theSkimm’s Guide to Surviving Wedding Season

Published on: Jul 8, 2019fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
Wedding Finance Article HerotheSkimm

The Story

Your fridge is plastered with save the dates, and you’ve got Saturday night plans every weekend for months. Yep, it’s wedding season. And your wallet’s NOT feeling the love. Some estimates say you’re in for anywhere from $400 to $800. Per. Wedding.

So much for ‘love don’t cost a thing.’

JLO lied to us. The best way to protect your bank account is to figure out how much you can afford to spend as soon as you RSVP ‘yes.’ Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind:

  • Your budget should include everything from travel to gifts (including engagement parties and showers, bachelorette weekends, etc.) to clothes.

  • Come up with a ballpark number for what you’re willing to spend for weddings through the end of the year, and start saving a little each month.

  • Extra credit if you set up a separate savings account just for weddings, and nickname it something fun. Experts say naming savings accounts helps create an emotional connection to your goal (aka not going broke), so you’re more motivated to keep saving.

  • If you can’t afford to attend every wedding you’re invited to...just say no. Prioritize the ones that mean the most to you. Once you hit your budget limit, politely decline the others. Emily Post says yes, you still have to send a gift.

But knowing how much to gift is the hardest part.

Always. Give the 60-20-20 rule a try. That’s where you spend 60% of your overall gift budget on the wedding gift, 20% on a shower gift, and 20% for the engagement gift.

The Knot says the wedding gift part of that equation varies depending on your relationship with the couple. Think: from $50-$75 for a coworker or distant relative to $100-$150 for a close relative or friend. But let your budget be the final say.

You might be able to spend a little less by going in with friends on a bigger gift from the couple’s registry. Be the KitchenAid hero your friend needs. Speaking of registries, make sure to check them out early before all the reasonably priced options are gone and you’re stuck with $200 bird-shaped salt and pepper shakers.

Got it. And when it comes to travel…?

Look for savings by checking out group rates at hotels and for flights. Yep, that’s a thing. Many of the major airlines (Delta, United, American, JetBlue) offer discounted flights if you’re flying with 8-10 friends. Try calling the airline if you can’t find a form to fill out online.

Sounds great. Except I have nothing to wear.

Relatable. But something borrowed doesn’t just apply to the bride. Ask a friend to look through her closet instead of buying something new. Or try renting.


A busy wedding season doesn’t mean you have to break up with your budget. A little planning and smart booking strategies can go a long way. So you and your money can live happily ever after.