Happy wedding season! Anna has talked in detail about the high cost of being a bridesmaid, but there are also a ton of expenses built into even attending a wedding, especially if you’re included in the events leading up to the big day. Here are some ideas that won’t totally break the bank, but will get you through the party while making a big impression.
How to be a Wedding Guest for Under $100…
BRIDAL SHOWER: Keep it simple. Most brides having multiple gift-giving occasions aren’t going to expect elaborate or expensive stuff at every one. Fresh flowers are fool-proof, especially if you pick an unexpected bunch. This tutorial for cheap, easy, pretty arrangements is super helpful, and this post on arranging them is also great ($7-$12). If you want to give something a little more permanent, a delicate piece of jewelry like this bracelet (or simple stud earrings) is very sweet ($10). Etsy is full of awesome low-cost jewelry. And these Japanese porcelain bowls are just lovely ($8).
BACHELORETTE PARTY: If you also get roped into a bachelorette party, some cheap naughty panties or this cute little love potion ($4) (depending on the bride) might make a good gift.
WEDDING OUTFIT: I have to admit that I’ve had the instance of having nothing to wear to a wedding. Of course, that’s probably an indicator that I don’t have many dressy occasions in my life, and I should probably just try to borrow something. But if you have 20 weddings to attend coming up (they tend to come in bunches, huh?), having a go-to outfit isn’t a bad idea. You’ll get a lot of milage out of a flattering long-sleeved dress ($28) and cute metallic sandals ($15). I also love this dotty dress ($25) and pink suede heel ($30) for the color combo alone. Other favorite dresses under $30 I found include: graphic floral ($20), sweet print ($15), and long and elegant ($15). In general, ASOS is a great place to check for pretty dresses on sale, with the added bonus of free shipping.
BACHELOR PARTY: Do not go to Vegas. Hopefully, your wallet can get away with buying a congratulatory top shelf drink.
WEDDING OUTFIT: Guys can usually get away with a tucked-in shirt, nice pants, and a tie, because let’s face it–jackets come off by the time the dancing starts anyway. And if the tie is special enough, it can upgrade the whole look ($20). If you’re in need of some pants, some inexpensive options are charcoal (pictured, $31), gray ($20), dark chino ($29), slim ($33), or a fun spring color ($40). Check Etsy for cool dress shoes ($16).
This should leave you around $30 for a gift. Most couples register for specific things they want, so see if you can “claim” the lower-priced items as soon as you get the registry links. Or consider going in on a more significant gift with a friend. My college roomies and I pitched in to get one roommate a DVD player when she got married. If it’s totally up to you, here are some gift ideas that I love….Grey Works makes the most beautiful, quality cutting boards, and offers a few smaller versions under $40, like this maple footed platte ($25). This Swiss cross pillow is very cool ($27). And celebratory drinks will be all the more special for the new couple with a fancy metal ice tray ($30).
And maybe keep a few bucks on you to tip bartenders at the reception. ;)
Obviously, every wedding, its festivities, and couple are different, so please share your own ideas! How can you follow etiquette and be a part of the party while saving money?
Lauren Johnson is a filmmaker/producer living in West Hollywood who enjoys a great foreign thriller, leisure beers, and non-primary colors. She also runs the site LOCONCEPTS.