It’s spring time in the Valley. That means the Mesquite trees are blooming yellow, allergies are starting, and the weather is beginning to warm up. It also means your schedule is about to get very, very full. Soon you’ll start to get invitations to graduations from friends and family, and also wedding invitations. We all know a wedding is a beautiful event. It will be full of music, decorations, dancing, love, and of course free food and booze! The only thing is, weddings tend to cost a lot of money, and not just for the bride and groom! Here are some ways to survive wedding season without going broke this year.
1.) What to wear
Unless otherwise specified, weddings are a formal event. Formal clothing can start to get pretty pricey especially if you have more than one event to attend. Some things that can help you save some cash on your closet is to shop the sales! Look for sales not just in the high end stores, but the discount ones as well. Nordstrom Rack is a good place to start. Searching online can yield many options. If you don’t care about wearing a full dress, as long as you’re a guest, try wearing a nice skirt with a blouse. That way you can mix and match your wardrobe. Buy a dress that doubles as a professional work outfit. Buy something you’ll wear again. Bridesmaid dresses are notoriously hideous frocks you’d never wear again, but if you’re just on the guest list, shop for something sensible you’ll wear to another party, to the office, or even to another wedding where it will be a different crowd of people.
2.) Where to stay/ transportation
Usually, if the wedding is being held in another city, or a destination, the bride and groom will have a block of hotel rooms reserved for wedding guests. Just because the wedding party is staying at the Four Seasons, doesn’t mean you’re required to. If you want to go five star, go for it, but If you want to save some dough, check out the reserved rate. Usually hotels will extend a discount. If not, there are several hotel sites like hotels.com and even tripadvisor.com that offer discounts on rooms. Be sure to check these sites before booking. Once, I was driving through an unfamiliar town and it was getting late. Thanks to my smartphone, I was able to book a room at a nice hotel for the night for $30 less than it would have cost me to walk up to the main desk. Yay internet! Same thing goes for transportation if you’ll be flying out, or renting a car, be sure to look for deals online.
3.) How to gift
The old rule when choosing a wedding gift for a couple was “pay for your plate.” After all, you’re usually going to be getting a meal, a piece of cake, and at least a champagne toast to top it all off. This rule no longer applies. Many soon-to-be-married couples have their own unique needs in this day and age. They may have already been living together and/or getting married later in life and have all the toasters and cheese boards they can handle. Sometimes couples will register for one big thing like a honeymoon getaway that guests will contribute to if they feel like it. Other times the couple will request that donations be made to a charity. Every once in a while you’ll find the traditional registry, while other couples would rather have your presence than your presents. Whatever the arrangement, there are many ways to give a great gift on a budget without looking like cheapskate. One thing you may want to do is think in more sentimental terms. What about a Christmas tree ornament that has a place for a picture and reads “Our First Christmas”, or a beautiful picture frame that you got from Macy’s? Greeting cards with heartfelt messages are always appropriate. Find a bottle of wine from a local winery you know they’ll enjoy, or a case of craft beer. If the couple is just starting out, take a look at their registry, and pick a few smaller things, or get the items from Wal-Mart. Yes, Wal-Mart or Target. If you know where to look, stores like Wal-Mart have really stepped up their house wares game in the last few years. Why not fill a basket or a large colander with things that are often forgotten like salt and pepper shakers, whisks, cheese knives, nut crackers, measuring spoons and measuring cups? Believe me, the newlyweds probably weren’t thinking about pot holders when they registered, but it’s something they’ll be thankful that you did think of the first time they cook together. There’s really no wrong way to gift in this day and age. Even tickets to a local movie theater are acceptable. The couple will be more than happy just to know that you thought of them, and if you’re running late, cash or a gift card to a store like Bed, Bath, and Beyond are always good bets.
How do you save money during wedding season? Let us know below in the comments!