How I Survived Wedding Season

- - Budgeting, Saving Money

surviving wedding seasonThis was the year of weddings. I went to 3 total, and was in two of those within a span of 7 months. These were all close friends of mine so I felt I needed to be part of their wedding day. That’s not to say I didn’t want to go, but I just wanted to emphasize that the whole “you have to say no sometimes” mantra wouldn’t have worked in these situations.

Prior to this span of time, I had been in exactly one wedding. That gave me a little bit of experience, but that bride was very laid back, yet on top of everything at the same time. All I had to do was get fitted for the dress and show up on the wedding day. Seriously, that was it.

I was young, didn’t know any better. I was also probably the worst bridesmaid in history for her wedding, but she never said anything. I definitely owe her one. 😉

I think it’s safe to say I never really knew what went into planning/participating in a wedding before this wedding season.

 

The Wedding Frenzy

I’ve heard many people say before that they’ve had a bunch of friends get married within a short time frame. Holding true to this idea, all of my friends started getting engaged in what seemed like a frenzy. The first one got engaged… 3 weeks later another one, 2 months later it happened again. I was happy as could be for them all, but couldn’t stop thinking about how I was going to pay for everything.

A short while later, my best friend was in town for a baby shower and asked me to be her bridesmaid. I was really excited and happy to be part of such a special day 🙂

Since I always have money on my mind, as soon as she asked me to be in the wedding, I started thinking of what kind of things I would need to pay for.

There were three main events:

  • the Bridal shower,
  • the Bachelorette party, and
  • the Wedding gift.

Oh, did I mention she lives in Florida, and I live in Pennsylvania?

Add in flights, a hotel room and rental car and you can imagine my nervousness as the expenses built up.

Traveling out of town for a wedding soon?
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Then, I got an invitation to the second wedding in May.

After that I was asked to be maid of honor for my other best friend’s wedding that took place in June.

It didn’t take me long to realize I was going to need to start saving quite a bit of money to be able to afford everything.

How did I do it?

 

Estimating Costs

I made up a budget for all 3 events. Yes, I’m serious.

I created a file in Evernote for each wedding and created an estimate of what everything would cost. I padded the amounts quite a bit because I find that I tend to underestimate a lot when it comes to certain things. I certainly didn’t want to be stuck using my credit card if I didn’t calculate this the right way.

wedding season spending

Dresses, shoes, flights, car rentals, hotels, gifts, etc. were all included.

I put all of these items into a checklist so I could mark each one off as I paid for it.

After I had this nailed down, I took the total amount it was going to cost for all 3 weddings, and divided it by the number of paychecks I would have before the final wedding happened.

If the total was $3,500 and I had 26 paychecks until the last wedding, I would need to be saving $134 each paycheck in order to have enough money to cover everything.

This method made it much easier to see exactly what was left to pay and how I was doing.

(I’m not including real numbers here because I don’t want anyone to have hard/weird feelings, etc.) 🙂

 

A New Savings Account

Now that I knew how much I was going to save from each check, I needed a place to put it that wouldn’t allow me to confuse it with other funds. Just like I wrote about in this article, I opened a new savings account with Ally so I had a separate pile of money just for this purpose.

Once this was open, I set up an automated transfer from my checking account into this particular savings account. This way, I couldn’t “forget” to transfer the money over.

See what I did there? Thinking of the very possible ways I could screw this up, and finding a way around them.

 

The Hard Part

Now, there were some weeks where I honestly couldn’t save that $100 and some odd dollars because unexpected expenses came up, or the bills for that pay were more than I was going to have coming in.

Things happen. But, one of the other positives of overestimating my budgets was that as more and more expenses got nailed down, I actually needed less money than originally planned for. If I skipped one or two automatic transfers, it wasn’t the end of the world.

However, each week after not saving the money, it got harder and harder to keep the momentum going.

My tip? Save as many weeks in a row as you can up front, so you aren’t stuck with too little cash at the tail end of wedding season. If you do need to skip it once or twice, that’s alright, life happens!

 

Planning = Less Anxiety

This method kept me from feeling behind, or negative towards my financial situation when it came time to pay for things related to the weddings. This is a huge deal for me since I tend to feel anxious, or like I’m falling behind when big expenses come up. Having the money already set aside was such a huge relief for me.

Of course, this isn’t a perfect science, but it definitely helped me stay on track and see how much money I needed to save and how long I had to do it.

Do you have any tips for how you survived wedding season?

Traveling out of town for a wedding soon?
Learn how to save money on your trip!

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Chenell

I am Chenell Tull and so far, I've had a pretty rough time with my student loan debt. Recently, I've figured out a more productive "get out of debt" plan and the goal is to pay off over $60k in just 36 months. If you want to learn more, subscribe to the mailing list and get FREE updates on my successes and failures on this journey out of debt. 

  • Amy

    Wow – that’s a lot of weddings in a short period of time. It’ll slow down as you get older, then it’ll be baby season. 🙂 I’m 40, so I don’t have many of these events anymore, but your planning method sounds fantastic. It probably made the weddings that much more enjoyable for you, since you weren’t worried about paying for anything.

    • It definitely made the weddings more enjoyable. I was able to think about the actual wedding, as opposed to the amount of money I was spending since it was already budgeted for.

  • I’m already saving up for all the future weddings I’ll have to attend – even though none of them are engaged yet. Since almost all of my friends and family are overseas, it’s going to cost a pretty penny for me to attend even one wedding…So I’d rather get way ahead of myself and start saving early 🙂 Like you said, estimated costs beforehand and budgeting for them is a good idea.

    • You are wise to start saving for them now. That is going to cost an arm and a leg, but at least you’ll get to travel and have an excuse 🙂

  • Great article! We use sinking funds for many different things and love it! Since starting to do them, we haven’t looked back. I like how you went through the mindset that you were facing and how you provided the solution!

    We have one for our car repair fund and it is always running in the red though it seems. I just catch it up as I can and continue saving to keep the sting out as much as I can.

    • Thanks, Steven. I think it’s very important to plan for things you know will happen, but aren’t sure when or exactly the amount just yet. Your car repair fund is such a great example of this. I couldn’t have gotten through this without more debt if I didn’t have this fund set up.

  • Great article!

    I’m a little older than you so I’m past wedding season for the most part :). Everyone in my circle are now dealing with having kids, which is even more expensive than managing weddings! My friend asked me to write a post on my blog about wedding costs and I remembered this post. I’ll be forwarding this over to her!

    • Thanks, Vic! I’m sure I’ll be in that situation shortly. Do you save money to plan for those events too?

      Thanks for passing it along! 🙂

      • Not necessarily, Attending a few baby showers here and then is definitely not as expensive as being part of a wedding party. I’d estimate a baby shower gift to be $50 – $100. I was just saying in general having a kid is so expensive! But totally worth it.

        You’re welcome! She said she liked your post.

        Keep up the good work!

        • I can only imagine the expenses that come along with raising little humans – they’re cute enough to make it worth it! Thanks again!