Wedding season is now in full swing! From finding the perfect outfits and gifts to traveling to a destination wedding to celebrating the big day with family and friends, the costs can definitely add up fast. Whether you’re a bridesmaid, family member, or plus one, many guests often find themselves feeling pressure to do more than makes sense for their wallets. Not to mention, it can also be tough to say no, as no one wants to disappoint the bride and groom. With this in mind, we collected five tips to help you show up in style during the wedding season — all without maxing out your budget.
1. Check your calendar. This year, you’ve been invited to more weddings than you thought you had friends. Before sending in your RSVP card, gather all the invites, see if any dates conflict, and highlight which weddings will require travel, bachelorette parties, showers, and more. Getting a sense early on of where you need to be and when will help you not only plan travel, but also think through the other hidden expenses and how you can fit them into your budget.
2. Create a checklist (and budget!). How much is airfare to that destination wedding? Where will you stay? Asking these questions early on and making a list of inevitable expenses (like Champagne and bachelorette party decor) will help you come up with creative solutions to help keep you on budget. If the wedding requires travel, check out discount sites and price out the cost difference between attending solo or with a plus one. Also, consider alternative accommodation options, such as Airbnb, with other friends or couples. You can also lower the cost of food by keeping the fridge stocked with snacks and drinks.
3. Mix and match your wardrobe. From barbecues to black tie affairs, weddings and the events surrounding them often require multiple outfit changes. So, spend some quality time in your closet, and consider taking a cue from Kate Middleton, who has been seen in the same frocks multiple times. If the Duchess can do it, so can you! Friends are also a great resource to borrow a dress or accessorize a favorite outfit in a fresh new way. Before you head to the mall, check out online consignment stores such as ThredUp for dresses. Or consider renting designer dresses and accessories from Rent the Runway, another potential source of wedding fashion inspiration that won’t break the bank.
4. Be honest about your role in the wedding party. It’s an honor to be asked to be part of your friend’s big day. As a part of the wedding party, you get a front row seat to all of the action, but the flip side is that there are often more commitments — especially ones that come with additional expenses. So, if you’re on the list to stand by the bride or groom, share any hesitancies you might have early on. Suggest hosting a bachelorette party close to home or go in on a group gift with the other bridesmaids. You may also consider a DIY gift, or tap Etsy for creative and inexpensive ideas for bridal shower decor and hostess gifts. Tossing out these ideas early and starting these conversations with your fellow bridesmaids will help you be an active and involved bridesmaid without popping a Champagne cork right through your wallet.
5. It’s okay to take a pass. If all this “I do” talk is still making you sweat, consider taking a pass and owning it. You don’t have to do it all! Forgo the plane ticket and hotel rooms, and instead, opt for a nice gift. The expense will still be just a fraction of what you would have spent. Send a personal note with flowers, a candle, or a spa gift basket to help the bridge and groom relax after all the hubbub. It can arrive on the wedding day or the day before, or set it up for delivery on their honeymoon. Either way, your creativity and thoughtfulness amid the blur of festivities will make them smile.
Regardless of where you net out with your budget this wedding season, remember that weddings are supposed to be a celebration. So, grab your calendar, talk to your partner or spouse, and think about what makes the most sense, given your other plans and goals. Doing so will help amp up the fun factor before, during, and after the happy couple walks down the aisle.
Do you have any other tips on how to survive wedding season? Let us know @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty)