Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times in a couple’s lives! You get to connect with old family and friends, celebrate new adult milestones and then there is the never-ending list of parties: engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, bachelor party, rehearsal dinner, wedding and post-wedding brunch. A new outfit for each of these events is a must, plus a gift and perfectly gelled nails. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party – but I think the endless list of celebrations has gone a bit overboard.
Anyone in the 20 – 50 age range completely can relate to the overwhelming feeling of “AHH I just spent so much money in one weekend!” Instead of analyzing why these events have become so expensive (and, some may say, out of control), I want to focus on some ideas and practices to help cut costs for these celebratory events!
How to Save Money When Attending Wedding Celebrations …
As a friend of a newly engaged couple, my advice is to feel free to pick and choose the events you attend. Just because you are invited to three or four events doesn’t mean you are obligated to go or give a gift at each event. Another way to save is to go in on a gift with friends. Instead of each spending $100 on one plate for the couple, each person can chip in $75 and get them that REI camping tent from their registry that they really wanted. They will use this gift and have you (plus others) to think of when they go camping. Sidenote: I also like giving practical gifts to couples. I have bought a cheeseboard, camping chairs, a yoga mat/bag combo and duvet cover/sheets for friends. While these things aren’t the cutest items on the registry, they are the most practical.
Recycling clothes, especially for ladies, is a great way to mix up your wardrobe and get the most out of that bridesmaid dress. I have worn bridesmaid dresses to weddings and cocktail events and re-wore the same nude heels for multiple summer events. I am lucky enough to have great friends who let me borrow a dress and then, even with dry cleaning, it still comes to $10 for a fancy event dress. You can’t beat that! It’s also easy to dress up a black dress for cheap with killer heels and jewelry. Or if you are wearing a favorite from your closet, treat yourself to a blowout for $30. This will make you feel beautiful and unique, but thrifty too since you didn’t splurge on that expensive dress.
My lovely cousin Alix had a bridal shower this summer and all the bridesmaids chipped in to get the decorations, make the food and create the party favors. We held the event in the maid of honor’s backyard (cost = $0) and borrowed tables and chairs from the local church. Besides food, drinks and decorations, the cost was minimal to the bridesmaids. The event was lovely. We had lights hanging from trees, chalkboard signs, a purple flower motif and pictures of the bride-to-be at different ages. It was such a joyous occasion and it was nice to stay within a budget for the bridal party.
Weddings are an exciting time and are always a great excuse to get together with friends and family to celebrate. I hope these ideas help you to think twice about spending so much on the plethora of parties related to weddings the next time you’re invited to attend the celebrations.
Do you have any tips to share on how you saved money when being part of a wedding party?
Meaghan lives in Washington, D.C. with her fiancé and her black Lab. She enjoys running, exploring new neighborhoods on her bike and trying new cuisines around town. She also enjoys mimosas and planning bridal showers!