check to see if a couple is registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond or Kohl’s, because those are the places you’re going to want to focus on when it comes to shopping for wedding gifts.
Bed, Bath and Beyond always has their 20% off coupons that you can find in the paper or in their magazine. And hey, did you know coupons there never expire? I swear I just bought something with a 20% off coupon that says it expired in 2009. I hoard those things like a dog with your favorite high heels.
Kohl’s is another great place to shop for wedding gifts because they always have such great sales. If you are a member of their rewards program you even get coupons in the mail for anywhere from 15% to 30% off the sale price. Combine that with any Kohl’s cash you have saved up and you are practically stealing that wedding gift.
THREE | Shop early so that you aren’t left with
crap weird odds and ends on the registry.
We’ve all done it. You realize Thursday evening that you completely spaced out on picking up a gift for the wedding you’re attending Saturday afternoon. You run to the store and print out their registry, only to discover you have about 10 things to choose from and each item is only about $6.
This scenario always stresses me out because I don’t want to just buy 5 different types of serving spoons and call it a gift. Plus, you really don’t have very much control over the cost of the gift when you only have a few options left. Avoid this headache by shopping early.
Do I have our gift yet for the wedding we are attending this weekend? Of course I don’t. But do as I say people, not as I do…
FOUR | Buy a dress that is a little bit plain so that you can wear it again and again.
I know this tip is a bit of a downer, but it really can be one of the most cost-effective. I know that buying a new outfit (and shoes…there always have to be shoes) for each wedding is what ruins our wedding budget. This season, I’ve opted to buy one or two dresses that are very pretty but not too bold in color or print so that I can combine them with many different pieces to get very different looks. I mean, I don’t wear the same dress to two weddings on the same side of the family that are within a few weeks of each other, but you get the idea.
In the next few weeks I will actually be sharing one of the dresses I bought for wedding season, styled two very different ways, so keep an eye out for that coming soon.
FIVE | Plan ahead and start saving early.
These days people start planning their weddings well in advance. It’s not uncommon to get a save the date in the mail 9 or 10 months before the actual wedding. Use this to your advantage. Is your sister-in-law going to have a destination wedding in June next year, and two of your best friends are getting hitched in July? First of all, I’m sorry. Second, you know that that is going to be a super fun but super expensive summer, so start saving now if you can.
Set a certain amount whether it be $20 or $100 and start saving that every month until the weddings. Any little bit you have saved will make you feel that much more comfortable when wedding season hits full swing.
What money saving tips do you have for wedding season?? Let me know in the comments below!
Also, if you would be interested in a “Surviving Wedding Season” post on how to actually get through all these events without pooping our early or passing out in the parking lot, let me know! That would be a really fun one to write. ;)
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