When you get invited to multiple weddings in a year, first there’s the excitement of celebrating with many people you love. Then you realize that attending all those occasions will cost you a bundle, and maybe your friendship if you can’t afford to go.
Chances are, you’ll also get invites to other gatherings for the couple, like bridal showers or bachelor/bachelorette parties. Fellow Nerd and wedding-goer Gail Blachly says you should focus on attending the ceremony.
“When you’re being invited to a good number [of wedding-related events] in a given year, and you’re trying to figure out where to prioritize your money, your time, everything else — the most important event for you to be at is the wedding. That’s pretty much the only thing you need to budget for, in my mind,” she says. “And make sure you’re open and honest with the bride or groom so they can accommodate based on what decision you make.”
Making multiple weddings affordable
In a recent NerdWallet survey of more than 1,700 wedding guests, almost half said they will attend two or more weddings this year. Here’s how they (and you) can save money so you can accept all or most of your invitations.
- Make a budget so you have an idea of how much you can afford to spend for the entirety of wedding season.
- Find one or two outfits you can rock for all the weddings. Accessories are your friend. [GIF]
- Go in on a wedding gift with others you know attending the event. [GIF]
- If you don’t know anyone to split a gift with, create a personal (and inexpensive) present for the couple. Even putting together their favorite snacks and drinks that they can enjoy during their honeymoon is thoughtful (and low cost). [ GIF]
- Start saving up your credit card and loyalty club reward points to cover the cost of travel and lodging. [GIF] You might be able to use points earned from travel for earlier weddings to help with later ones.
- Make sure you know if you’ll need to pay for food or drinks (sadly, not all weddings have an open bar or a full meal). Set a limit for yourself so you don’t wake up with a tapped-out wallet the next morning. [GIF alt GIF]
Paying for bachelorette or bachelor parties
In our survey, 36% of wedding guests have been to three or more bachelor/ bachelorette parties. If you have several gatherings to go to as well, here’s how you can get financially ready to toast the bride or groom to be.
- Spend less on the gift. Almost 82% of those we surveyed will spend $100 or less on a wedding gift if they’re also attending another nuptial event, like a bachelorette or bachelor party.
- Be prepared to say no if estimated costs go above the amount you’ve determined you can spend. Almost 18% of those we surveyed plan to spend $501 or more on the costs associated with attending a bachelorette or bachelor party.
- Get involved in the planning. The best way to make sure you can afford the party is to take the lead on planning. You’ll have control over how far you have to travel, where you stay, how long you stay for and what special activities take place. These are the most costly factors in a bachelorette or bachelor party.
- Start saving ASAP. The minute you accept an invite to a bachelorette or bachelor party, buckle down on your budget. Create a special fund that will cover all your wedding costs and start putting as much as you can afford into it. This way, you’ll avoid having to come up with a large amount on short notice.
Maintain those important friendships by incorporating these guidelines. By doing so, when those multiple invitations start arriving, it will feel like a feasible bounty as opposed to a financial bother.
NerdWallet conducted a national online survey of 1,775 randomly selected Americans ages 18 and older on July 22-24, 2015, via SurveyMonkey. Respondents were 52% female and 48% male. All respondents have attended a wedding in the last year or will attend one this year.
Heather Yamada-Hosley is a content strategist at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Curious_Heather.
Image via iStock.