I’m beginning to realise that I’m approaching the age where everyone in the world seems to be getting married. As the summer rolls in so do the invitations and as delighted as we all are to see our friends happy and taking the big step, some of us feel a sheer dread calculating in our heads just how we’ll manage to afford them all.
I absolutely love weddings, especially Irish ones because it’s the best way to catch up with old friends and ruin your feet dancing. It’s definitely not an Irish wedding without girls in their bare feet and men with ties wrapped round their heads playing the air guitar! However, as much as I love them I’ve fast realised that one single wedding can cost almost half my monthly wage and so I’ve had to think of some cunning ways of to avoid bankruptcy.
Here are a few ideas in case you’re a similar case and need a little help…
- Book in advance
People these days tend to post a ‘save the date’ notice through the door. I actually didn’t know these were a thing until recently enough but it’s actually a brilliant idea because it means you can get on the ball and book everything a good few months before the date. If you have to catch a flight to get to the wedding, it’s always good to get ahead and get accommodation that’s close to the venue. This will save you money on taxis back and forth and will give you the best choice. No one wants to stay in a run down over priced B&B that’s miles away from the venue.
- Forego the date
If you’re in a relationship you will usually get a plus one invite to a wedding that’s your own family or friend but sometimes it’s not always the best idea to bring your partner along. As much as I love forcing Andrew to dance with me all night, I usually am out of pocket because I insist on paying for the accommodation and the present since they’re my relative/friend. In these circumstances the best idea is to go with either your own family or your friends. This way, you can split the room and present (there were 3 of us girls in the one room at a wedding I was at last weekend) and you don’t have to feel guilty about keeping your partner occupied all night. Of course if Andrew knows the people that are getting married I will bring him but sometimes it’s less pressure to just bring yourself.
- Do your own hair/make up/womany stuff
Irish women are renowned for going all out for weddings. Everything is paid for; hair, make up, nails, tan, eyebrows, elbows. Crazy stuff. I know girls who would do this for every wedding they go to and I think it’s ludicrous! Luckily I’ve never been too much in to the glamorous look, beachy waves and highlighter are usually as far as I’ll go but I still want to look like I belong there so therein lies my problem. I have paid to get my make up done before but I can’t afford to do it every time so I’ve started to buy better make up products gradually so I can just do my own. I also do my own hair although it’s usually just curls with a low side and pinned back – nothing too impressive. The thing is, no one is there to look at you and although you want to look great, no one will notice if your cheekbones aren’t contoured like pyramids. I bloody hope not anyway.
- Borrow your mate’s dress
This is a great way to feel like you bought something new but didn’t suffer the Ted Baker price tag. I know some people are a bit funny about asking to borrow but I think it’s great. Most of my friends are similar sizes and I will lend anything to them and they will mostly lend anything to me (I’m known to be clumsy the odd time). You’re also saving yourself from having another dress that you will only wear about 5 times in your life.
- Plan ahead
Similar to the first tip, I advise to plan ahead and start putting money aside for the summer wedding season. As the ‘save the dates’ come flying through your letterbox, start budgeting the money you will need to make it there and start the saving. These little pots of money will save you a lot of stress when the weddings draw closer and instead of allocating so much of your wage to the wedding that’s in a few weeks, you will already have most of it put away and for that you will give yourself a massive high five.
- Turn a long distance wedding in to a mini holiday
Most weddings take place around the summer time and can get in the way of a much needed holiday break. This can be frustrating as it can feel like you’re funneling your cash in to a weekend that you hadn’t really planned to go away for. What can help is to turn this weekend away in to something positive. Maybe stay an extra few days after to explore the area the wedding is in and treat this as a mini holiday. You will more than likely meet locals at the wedding so it’s a great way to get advice on what to do and see in the area. Could end up being an unexpected escape!
- Use AirBnB
I swear by this site. We use it to book accommodation for almost everywhere we go and it always save us money. Again this might mean planning ahead but once you know your dates you should try and contact friends who will more than likely invited too (oh the awkwardness of asking someone who hasn’t been invited!!) and organise to share accommodation. Splitting costs like this means you will definitely save a bit of cash and it’s also always more fun to share a place with friends and spend some time with them too.
- Don’t stay a second night
There’s a real trend in Ireland now where the bride and groom will provide entertainment the second day and everyone stays on for another session. This is usually a great day because you see more of the newly married couple and it’s a much more relaxed atmosphere. It does mean however lots more cash to fork out for another night’s accommodation and another Corona splurge so as difficult as it is, it’s sometimes best to give it a miss. You might get a tincy but of FOMO but you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
- Miss the hen/stag so you can afford to make the wedding
This is a tricky one because if you’re invited to the hen or stag you’re obviously well thought of by the wedding party which makes it really difficult to say no to. However sometimes going to both means two weekends away involving flights as well as the rest and for some people this just isn’t feasible. You might have to make the choice to not go and hopefully if you live abroad the bride or groom will completely understand. Just give them plenty of notice!
- Don’t go!
Another harsh one! But perhaps the only choice in some cases. There’s always that guilt that you might offend someone but really there will usually be so many people going that the bride and groom will probably not mind. The best way to do it is to be polite and send them a thank you letter along with a gift. This will show you do care about them. Don’t follow this tip if this is your brother or your best mate though because let’s face it there’s just no getting out of those ones!!!
Hope those little snippets helped any victims of the upcoming wedding season!
Dance your wee hooves off.