Surviving Wedding Season on a Budget

It’s that time of year! You guessed it… wedding season.

For most people, this means attending at least 3 weddings this season. Before my ‘budget conscious’ days, I’d think of weddings and think about how much fun they’d be. It never occurred to me that they were in fact wrecking my budget.

Think of it this way – there are more to weddings than the actual reception. There are bachelorette parties, bachelor parties and all the other festivities around weddings. If you’re actually in the wedding party, this means you’ll have to fork over much more. Things add up.

One of my closest friends got married last year. We’d always said that we’d be in each other’s weddings and when she announced her wedding, I knew I’d be asked to be in her party. It was hard to say no, but I took one look at my astronomical debt and got the motivation to decline. As a result, I ended up saving about $1500. I attended her wedding as a guest and enjoyed myself instead of thinking about the amount of debt I was wracking up.

Being budget conscious doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit. You can still enjoy weddings and keep your budget intact. Here’s how I did it:

1) Be honest

Sadly, our culture is all about over-spending and discussing money is often a very awkward moment. The only way to maintain friendships while minding your budget is to be honest, especially if you have to decline being a part of a wedding party. It was hard for me to explain that I was trying to pay off debt which I’d build over the last few years. I didn’t go into too much detail, but my friend was a sweetheart and completely understood.

2) Prepare

There are times that you simply can’t say no. When that happens, the best thing to do is plan for it in advance. It takes most people a year to plan their wedding. Use this year to plan your expenses. Saving a little bit a month makes the cost bearable. Even saving $100 a month means that you’ll end up with $1200 by the time the wedding day arrives.

3) Stay within your means

I’ve always had a big problem with giving gifts. I felt that the more expensive the gift was, the more they’d like it. Often times, I’d put myself further into debt as a result. There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving a gift that is within your budget. People appreciate gifts that you’ve put more thought into anyway. I was surprised to realize that people seemed more touched by gifts I gave them once I started trying to save money. My gifts became more personal and a lot more creative.

4) Group Gifts

Whether you’re in the wedding party or a guest, sometimes giving a nice gift as a group is a great idea. A few years ago a few friends and I were able to pool our money together to send the couple on a trip. It only cost me $100, but it was a memorable gift for them and it had a bigger impact without ruining my budget.

 How have you maintained your budget this wedding season?


Jen is a Headhunter who started her recruitment agency while juggling a $34,000 consumer debt. She decided to immerse herself in personal finance and managed to dig herself out of debt in one year. Jen writes humorously and candidly about her journey starting from the days she was swimming in debt to to debt-free living at

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