Weddings

I’m a bridesmaid in two weddings this year.  While I’m far from living out 27 Dresses in real life, being a bridesmaid is having a big impact on my budgetFrom selecting a gift for the engagement party to buying the dress you’ll walk down the aisle in, wedding-related expenses can really add up.

Sharon Naylor’s Bridesmaid on a Budget: How to Be a Brilliant Bridesmaid without Breaking the Bank is my new handbook for wedding season.  Naylor is a wedding expert who offers practical advice to the bridesmaid who wants to cut costs without coming off like a cheapskate.  She starts Bridesmaid on a Budget by listing some sobering stats about the cost of being a in a wedding party.  Ladies, did you know that the average cost of being in a wedding is from $1,069 to $1,269?!

The book provides an overview of a bridesmaid’s many costs and responsibilities, so it would be the perfect read for someone who has never been in a wedding.  As a frugally-minded, experienced bridesmaid I was aware of many of the suggestions for cutting costs, but I still found Naylor’s tips to be very helpful.  I also love that the book provides advice about communicating with the bride and other bridesmaids about wedding related expenses.  Talking about money can be awkward, but Bridesmaid on a Budget makes preparing for and having those conversations less awkward.

Along with a great list of resources, the appendices have helpful tools for tracking contact information, deadlines and expenses.  Naylor understands that being a bridesmaid isn’t always easy and Bridesmaid on a Budget helps to ease the financial concerns that make being in a wedding stressful.  With so many helpful tips, this book will have a place on my bookshelf for a long time to come.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book, but all opinions are my own.

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Last week I put together a list of anticipated expenses for the weddings that I will be in or attending through July.  I’ll be a bridesmaid in two weddings (one is a destination wedding) and a guest at two others.  My conservative estimate of the costs associated with all of this matrimonial fun comes out to over $2,500.  I almost had a panic attack when adding up the cost of bridesmaid dresses, gifts, flights and hotels, but I want to be there to support my friends as they become married ladies.  Here are five ways I’m planning to survive wedding season without totally blowing my budget:

Tap Into a Gift Fund
I think everyone in their late 20’s goes through a phase when it seems like all of their friends are getting married or having babies.  Since a shower, bachelorette party or other event is bound to pop up, I save $75 a month in a “gifts account.”  Having this money is a big help during wedding season and it doesn’t impact my budget since I’ve already set it aside.

Take Advantage of Points Programs
Thank goodness for credit card rewards and frequent flyer miles.  Wedding season is a great time to look into how you can maximize points programs.  Thanks to my dad’s hotel points I won’t have to pay for accommodations for the destination wedding I’m in and I’m using my credit card rewards to pay for my flight to Florida for another wedding.

Buy Gifts Early and When They’re On Sale
I think it’s always a good idea to buy wedding gifts shortly after you have received a wedding invitation.  It’s easier to find a wedding registry item that is in your price range if you buy a gift early.  You will also have more time to see if registry items will go on sale if you don’t wait too long to buy a gift.

Cut Costs with Daily Deals Sites
I’m saving on pre-wedding manicures and pedicures with deals I bought from a daily deals site.  I found a great bachelorette party location for 40% off through another website.  There are also deals on everything from invitations to lingerie, that make throwing a shower or buying a gift more cost effective.

Find Ways to Make Extra Money
I’ve been earning extra money from surveys, focus groups and mystery shopping to help pay for wedding-related expenses.  I don’t make a ton of money from these things, but this extra income helps take the strain off of spending so much over a few months.

What are your tips for surviving wedding season?

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You Want ME to Help Pay for YOUR Wedding?

March 16, 2011

Let’s say you have a friend who got engaged.  You’re excited for them and their wedding planning and then you see that they posted this on Facebook (wording slightly changed to protect the identity of the poster): It’s been a year since we got engaged and we have finally chosen a date for the wedding!  […]

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