Can you say weddings, weddings, weddings? All twenty-somethings know “that time” is coming, but it still manages to sneak up on you. All your friends start getting engaged and before you know it, you realize your weekends are going to be dominated by weddings for the next few years. I am just getting passed this stage. Things may be starting to slow down for me, but the past 3 years have been filled with weddings: 7-10 per year at least. I write this article after watching my good friend get married last weekend, with just three weeks to go before my sister’s wedding in Hawaii. I myself got married 2 years ago.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s been an amazing 3 years filled with joy, laughter, friends and family. All the memories I have with me are absolutely priceless and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. But to be brutally honest, it’s also been a very expensive 3 years. I know this first-hand from attending weddings, to being in them and even planning my own. For all the times you want to hear your friends say “I do” but your wallet is saying “don’t," here are a few budget-friendly tips to how to survive:
1. Plan ahead. If you know you’re attending a wedding and they have arranged hotel room blocks at discounted rates, book early! You always have the option to cancel a few days before, but if the room block fills up and you want to stay at the same hotel as the bride and groom, it’s likely that you’ll either wind up paying full price or--even worse--the hotel might be at full capacity. This tip also applies with your flights, making sure to book your flights as early as possible for the best deals. I’ve managed to save a great deal on flights using the Hopper app, which helps predict the best time to buy tickets and the cheapest dates to fly.
2. Make a trip out of it. If you’re invited to a destination wedding, consider also making it a vacation for yourself. We all love going on vacations and there’s nothing wrong with that! Wedding weekends always seem to fly by, leaving many invitees wondering if travelling the long distance or splurging on airfare is worth it, but if you have the opportunity to attend a wedding AND turn it into a vacation, you’re able to kill two birds with one stone! In some cases, hotels will extend the discounted room rate for several days before or after the wedding if you ask.
3. Get the look for less. It’s natural to want to own the moment, but do you need to own a closet full of black-tie dresses too? If you have multiple events that you will be attending and don’t want to be caught dead wearing the same dress you wore the month before, consider sites such as Rent The Runway where you are able to rent dresses, jewelry, handbags and more instead of constantly purchasing new clothes.
4. If you’re attending a wedding with a large group of friends, consider renting an Airbnb or VRBO house. You’re usually able to get a ton of space for a very reasonable price, but where you’ll be able to save big is by stopping at a grocery store to pick up necessities to eat and cook at the house. This way, you can save money by eating a few meals at home and then maybe splurging on one nice brunch or dinner. It’s also a lot of fun to be in a house with your friends to hang out in the living room and have a completely different feel than staying in a hotel!
A wedding invitation is a sign that the bride and groom consider your presence necessary in order to make their special day complete. As a guest, it’s your responsibility to celebrate and enjoy the moment with the happy couple-- which can be hard to do when you’re worrying about how much it cost to actually get you there. Soon after getting a “save the date” in the mail, use these tips to help you start thinking about how you can “save your money.” Prepare early, enjoy yourself later, and keep your fingers crossed for an open bar.
By Francine Lai
Investment Advisor Representative
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which course of action may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.
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