A few years ago a good friend of mine said that when a wedding invitation dropped through the letterbox it was like receiving a bill. There are so many expenses to consider: travel, outfit, gift, accommodation and that’s not even considering any stag or hen dos you might be invited to.
So, how can you share the excitement of the bride and groom on a budget, without having to worry about the financial consequences?
Let’s start with the hen / stag dos. These are usually organised well ahead of time and involve numerous messages and calls to establish exactly who is free when and whether people want a weekend in Amsterdam or night out in Brighton. Here are a few of our suggestions:
- Don’t suffer in silence; if the preferred destination is outside your budget either make the decision not to go or tell the organiser you simply can’t afford it. If you speak out you’ll probably find others follow your lead, you won’t be the only one on a budget.
- Suggest alternatives; there’s no benefit to just saying no, come up with an alternative that will keep everyone happy and give your reasons. A weekend in Amsterdam sounds great but once you’ve taken into account travel time you could suggest you’d be better off staying somewhere a bit closer to home to make the most out of your time.
- Be prepared to slum it a bit. Let’s face it you’re not going to be spending much time in your hotel if one is required so suggest sharing or staying somewhere at the lower end of the budget; you’ll probably just need a bed to sleep in or you’re not doing the hen / stag thing properly!
- Keep extras to a minimum; yes, dressing up is great but don’t agree to an extravagant theme you’ll need to spend a fortune on. It’s amazing what you can cobble together for very little money and a bit of creativity.
- Be honest; if final decisions are made and you’re worried that’s it’s still beyond your means tell the bride / groom directly and suggest an alternative. Let them have the weekend of their dreams and meet up another time for drinks or something simple. There will be others who can’t make it who will probably be more than happy to join you. It’s better to enjoy a drink with a small group of friends than worry about keeping up with a larger celebration.
Survived the Stag, Now What?
Once the pre-wedding celebrations are out of the way it’s time for the main event. With luck this will be on your doorstep but if not here are a few ways you could save a bit of money along the way:
- If you need to stay away overnight consider either sharing a hotel room with a friend or try a website like AirBNB to find accommodation nearby. These are usually flats or houses that can sleep a few people so why not club together with friends or family? You will also have a kitchen which makes it easier to save on the cost of meals while you’re away.
- Ask around to find out if there are other people travelling from your area by car. You don’t need to know them, you’ll have plenty in common if you’re invited to the same wedding and offering a contribution towards petrol will probably be welcomed.
- If you don’t have anything suitable to wear you could try asking friends if they have something you could borrow or have a look at your local charity shop. Wedding outfits are rarely worn so there are plenty of good quality bargains to be found.
- Lots of people no longer have gift lists and it has become increasingly popular to ask guests to contribute money to a honeymoon fund or similar. Don’t feel obliged to do so; it’s perfectly acceptable to do your own thing. If you have a gift in mind within your budget that’s great or you could volunteer your services towards the wedding or if you (or someone you know) is creative why not make something?
- Even if the wedding is on your doorstep you can be creative to save a bit of money. If getting to the venue involves a taxi ride why not drive there with a friend, leave your car and have your friend drop you back to collect it the following day? Hopefully that means just one taxi ride rather than two. It might not sound like much but £20 goes a long way towards drinks in the evening.
The most important thing when it comes to weddings or any big celebration is not the make yourself financially uncomfortable. People will understand if you can’t do everything and it’s better to sit out the stag do rather than worry about the cost.
If you just need a bit extra to tide yourself over to the next payday you could consider a very short term loan but it’s important you understand the overall cost of these. You can find more information here and please take some time to read our Frequently Asked Questions.