How To Attend A Wedding Without Going Broke How To Attend A Wedding Without Going Broke Wedding bells are in the air as wedding season approaches, but money worries may be getting the way of your excitement. It can get costly, and not just for the hosts. For many, weddings mean scraping together money to afford everything from an outfit to wear to the perfect gift for the happy couple. According to Bankrate, guests attending the wedding of a close friend or family member spend $628 on average. Weddings can really add up which means your wallet could be in trouble. However, don’t fret! If you’ve got back to back weddings this season, there are plenty of ways you can cut costs without cutting corners. Preparing for Wedding Season Start the season off right by giving yourself a budget. Consider every wedding you are going to, where they are located, etc. Don’t try to stretch what you can’t afford. Be honest with yourself about what you have overall and then you can worry about what to spend for each individual wedding. Trying to budget for each wedding individually makes it easier to lose track of money and you may get yourself into debt. Consider everything from the obvious such as hotel arrangements to smaller things such as whether or not it is a cash bar. Once you have your budget, you can also start saving up for the events. If there are some you want to go to and feel you just can’t miss, save up a little extra so you have some more wiggle room. You should always work on your personal savings, but this can be a goal for you to have in mind. I would suggest keeping your savings account separate from your wedding guest fund. Having a specific number to work towards can make getting there much easier and give you the motivation you need to get there. Be honest with yourself about what you have overall and then you can worry about what to spend for each individual wedding. The Wardrobe There is no shame in not purchasing a brand new dress for every wedding you attend. Many dresses now can be worn in different ways, giving you the opportunity to have a new look for every occasion. Mix and match various shoes and accessories to help change the look even more. You should also check out your friend’s closets. Swapping clothes is a great way to get new looks without having to spend any cash. The same goes for shoes as well. You can also get old bridesmaid dresses tailored into shorter cocktail dresses. This way you will get more use out of them. Lodging and Travel Hotels can cost a fortune. If you have friends going to the same wedding with you, it may be a good idea to consider splitting a room with them. You could also look into cheaper options such as Airbnb or stay with a friend in the area. Sometimes even the hosts of the wedding will receive a discount on a hotel if they plan on staying over, check with the happy couple. The same goes for getting to the venue. Whether you are traveling out of state or going somewhere close, the costs can add up. Consider carpooling to the venue with friends as well. You can all split the costs for either gas or the Uber, whatever it may be. Consider carpooling to the venue with friends as well. You can all split the costs for either gas or the Uber, whatever it may be. Giving Gifts Gifts straight from the registry are often the most expensive ones. If you cannot afford them, there is no shame in giving what you can. They are called “gifts” for a reason, they are entirely optional. You should at the very least bring a card but there are plenty of other viable gift options other than expensive registry gifts. Shop around for the same gift just at other stores. You may get a better deal or have coupons that you can use. There is also no shame in giving the happy couple cash, a check, or a gift card to the store their registry is with. Your budget should include specific gift amounts for each wedding. Those you are closer with maybe you spend more on, but that is at your discretion. Remember, to stick to your budget when it comes to a gift you don’t want to be left paying a very expensive credit card bill for months just to impress whose getting married. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends money is tight; there is no shame in that. Salon services can cost a fortune. There are much more budget-friendly alternatives. Hair and Makeup Salon services can cost a fortune. There are much more budget-friendly alternatives. Local makeup brands such as Sephora offer to do your makeup when you purchase an item at a certain cost. There is also no shame in doing your hair and makeup yourself! Give yourself time to practice different looks and styles so you have time to get it right! There are plenty of DIY videos all over the internet for you to learn from. Pre-Wedding Festivities You may find you that you have to budget for other events such as the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends money is tight; there is no shame in that. It’s the thought that counts after all. This is where splitting up tasks and gifts with other people will go a long way. You can get them the expensive gift while still being budget-friendly. If it comes down to picking which events, you can go to there is no shame in that either, don’t be afraid to say “no”. When you financially overextend yourself, it takes away from the experience because you are thinking of that impending debt in the back of your mind. You’re not actually enjoying yourself and then it is just money wasted. What Happens if I Do Acquire Post-Wedding Debt? Sometimes debt happens! So long as you are living within your means and it does not get out of control, then it is ok. Debt doesn’t become an issue until it becomes unmanageable. If you have acquired debt now that all the weddings have come and gone, focus on that balance. It is a good idea to incorporate debt you accrued into your monthly budget. It’s easy to lose track of it but incorporating it into your budget forces you to pay it off in a timely manner. Look at the minimum payment you have and consider the interest rate. If you can afford to pay more than the minimum I highly encourage you to do so; you will pay off the debt sooner and save money on the interest. While you may want to go all out for a friend of family members wedding you have to keep in mind your own financial goals short-term and long-term. Expenses that come along with being a guest should fit into your budget and not interfere with your financial stability. Planning and budgeting accurately will keep you afloat during wedding season! Leslie Tayne Leslie H. Tayne has more than 15 years' experience in the practice area of consumer and business financial debt-related services. Speaker, Author of Life & Debt, Attorney and Founder of the Tayne Law Group, P.C., Leslie is working towards reshaping the debt industry by offering real, proven solutions to help her clients get back on the road to financial freedom.