The refrigerator is covered with Save the Date’s and wedding invites, which means wedding season is here yet again. It’s the time of year filled with love, celebrations…and ultimately expenses. From the moment you receive the save the date, it is time to be realistic with your finances and set a budget for each wedding. Typically, you only think of the bride and groom setting a budget. But, with today’s weddings it’s becoming necessary for everyone involved. When setting your budget you will need to consider; your level of involvement in the wedding, relationship to the couple and distance to the wedding, as these factors will affect the amount of festivities that you will be invited to or expected to attend.
- Travel – If you are having to travel out of town for the bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette party, and/or wedding try to find a low-cost lodging option. Obviously, family or friends would be the ideal and free option, but that’s not always an option especially with the trend of destination weddings. Sharing hotel rooms with others, renting a home and splitting multiple ways, or utilizing discounts will decrease your out of pocket costs.
Attire –Be upfront with the bride or groom in the beginning about your financial situation, and budget ahead so you are prepared. Bridal party attire alone can be several hundred dollars. If you know you’re going to be paying for wedding attire, alter your everyday budget the months leading up to the wedding to account for the added expenses. Look for online discounts or coupons to use when purchasing/renting your attire, every little bit helps! If you’re a bridesmaid; hair, nails and makeup are another added expense. As fun as it is to have a day of pampering leading up to the big day, how is your budget looking at this point? Be realistic on which ones you are able to do yourself and splurge where you aren’t as confident. If you’re not in the wedding and but are still attending, utilize clothing you already own to save money. For women, you can mix up the accessories you typically wear with an outfit to give it a fresh new look.
- Parties – In today's wedding scene, there seems to be multiple showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, rehearsals, post wedding brunches etc. Be realistic. Of course, you love the bride and groom and want to celebrate the big day with them, but you also need to ensure you are not setting yourself up for long term financial hardship by doing so. Communicate with the couple if time away from work is an issue. If you are able to attend all of the festivities, don't feel as if you have to take a gift to each party, taking a heartfelt card instead is always a great option.
- Gifts – Decide ahead of time if you’re planning to take a gift to each party that you’re attending or if you’re purchasing one main gift that’s all encompassing. With registries there are typically items for all price ranges, pick what fits into your budget, and stick to it. If purchasing online, look for coupons to utilize and try to find free shipping and order you’re shower and wedding gifts together with the discount codes. Another cost saving option is DIY gifts. The personal touch will be appreciated and then you don’t have to worry about somebody else having the same gift as you. Whichever way you choose, stay firm to your budget and remember to account for the other costs you will have associated with the wedding.
Since the expenses typically are spread out over a few months, it is easy to lose track of how much you’ve been spending on each wedding you’re involved with. Keep documentation as you go. This way, as it gets closer to time you’re aware how much you have left in your budget to spend for the actual weekend. Food/drinks, transportation, and gratuity during the weekend of a wedding can quickly add to your budget. Make sure you set aside a discretionary amount for unexpected costs such as parking, money for the Dollar Dance at the reception, or a late-night snack after the reception. After all, you want to enjoy the wedding and celebrate with the happy couple, their big day will only happen once.