Hi! I'm Laura! I'm a NJ + Hudson Valley NY based wedding and brand photographer for adventurous couples in love and creative, heart driven brands. I'm a storyteller at heart and am so blessed to call this my job! My photography style is organic and timeless and I can't wait to hear your story!. 

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Financially Surviving Wedding Season as a Guest

I’m pretty pumped to be sharing today’s post!! This post was originally posted on Hi Charlie – a robosmart chat bot that helps you save money and get the best deals on everything you spend money on. And since I feel like I attend about a million weddings a year and so does everyone who probably reads this blog, I thought it would be a great post to share with all of you – my amazing readers!!

Below, is the original post from Hi Charlie – enjoy!!

Going broke as a wedding guest?

According to the New York Times, the average wedding guest spends nearly $900 to partake in the festivities. That price tag can make your wallet want to say, “I don’t!” — especially if your wedding season dance card is full

But don’t worry. Charlie knows a bunch of money-saving hacks so you can catch the bouquet without breaking the bank!

Set a Budget and Prioritize

Take a peek at your finances and determine exactly how much you can spend on the occasion without wreaking havoc on your budget. Once you have a figure in mind, it’s time to create a spending plan. 

You can stay near the venue in style, rival the bride for beauty, or be the best gift giver ever — but you may not be able to afford to do it all. If that’s the case, you’ll need to make some trade-offs to stay within your set limits. For example, if you want to give a lavish gift, that could mean forgoing the expensive salon visit the morning of the ceremony. 

Tip: Charlie can help you plan ahead by starting a new savings goal called “wedding.”

Pool Resources

Try going in on wedding attendance expenses with family and friends. You can split the cost of lodging, transportation, and even the gift. That way, everyone saves some cash and can still fully take part in the experience. 

Beautify Yourself (or Find a Deal)

If you’ve got the skills, skip the pricey salon and do your own hair, makeup, and mani-pedi. DIY’ing your beauty regimen will save you some serious cash. (You may even already have the supplies on hand!) Afraid of looking like Elizabeth Holmes? Ask a friend to help paint your face and braid their hair in trade.

If you really want to be pampered, check Groupon to score a deal on the service. You can also reach out to local beauty schools. Often, their students will gussy you up for much less dough than a pro.

Re-wear or Rent Attire

There is zero shame in wearing a killer dress (or suit) twice. So save your wallet and rock that outfit again! You can also raid a friend’s closet to wear something that’s new to you. But — if you must wear something brand new, consider renting your ensemble for a fraction of the price of buying it off the rack.

Hint: I’ve worn this dress to like 7 weddings. I own it in 3 colors, it cost by $50 at a beachy boutique store and I LOVE IT. Scott’s the only one that every comments that I wear it a lot haha!!

Make Your Gift

If you’ve got the talent, why not use it to make something heartfelt and budget friendly? Your newlyweds will appreciate the gesture and will likely cherish it over another set of wine glasses.

Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:

  • Sing a song at the reception
  • Make the centerpieces on the dinner tables
  • Create a scrapbook about their relationship
  • Knit a blanket for their couch or bed
  • Paint their new family portrait 

Still feeling uninspired? Pinterest has got you covered!

Just Say No

Although it hurts to check “will not attend” on the RSVP card, remember: an invitation to a wedding is a request, not a requirement. Sometimes your wallet just can’t swing it and that’s OK. If that happens, confidently decline with your regrets and send a little (perhaps homemade) gift in your place.

Final Thoughts

Being a wedding guest can be crazy expensive — but it doesn’t have to be. Every element of the experience can be optimized to fit your budget. So go ahead and feel the love while enjoying your fatter bank account.

Please note: We don’t have an affiliation with or personally endorse any of the services linked to in this post. We’re just trying to give you some ideas.

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