How to save on being a wedding guest

Wedding season is upon us. Rosy-cheeked brides, nervous grooms, the smell of  thousands of dollars worth of floral arrangements is in the air.  But forget how much the couple is spending, we’re more concerned about your finances.

If you’re invited to tones of weddings this summer, don’t let it blow your budget.

Going to weddings can be expensive. Therefore, the first step in saving money as a wedding guest if you’re on a tight budget is…don’t be a yes person. You don’t have to go to your mailman’s daughter’s wedding. Really, you don’t. You should, yes, and  you’ll probably have a great time, but if you’re super strapped for cash and invited to five weddings this summer, sometimes, you’re just going to have to say “no” to one of the people who don’t mean as much to you. So if you feel comfortable doing so,  RSVP in the negative for those people to whom you aren’t so close.

For the weddings you do decide to attend, remember that the wedding itself isn’t the only party these days. Oh no, there’s all the parties leading up to the wedding including the engagement party, the wedding shower, and bachelor/bachelorette party. If you don’t feel comfortable saying no to the wedding, consider not attending at least one of the pre-parties. It will save you transportation and also having to buy a gift and contribute towards entertainment.

For example, I’m invited to a bachelorette party this weekend. The bridesmaid is renting a hotel room in downtown Toronto, going to dinner at a Summerlicious restaurant, buying t-shirts for all of us, going to a night out at a bar, buying the bride a gift card to a clothing store, and having brunch the next morning.

Oy vey!

That is some serious cash! I can’t afford all of it, so I told the bridesmaid that I would only be able to attend the night out at the bar, buy a t-shirt and contribute some to the gift card, but would have to skip the rest of the festivities. Thankfully, she’s not a bridesmaidzilla, and she completely understood.

Me at my friend's wedding last weekend–wearing a BCBG dress I bought on sale for $112 down from $350!!

For the actual event, the wedding itself, a gift can be the largest expenditure of the night. If giving a cash gift will put too much stress on your budget, consider buying something from the registry that is slightly cheaper. You could also buy one of the more inexpensive items on the registry, like a nice salad bowl, and then supplement it by adding in kitchen items, like wooden spoons and forks, that you find at a discount kitchen store, like HomeSense. You could also try adding a homemade gift.  For example, if you buy an inexpensive handheld mixer off the registry, you could add in two, beautifully decorated jars of homemade cake mix with instructions on how to bake it. You can find great homemade gift ideas on the Martha Stewart website.

Another way to save on attending a wedding is by transportation. Although you want to have a good time, taking a cab to and from the event might not be worth it. If you can carpool, and if not, assign your partner as a designated driver so that you can take your own vehicle.

And finally, although this may be a no-brainer…you do not, not, need that new $465 dress from BCBG (unless you can afford it). You can make one work all wedding season, especially if it’s in a neutral colour, by adding a blazer, making it strapless, adding a belt, switching shoes, and pairing it with bright accessories.

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