With wedding season well and truly upon us, it’s not surprising that most of our social media feeds are awash with pictures of romantic nuptials and carefully constructed outfits come Sunday morning. Weddings are expensive business, and not just for the bride and groom; according to M&S Bank the average cost of being a wedding guest is creeping up to around £270, with many of likely to spend over £800 during the season if multiple invites land on our doorstep – and that’s before you take into consideration the cost of the hen or stag dos, or (god forbid) rehearsal dinners and post-wedding parties. It’s easy to get caught in a whirlwind and start hemorrhaging money, but it’s also relatively simple to stop yourself from spending a fortune if you don’t have the spare cash to do so.
I recently stumbled across an article about a woman who’s spent nearly £10,000 on attending weddings over the past few years, and although I’m sure the intent was to drum up sympathy I felt like metaphorically slapping her round the face with an inflatable and telling her to stop winging. Weddings are supposed to be a joyous occasion and every guest should feel gratitude for being invited to be part of such a special day; it costs a small fortune to have each guest with you, so you’ve been invited because you’re important enough to that couple to warrant the cash. They’re not inviting you because they want anything more than your presence in return, and great friends will understand if you’re on a budget. Having attended four weddings in the last year (two on the same weekend!) here are some of my tips to reduce the dent it leaves in your credit card, without scrimping on fun.
One of the biggest wedding-guest issues is the question of what to wear. Many refuse to ‘recycle’ outfits for the fear of being captured in two sets of images across social media wearing the same look, while others cringe at the thought of being with the same set of people twice while sporting the same dress. In a nutshell, nobody cares. If you’ve got a dress you love and looks fab on you, wear it again – I guarantee most people won’t even notice, and the ones that do will probably feel envious of your thriftiness. A few different coloured accessories can totally change the overall result, so rummage around in your wardrobe and switch them around every time for a fresh take; a dress with multiple colours or a simple understated shift will serve you well and easily create a new look with just a few statement pieces. You don’t need to spend a fortune either, unlike the donut in the article who admitted to spending £250 on a Reiss dress in order to fit in; nobody is looking at your label, so it’s how you wear it that counts.
DO YOUR HOTEL RESEARCH
If the bride and groom are staying in a fancy-pants hotel the night of the wedding, good for them. I’m pretty sure you can find a Premier Inn down the road for a fraction of the cost – that is if you book far enough in advance. Don’t ever feel like you need to place yourself in financial difficulty just to stay in a nicer hotel; you’re barely in it anyway, so find a much more cost effective alternative that’s an equally cost effective taxi journey away. Last year we stayed in cheap as chips hotels for the two weddings that were away from home, rather than opting for the wedding location’s prices (£39 vs £269!) and nobody even batted an eyelid. Our wedding venue was £350 a night and we didn’t expect anyone else to stay with us; even our parents stayed in a Holiday Inn down the road with all the other guests, and probably had far more fun at the after party as a result!
GIVE AS A GROUP
Worried about what to gift the happy couple, or that you can’t quite stretch to those crystal ducks on the gift list? Speak to friends or family members that are attending too, and see if you can all pitch in for something that they’ll remember and will make much more of an impact than a pair of serving spoons. As a recent bride I can honestly tell you that the sentiment of your gift means a lot more than the gift itself, so focus on finding something you know they’ll love rather than how much you spend on it. Some of my favourite gifts included a painting from my best friend and a video of the day from my blogger crew – things I can remember and treasure for years to come.
STICK TO SOFT DRINKS
There’s no doubt that half the cost of attending a wedding comes from the bar tab; for some reason they seem to hike up the price of a G&T when there’s a wedding on, so once you’ve sipped away at the table wine why not switch to soft drinks? You don’t need to drink alcohol to have a good time, so save yourself a pretty penny by switching from champagne to coke as soon as the speeches are over – and reduce your hangover the next day too.
SAY ‘NO THANK YOU’
Weddings, hen parties and everything in-between are entirely optional. If you can’t afford to attend, don’t think the hen do to Marbs is within your budget, or you’re struggling to find the cash for a wedding gift, just be honest – saying ‘thank you so much, but I just can’t right now’ is totally acceptable. A real friend will understand and be as accommodating as possible, rather than judging or freezing you out for not doing what they want. A few years ago one of my good friends was getting married in Ireland and I’d just gone freelance, with the uncertainty of my next pay cheque looming over me; I explained I couldn’t stretch to the £500 to cover accommodation and transport, instead giving them £100 towards their honeymoon to enjoy on me. They were so understanding, making a much bigger issue out of it than I ever thought in my own head – and proving that saying ‘no’ is a very real option if all else fails.
Wedding season can be stressful, but it shouldn’t leave you in debt or worrying about how you’re going to pay to be involved. (Again, unlike the donut in the article that has thousands of pounds worth of credit card debt and is now living back at home with her parents.) As soon as the invite lands on your doorstep do your research, book as far in advance as possible and set yourself a budget – you shouldn’t find yourself doing or paying for things because you feel you ‘should’, but only because you want or are able to.
It’s supposed to be about love and fun, not about the pounds and pence.
ChiChi London Natascha Dress | £70.00 | LINK
New Look Silver Midi Heels | £17.99 | LINK
Furla Silver Metropolis Mini Bag | £69.00 | LINK
Adexe Black Watch | £109.00 | LINK
SHOP MY WEDDING LOOK
Photos Taken By Kaye Ford: www.fordtography.co.uk
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