When it feels like everyone you know is getting married, it can be overwhelming on your budget. Whether you are invited to weddings of friends, family members, or co-workers, here’s how to stay on budget.
1. Make a Yearly Budget
How much can you afford to spend on weddings, parties, and gifts this year? Set a budget and stick to it. If your entire budget for the whole year is $600, then realistically, you may only be able to attend one or two weddings for the year, while still having money left over for other events and birthdays.
It is wise to divide your yearly budget by 12 and save up a little each month. This way you will have money set aside for a future wedding and the expense won’t be an unpleasant surprise to your budget.
2. It’s Okay to Say No
It is important to prioritize events in your life, especially if you are on a tight budget or schedule. As much as you might like your co-workers, you don’t need to attend every event they invite you to. This goes for friends you have grown apart from.
There is no need to explain that money is an issue. Instead, graciously decline, saying that you have another commitment that day but that you hope their day is an amazing one. It’s important to tell the couple no right away so that they can plan accordingly.
3. Remember to Count All the Costs
As a wedding guest, your costs aren’t just the gift you give to the couple. You also have to calculate associated costs like attire, travel expenses, babysitter costs, etc. You might only spend $50 on a gift, but a wedding can end up costing you $200 after you calculate all of the other costs.
If you are part of the wedding, your costs are multiplied, considering the costs of attire, alterations, make up, hair, and all of the wedding events you are required to attend, such as bridal parties or bachelor parties. Only assume the financial responsibility for close friends and family members if money is a concern.
4. Contribute to Group Gifts
Try to contribute to a group gift if you can’t afford to give a large gift by yourself. Not only will you save money, but you will help fund a gift the couple really wants rather than giving them something generic like a picture frame. This is an especially good idea for co-workers, since many people will feel obliged to give a gift but will want to save money.
5. DIY Gifts – Please Don’t
While DIY projects save a lot of money in other areas of your life, it is probably best to give a small amount of money or gift card rather than risking a handmade gift. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, like if you are extremely talented or the couple requests a handmade gift. My husband and I received a few handmade gifts for our wedding, and while we loved the thought, it was just not our style. We felt guilty getting rid of it, and we would have much rather had a thoughtful note from loved ones.