Attending Other Weddings While Planning Your Own? Here's How to Budget for Both

If you’re caught between budgeting for your big day and trying to attend numerous weddings this year, you’re not alone. This guide will help you prioritize, create realistic budgets, and explore unexpected alternatives.

By Maggy Lehmicke

Attending Other Weddings While Planning Your Own
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

The First Look ✨

Attending a wedding while planning your own can add some serious stress to your big day, plus put a damper on your financial situation. But, with the wedding industry playing catch-up from COVID-19, celebration-packed summers are expected to be the way of the future.

According to Zola's First Look Report, a survey of more than 3,000 engaged couples, two thirds are attending at least one other wedding in 2022, making budgeting a more complicated concern. To make matters worse, about 70 percent of couples are already spending more than they originally budgeted. So, what’s the solution?

If you’re finding the balance between attending weddings and planning yours to be tricky, below are a few tips on how to cope.

Get Much of Your Planning Completed (and Deposits Paid) Far in Advance

In regards to your own wedding, securing vendors in advance saves you from the potential pickle of being stuck with some of the more expensive options as a last resort. When you take the time to research budget-friendly options and what’s available in your area, the options are endless.

When it comes to attending weddings, the same rules apply. Finding a hotel in advance or maximizing airline points almost always proves to be fruitful in the end. As soon as you know you can attend, start making plans.

Allocate a Separate Savings Fund for Each

When you’re planning on attending three weddings during the same summer that you’re celebrating yours, the financial impact adds up. To avoid running out of cash, consider creating separate savings accounts or funds for each. Not only will this incentivise you to stay under budget, but it will also give you some peace of mind as you plan your big day. Just make sure that you revisit them both regularly as part of your overall financial plan, so that you don’t lose track of where you’re at.

Rent and Repurpose as Much as You Can

As a wedding guest, renting attire and accessories can save you loads of money in the long run. Consider renting larger pieces, such as dresses and shoes, that you know you’re unlikely to wear again. If you’re attending weddings in different social groups, don’t be afraid of wearing similar outfits. While you might refrain from wearing the same dress to your cousin’s wedding as your brother’s, it’s unlikely that two friends who have never met will share photos.

When it comes to your own wedding, renting may not always be the wisest financial decision. Linens, place settings, and candles often cost more to rent than to purchase and repurpose. If you find yourself buying decor that you don’t plan to reuse, look into Tradesy, Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, and Ebay, which are all great places to sell (or buy!) your goods.

Look into Alternative Financing Options

In today’s day and age, paying for everything up front isn’t always expected, or, frankly, realistic. With approximately 40 percent of couples paying for their own wedding, the wedding industry has had to shift with the times. While many financial institutions offer “wedding loans,”or a variation of an unsecured personal loan, it’s also worth talking to your vendors about alternative payment plans. There are even some new organizations that help make financing a wedding more accessible.

Consider Working With a Financial Advisor or Expert

For 2022, 28 percent of couples surveyed have budgeted between $10,000 and $20,000 for their wedding. An additional 16 percent budgeted for less than $10,000.

Much like it pays off to work with a wedding planner, hiring someone to help you with your finances isn’t the worst idea in the world. Not only will it make sure that you’re in the clear for the cost of your wedding, but it will also ensure that paying off wedding-related costs won’t mess with other financial goals. Honeymoons, houses and future family planning are all things to keep in mind.

Prioritize Which Weddings to Attend

If you’ve got a large network of friends and acquaintances in your age group, chances are that you’re going to be hit with a wedding boom all at once. To avoid breaking the bank, it’s important to prioritize which weddings you should (or want to) attend. Details such as familial relations, lengths of friendships, and cost of attending should all be taken into consideration. For example, while you might attend your sister’s wedding in Hawaii, you might not do the same for an old high school friend that you haven’t spoken to in a couple years. Just make sure that you’re honest about your financial situation and set expectations early on to avoid any hurt feelings.

Split Costs With a Friend

For the weddings that you do plan on attending, talk to someone you know about splitting a place to stay or getting a rideshare from the airport. If it’s a local wedding, see if you can plan to carpool or schedule group rideshares in advance so that you know that you won’t be paying $100 for an Uber at the end of the night. Details such as a meal, gift, or taxi ride may seem insignificant on their own, but these costs start to add up. The more wedding-related costs you can split with someone you know, the better.

Gift Thoughtfully, but Strategically

Buying your friend that espresso machine she’s wanted for years or trying to match the cost of your attendance might feel like the “right” thing to do, but no wedding gift is worth going into debt. If you’re maxed out, any good friend will understand, so lean more toward the thoughtful gifts than the most expensive ones. Group gifting is always another great way to have a big impact without spending too much money upfront. The earlier you browse the registry, the better.

It’s never easy to prioritize when you feel like you’re choosing between you and your loved ones, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. By creating strict budgets, strategically repurposing event decor, and coming up with creative financial solutions, you can get the best of both worlds. Or, should we say—in this particular case—have your cake and eat it too.

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