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Wedding Season Survival Guide

In your twenties, it can seem like every weekend there’s another wedding to attend. Even the most money savvy people make it to the end of wedding season only to realize they spent a small fortune on gifts and travel expenses.

If thinking about gift registries and wedding showers sends you into a financial panic, this survival guide is for you. Find the budget friendly tips and wedding advice you need, like RSVP-ing no to your former college roommate’s cousin’s destination wedding, to survive wedding season- without going broke.

Wedding Events and You

  • Rule number one, don’t over commit. If you are invited to multiple weddings and wedding related events, make sure they fit into your schedule (and budget!) before you RSVP yes. You don’t want to find yourself spending hours in the car every weekend driving to different weddings.
  • If the wedding isn’t for a close friend or relative, it’s okay to say no, just make sure you RSVP. Don’t feel obligated to attend a wedding just because you received an invitation. Frequently, couples over-invite with the knowledge that some people will RSVP no.
  • Weddings are more than just the big day itself. Multiple events, like parties and showers, can be part of the same wedding. Choose to attend the events that are most important to you or the couple and don’t worry about presents for the events you didn’t attend.
  • Since weddings can include multiple events, it makes sense to include all the events in your gift budget. If you plan on giving a couple $100, you can divide it among the presents you buy for their various showers and their wedding day.  

Winning Your Wardrobe

  • Don’t buy a new outfit for each wedding or event you attend. Use wedding season as an excuse to clean out your closet and recycle some of your older clothes.
  • Never underestimate the power of accessories. Use scarves, ties, sweaters and more to turn your wardrobe staples into several fashionable, wedding-ready outfits.
  • Don’t want to wear something you already own? Try swapping outfits with one of your friends (preferably with a friend not attending the same wedding). Just remember to wash or dry clean the clothes before you return them.
  • Search the web for clothing deals. Online clothing rental sites and designer deal sites, like Rent the Runway and Rue La La, can help you find chic, designer clothes for less. Caution: before you rent or buy an outfit, make sure you know the website’s return policy!
  • If you know you have several weddings co;ming up in the next year, keep an eye out for store holidays and sales. Planning ahead and digging through the sale rack can help you score great deals on clothing.

Travel like a Pro

  • Even in-town weddings have a travel cost – gas! Snag a ride to the event with friends. Not only is carpooling good for the environment, it can also add up to major savings.
  • Book flights for out of town weddings early! Generally, tickets are their lowest one to four months before the travel date. Keep an eye on flight prices, or set up alerts, so you’ll know the best time to buy.
  • While many couples secure a group rate at a hotel for their wedding guests, it’s not always the lowest rate available. Check discount sites, like, to see if you can find a lower rate in the same area. Make sure to do your research before the group rate provided by the couple expires in case it is the lowest price available.
  • Many hotel rooms come furnished with two queen beds. Save money on your travel costs by sharing a room with a friend. You can even turn it into a slumber party by helping each other pamper and get ready before the wedding.
  • If you are invited to a destination or out of town wedding, make it more affordable by turning it into a vacation. Take some time off work and plan to spend a few extra days relaxing at the pool and thinking about how much you saved on travel costs.

Gift Giving 101

  • Do you have a group of friends going to the same wedding? Split one of the larger registry items between several people. Not only can you help the couple get one of their dream items, but you can also save some money by sharing the cost among friends.
  • When you get invited to a wedding, check the registry early to find something in your budget. As it gets closer to the wedding, the registry will get picked over and it will be harder to find something you want to buy for the couple.
  • There’s no rule that says you have to buy something on the gift registry. If you find an awesome, in-budget present at the store, or have a thoughtful and personalized gift in mind, buy it!  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
  • Do you have a special skill, like photography, calligraphy or graphic design, which the couple can use on their special day? Offer your services as an early wedding present.
  • According to etiquette, you have one year from the date of a wedding to give a present to the couple. If a gift isn’t in your budget this month, you can plan to buy it within the next year and still be a great wedding guest.