The warm weather is finally here!  And with it, wedding season.  As if summer wasn’t enough of a budget killer, it seems like everyone is trying to sabotage your summer vacation plans and fill your weekend with their own wedding celebrations.  These expenses can get completely out of control, between the engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelor(ette) parties, and the wedding itself, we are spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on other people’s big day.  And this doesn’t even address the additional cost of being a part of the wedding.

While we love celebrating with friends and family, it can really take a toll on our finances, but it doesn’t have to!  Here are our tips for staying financially fit during wedding season:

1.     It’s okay to say no.  For women, being in wedding is a big financial ask.  In addition to all of the usual expenses, you also have to buy a dress and help pay for the bridal shower and bachelorette party (sometimes). You are also on the hook to pay for all the travel expenses associated with the wedding events.  In addition, you have to take off time from work, and if you don’t have the vacation days saved, then that’s more money lost.  If you can’t afford it and you wouldn’t ask this person to be in your wedding party, politely decline.

2.     Don’t give gifts for every event.  It’s kind of ridiculous that you are expected to give an engagement gift, a bridal shower gift, and a wedding gift.  Now people are even chipping in on a bachelorette party gift.  Just because someone else chooses to have four parties to celebrate their nuptials doesn’t mean you are required to pay up for each one. 

3.     Don’t attend every event! In conjunction with tip #2, you don’t have to go to every event, especially if they require you to get on a plane.  People understand it’s difficult to get the time off and they don’t expect you to rework your entire schedule to accommodate their celebrations (except in the case of extreme bridezillas).

4.     You have a year, use it.  If you are strapped for cash, remember you have an entire year to give a wedding gift.  You’ve probably fronted a bunch of money to cover travelling expenses, hotel stays, and all the events leading up to the actual wedding day so your budget might feel a bit tight. Use a few months to get back on track and actually save money!  Then you can worry about sending a gift.  It’ll probably be a nice surprise for the couple and remind them of how great the wedding was!  No one is ever offended by a late gift.

5.     Gift responsibly.  We all know that the wedding gift registry is filled with reach gifts.  When you do get around to giving the gift, don’t overspend, choose something within your budget.  It truly is the thought that counts and a well-meaning card with whatever gift you can afford should mean just as much as that $500 crystal vase.

Overall, weddings are going to be costly no matter what.  Following these tips will make you think twice before saying yes to every event.  You need to be smart about how much you spend and make sure your budget can handle the expense.  If you’re not already married you probably want to be setting aside that money for your own wedding instead of spending it on someone else’s.