How to Survive Wedding Season Without Going Broke
A typical wedding costs big bucks for the happy couple (or their families), but can also add up for guests. A typical wedding guest spends $268 per event, while those going to a destination wedding on average will spend a minimum of $600, not including a gift. If your social calendar is full of wedding invites between now and the fall, these tips can help you enjoy the season with your finances intact.
Streamline Spending for Clothing, Accessories
When you're celebrating a friend or family member's big day, you want to look your best. But if you're trying to save money during wedding season, splurging on a new outfit for every event may not be doable.
What you can do, however, is create a go-to capsule wardrobe that you can change up for each wedding you attend. Pick two to three outfits — for example, one that works for casual outdoor weddings, another for more formal events — then find different ways to accessorize them to make them unique.
For women, that may mean swapping out shoes, jewelry, hats or purses. For men, it could mean wearing a different tie or belt each time, or mixing up your shirt and pants combinations. It's a simple, yet cost-effective way to handle attire without sacrificing style.
Set a Firm Budget for Gift-Giving
Expectations around gift-giving have evolved over the years. Some couples, for instance, may still opt for the traditional registry, while others may ask guests to contribute cash to a honeymoon fund.
Whatever the expectation for gifting, plan to stay within your budget. The average registry gift item costs $72, but you should factor in the number of weddings you plan to attend before deciding how much gifting you can afford for each one. Don't forget to include what you expect to spend on clothing, accessories and travel to the events. Then determine what you can afford to spend on a gift.
If you're feeling pinched, you can stretch your giving by organizing a group present with friends or family. Just make sure the amount you're each expected to contribute is comfortable for everyone's budget.
Other options for gift-giving including making personalized gifts for the bride and groom or offering your gift at a later date. (Note: Etiquette suggests delivering the gift to the happy couple within the two-month window following the wedding.)
Use Cash Back, Coupon Apps to Save
If you're planning to shop for wedding attire, accessories or gifts online, don't assume you're stuck paying full price. Cash back applications and websites, as well as coupon and deal sites, could reduce the total amount you pay out of pocket for wedding expenses.
Be sure to read the fine print before clicking on a deal, in case there's a minimum spending requirement you need to reach to qualify. And look for opportunities to combine cash back promotions with coupon codes to double up on savings.
Plan Carefully for Destination Weddings
If you're invited to a destination wedding, be candid about asking the soon-to-be-wed couple about what's included and what's not. If they're paying some or all of their guests' travel expenses, for instance, that could make it possible for you to attend. Otherwise, you'll need to be sure that you can afford to foot the travel yourself.
Other costs you may need to consider include accommodations, meals, local transportation and entertainment. However, you may not need to bring a gift. Some couples who plan destination weddings specify no gifts or make gift-giving optional to encourage guests to attend.
If you're bearing the burden of the full cost to attend a destination wedding, you might be able to save money on your accommodations by staying fewer nights, choosing a less expensive hotel or opting for an Airbnb rental with family or friends.
If you've added up the numbers and you still can't make it work for your budget, you can arrange for a celebratory drink or dinner with the happy couple closer to home.
Wedding Season Should Be Fun, Not Stressful
Wedding season is about making memories with friends and family as you celebrate their big day. Having to worry about your budget can take some of the joy out of the occasion. By putting a plan in place, you can get through the season with minimal financial headaches and optimal enjoyment.
All content provided in this blog is supplied by Rebecca Lake and is for informational purposes only. Barclays takes no position as to the views, and makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
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