I have reached the age where wedding bells are ringing for many of my friends and family members and I know this is just the beginning. With that being the case, I have taken my mom's advice and started to set guidelines for myself. That way, I can make sure I stay within my budget and fair to everyone.
I am fortunate enough to have large family and lots of friends and I think it is important to make sure you come up with a budget at the beginning that works for you for bridesmaid dresses, travel and hotel costs, the amount of money you can afford on engagement gifts, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and wedding gifts. That way you'll always have a guideline that will keep you in line with your budget and fair to every friend and family member whose wedding you are asked to be a part of.
Below are some tips for wedding guests on a budget. Let's be honest here, we all have a budget whether is $50, $100, $500, or $10,000, we all have a limit at some point.
Shop around for hotels. Just because the couple blocks of rooms at a particular hotel, say the Ritz, does not mean you have to stay there nor that you are getting the best deal. Shop around, there are plenty of discounts, AAA or booking online that could save you money.
Wear the same outfit. This is much easier for guys, as they can easily get away with wearing the same suit to multiple weddings by changing the necktie. If you are expecting several invitations that require black tie, it is more economical to purchase a tux then to rent one each time.
As for us women, there is the pressure to dress differently for each wedding, but that shouldn't require a whole new outfit. Purchase a neutral color dress and accessorize it differently for two different weddings.
Bridesmaid dresses on a budget. Once you are finished with the dress you can resell it on eBay or a local consignment shop to recoup some of the money you spent. Also, unless alternations are included in the price of the dress, you'll often save money by doing them with an independent seamstress than the one who works for the bridal shop.
Do your own hair and makeup.
Plan the bachelorette/bridal party carefully. Make sure you decide in advance who is paying for what. Collect money in advance if you can or choose a venue where you can easily split the bill.
Still can't afford it? Just say no. There's no point in going into debt over someone else's wedding, so sometime it makes sense to decline.