One of your best friends just got engaged. You are elated that she’s found her perfect partner in crime. She’s a beautiful person, inside and out, and she deserves all of the love and happiness that life can provide. While you are ecstatic that she asked you to be part of her wedding day, your heart rate starts to rise. “How much is this gonna’ cost me?” While people may think this is a crass question amidst all of the celebration, it doesn’t make it an invalid one.
Weddings are a celebration of becoming one, but they tend to drain the bank if you’re not careful. I’ve been in handful of weddings, and know that if you don’t watch it, expenses start to add up. Here are my tips for staying in budget during wedding season.
- Sinking Funds – SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. As soon as you get the phone call, you better pull some money from your checking to savings. With the average American wedding costing around $27k, bridesmaids spend on average $1700. Figure out what you’re going to need, and start to save for it. Be as upfront as possible about the financial aspects of wedding obligations to the Maid of Honor. Make a budget for your dress, (if you have the autonomy to choose your own) and pick out gifts early.
- Know that you’re going to make mistakes – With the average engagement being 14.5 months you have time to save, but you also have time to mess up your budget. My friend Kayli is getting married on May 6th. I was dead set on sticking to my dress budget. I saved up $140, and that’s what I was going to spend. Then, I passed the Vera Wang section of David’s Bridal. Since Vera Wang was the designer of my wedding gown, I have a soft spot for her styles. I told myself I was absolutely not going to try any Vera dresses on. Then I tried one on. Then I bought it. I went $55.54 over my dress budget, when I was so adamantly not going to do that. My point? It doesn’t matter how strict you are, being in the midst of romantic and beautiful things makes you want to spend more of your money. Don’t beat yourself up. Adjust to it and make sure that you don’t go over budget on every item.
- Swatches — Speaking of bridesmaids dresses, if your Bride decides that each Bridesmaid can choose her own dress, order a swatch of fabric, and try to find dresses that are more affordable. While I spent a whopping $200 + alterations on my dress, the Maid of Honor ordered a swatch and found the perfect dress for $40 + alterations. Maybe she should be the Frugal Fox.
- Use shoes you’ve worn before – I have worn my wedding shoes for multiple events. I’m convinced that every woman has a pair of heels that are wedding worthy already. If you have a relaxed Bride, like Kayli, you can probably save $60-$100 by re-using heels. If you cant, check out thrift shops first.
- DIY – If you aren’t skilled with hair, odds are one of the women in the bridal party is. If you aren’t skilled with makeup, odds are one of the women in the bridal party is. If you are skilled at these things, DO IT YOURSELF, and if you aren’t, HAVE SOMEONE HELP YOU OUT. Hair + makeup + nails is on average $100. I know from experience that $100 is the minimum you will pay for these services. Nails alone –a mani and pedi – would run you around $60 in Wilmington. These are simple ways to cut costs.
- Pinterest – The perfect wedding database. Search for wedding gifts. There will be hundreds of affordable, and personalized gift options. I also love The Grommet for romantic gifts.
Hopefully this helped you. Having a Bride like Kayli is a dream come true. She’s relaxed about everything and is paying for her ENTIRE wedding without personal loans or credit cards. Look out for her guest post in June!