Summer is the season for picturesque commitment ceremonies in front of beautiful sunsets. It’s the season when beach weddings and informal celebrations make the most sense. It’s also the season when attendees suffer from major pangs of anxiety. About the right outfit to wear. About the right wedding gift. About whether we have enough funds to RSVP “yes” to that destination wedding. The list goes on and on.
If the thought of making it through the summer wedding season is already making you sweat, here’s what to keep in mind:
Start a summer wedding fund ASAP
Bust out the calculator and start estimating costs (especially if you know you’ll have to travel and book hotel accommodations). Once you’ve outlined how much you think you’ll need, break your goal into weekly savings installments. Account for the big-time items and then see where you can possibly cut costs. (More on that below.)
Account for the entire weekend of wedding events
Weddings can easily consume an entire weekend. Think about whether or there might be a rehearsal dinner, a post-wedding cocktail hour, or a wedding brunch the following day. This is especially crucial if you’re partaking in the wedding ceremony or if you’re part of the bachelorette party. Knowing ahead of time what you’re getting yourself into and where you’re expected to be when will help you plan your spending.
Book your flight and travel in advance
This one is pretty obvious, but the sooner you start looking at flights, the easier it’ll be to nail something that’s within budget. Bookmark the websites with the best flight deals and put your online sleuthing techniques to work. Keep an eye out for package deals that give you a discount for jointly booking airfare and renting a car. If you have a credit card with travel points, this is the time to consider using it.
Share hotel and room accommodations
The couple will often book a hotel block to try and make it easy for guests to find lodging together. But if you find that the price for a room in the block is outside your budget, consider renting an Airbnb or looking at an alternative motel. Or be upfront about your situation and ask other friends who are going whether they’d care to bunk together. After all, many hotel rooms come with two queen-sized beds.
Plan to split the wedding gift
This is another instance where teaming up with other wedding guests makes sense. Splitting a wedding gift requires some coordination and planning, but you’ll save in the long run. Be the first to poll your friends and other guests on how much they think each can spend. Then, look at the wedding registry to and send out suggestions for gifts. When it comes to saving, initiative is key.
If splitting gift costs doesn’t make sense for you, consider creating a thoughtful gift for the happy couple. Perhaps that means printing out a photo album with images of the couple over the years. Or maybe it means crafting something by hand with bits of memorabilia from the wedding reception. This is the time to embrace your creativity.
And don’t feel pressured to gift immediately
Remember that there’s a grace period for wedding gifts. Depending on who you ask, guests have anywhere from six months to one year to send a gift to newlyweds. Don’t feel pressured to spend (or put on credit) a gift you can’t quite buy right now.
Choose a wedding outfit that’s easy to mix and match
There’s no shame in re-wearing a dress; stop overthinking whether it’s okay to wear the same dress you wore to one wedding to another. It totally is! (After all, if you opted for a suit, would anyone ever notice?) Mix it up with different jewelry, handbags, makeup, shoes, or hairstyles. The dress you wear is only one part of your look.