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Victoria recently discussed ways to plan your wedding on a budget.  She has been amazing at planning the details of our wedding while not risking our goals of financial success!

This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I glanced at our refrigerator and saw that in addition to our own wedding, we’ve been invited to 6 other weddings this year.  If you estimate that the average gift is anywhere from $50-$100 per wedding, that’s at least $300 that we’ll be spending this year!  As you know, that $300 in a Roth account can accrue quite a bit of interest!

Now realistically, $300 isn’t going to break the bank.  However, there are some people who attend far more weddings than Mrs. Millenniaire and I do.  Not to mention, there’s usually other expenses with the weddings (bridal showers, bachelor(ette) parties, hotel, gas, food, drinks, etc.).

With all that in mind, Victoria and I want to share some ways that you can save money and survive the wedding season while still enjoying celebrating the friends and family in your life.

  1. Figure out your budget at the beginning of each year
    It may sound funny, but you should treat your household like a business. You should plan each year the best you can.  Decide when your fiscal year is and try your best to estimate and spend with purpose.  Remember: a budget doesn’t mean you’re saving what is left after spending… it’s spending what is left after saving!
  2. Account for the hidden costs of weddings
    Before accepting an invitation to a wedding or being a member of a wedding party, consider the additional costs of weddings.  Engagement parties, bridal parties, bachelor(ette) parties, etc. can take a toll on your finances!  Take a close look at your wallet to see if you have the ability to do so.  Victoria and I use Personal Capital to track our expenses throughout the year and see if attendance is a possibility for us.
  3. Get to the gift registry as soon as possible
    Being the first to the registry gives you the most options for gift ideas. While you don’t necessarily have to gift something from the registry, being early gives you far more options to meet your budget than if you were to wait until it is picked over.  Waiting can often times leave you with a set of dishes that are $1200 or a $7 bowl.
  4. Consider gifting as a group
    Oftentimes, you’ll know several of the other guests in attendance of the wedding. Consider chipping in smaller amounts with a pool of people.  This allows you to get the couple gifts that you wouldn’t normally be able to afford and can save you money as well!
  5. Homemade gifts are just as meaningful
    One of the coolest gift ideas I saw one couple get was a basket that was labeled “Your first date as a married couple”. It was a really neat idea and a reminder to the couple to keep ‘dating’ even though they were married.  The basket had a DVD from a bargain bin, a bag of caramel popcorn, some candy, and some notepads for the couple to write things that they were thankful for of the other person. GENIUS!
  6. Buy one suit / dress – Accessorize it differently
    Let’s be honest, most guys don’t own more than one suit anyways. However, the ladies can rack up quite a few expenses if they were expected to buy a different outfit for each occasion.  Find different scarves, jewelry, shoes, etc. to change the look up a bit.
  7. If travelling, split rooms / rental cars
    Victoria and I both have family that will have to travel for our wedding in September. It’s important to us that our friends and family weren’t out a fortune to celebrate our day.  We encouraged our guests to check hotel sites like Orbitz and Hotels.com. While we negotiated special rates for our guests at a local hotel, you may be able to find a cheaper deal online, so always check for the lowest rate.  You can take it a step further and room with other people in attendance to save even more money.
  8. Book early / Travel lightly
    If you receive a save-the-date and know you’re going to be travelling, set up a reminder to check for travel discounts. Google Flights has a notification feature built into it to let you know when prices change.  Set up your criteria and wait for a deal that fits your budget.  Oftentimes, travelling with just your carry on can save you $50-$75.  Also be sure to check with the bride and groom to see if shuttle services are going to be provided if there is a hotel block.
  9. If you’re really needing to save – Consider not attending
    Victoria and I estimate that 25% of the people we invite will not be able to make it for whatever reason, and that is OK with us. We had a surprise engagement party with just our families and it was hard enough to visit with everybody there.  If you’re really needing to save money or trying to prioritize another wedding throughout the wedding season, consider hand-writing a thank you card to the couple thanking them for thinking of you for their big day.  The gesture will go a lot further than a simple response on their RSVPs.

Weddings are a wonderful time to celebrate your close friends.  They should be something that you look forward to going to and enjoy without worrying about upsetting your personal financial goals.  With proper planning and a little bit of legwork, you can save and still have a great time.

So what are some ways you have saved on wedding season?  Let us know on Twitter or Facebook so that Victoria and I can incorporate your ideas into our survival guide!