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How To Survive Wedding Season–Without Busting Your Budget

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” (Proverbs 17:17, NLT)

It’s wedding season! You’ve probably got a few dates circled on your calendar for weddings to attend this summer. It’s fun and exciting, but the costs can really add up. Wondering how you can be there without wrecking your finances? These simple tips can help you enjoy a worry-free wedding season!

  • Plan ahead. As soon as you get that “Save the Date” card in the mail, start planning. Is the wedding within driving distance, or will you have to fly? Will it be casual or formal? Are you going to be in the wedding party? To get your finances ready, study your budget and put away as much extra cash you can into savings.
  • Rent, borrow, accessorize. If you’re attending multiple weddings in one season, you’ll need to make your clothing dollar stretch. The easiest way to save money is by repurposing a basic outfit you already own with different accessories. Don’t own (and can’t borrow) anything suitable? Try an outfit-rental service like Rent The Runway or Lending Luxury.
  • Getting there. Travel costs can be a deal-breaker for the frugal wedding guest. Explore all your options before sending your regrets. Do you have any credit card reward points you can use? Credit union members are eligible for discounts on travel. Can you fly in and out on a weekday? Those flights often have cheaper tickets and usually aren’t as full. If the wedding is close enough, you might be able to save by riding a bus or train. Go with a group of friends and make the ride part of the celebration!
  • Get comfortable. If you’re traveling, you’ll probably need a place to stay. Some couples reserve blocks of hotel rooms for a lower rate. If you don’t mind sharing, book a room with a friend or two. You probably won’t be spending much time there anyway! Other options can help you save even more. Try short-term rental sites like Airbnb or Vrbo to find a room with a local host. For a more informal arrangement, Couchsurfing links hosts and guests worldwide for free.
  • Give what you can. If the couple has registered for gifts, check it out early to find something in your price range. Or go in with a couple of friends to buy a larger gift. Shop around to see if you can find the registered item at a lower price elsewhere. Of course, you don’t have to buy from the registry. Often, a gift that’s handmade or has a personal touch (like a photo collage or piece of art) will be just as memorable.
  • Member of the wedding. If you’ve been asked to be in the wedding party, talk to the bride or maid of honor about your duties. Let them know that you’re on a budget. You can get creative and suggest lower-cost options for bridal showers and bachelorette parties. If the bride has her heart set on seeing her attendants in costly designer gowns or the maid of honor insists on a bachelorette party at a country retreat, it’s okay to bow out gracefully. Just be honest and give them enough time to find someone else.

Going to a friend’s wedding doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget. Plan ahead, know your limits, and stick to them. And if you can’t attend every event, that’s okay too. Plan a special get-together with the happy couple later and enjoy some quality time away from the crowd.

This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation. Christian Community Credit Union is an Equal Housing Lender.

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