I’m a total wedding buff. I love everything about them: checking out The Dress, taking in the style and décor, the romance of the ceremony and the first dance, dancing my feet off (it isn’t a GREAT wedding, in my eyes, until they’ve played Journey). In my life, I’ve been to over 20 weddings, and have turned down a grand total of 3 invitations – all of them because I could not afford to get there.
In fact, one family member event was missed out on because when you have kids with special needs, leaving OR taking them to a distant wedding is a burden. I don’t know anyone who could watch my kids for 2-3 days while Chris and I attended and bringing them without a sitter is just not an option. Weddings are long, boring events for kids and most people nowadays don’t even invite children.
Besides that, spending all that money on travel and clothes means much less budget for a nice gift for the happy couple. I’d rather send a 3-figure check then attend and drop down to a paltry 2 figures.
Needless to say, missing a family wedding – well it’s just not done in our family. We may have spread out over the years, but even with a good excuse it just felt wrong. The next wedding is a little ways off so we have some time to plan, but how can you cut costs and make sure you can attend the wedding of the people you love and still send a nice gift?
Here are 8 ways to save money for a wedding:
1. Use frequent flyer miles.
These might take a while to acquire but make sure you are in a club for an airline that you frequent.
2. Book through Ebates.com and travel booking sites.
These will save you money – and Ebates might give you a rebate. It won’t be large, but it will help.
3. Use your hotel rewards.
We have reward cards for 3 hotel chains so we always pick one of those whenever we travel, even for short hops. You can accrue enough points for a free stay or perhaps a meal. The bride and groom might have a hotel with discounted rates, too, but if you can cash in points for a free stay elsewhere, you’ll be better off.
4. Buy a gift off their registry early on.
I prefer to give cash gifts, but registries are usually set up a year in advance, so feel free to purchase your gift a year out so it won’t eat up time-critical budget. Alternately, you can put aside the cash gift you’d give them early on so that you don’t have a last minute crush for the gift.
5. Car pool with local guests.
This idea was tossed about when a family member, who lives over 12 hours away, got married. The group carpool is a great way to save money and reduce the monotony of boring travel.
6. Go alone.
This is a great way to save money for a wedding, especially if you combine it with car pooling – no extra travel costs, hotel rooms or babysitters. Up until recently, I never traveled without my family. Now that I do it for work, I would consider this for the next travel wedding I’m invited to. That will not only save money and possibly time, but you do get points for the effort it took to show up! And it’s a great option if you have kids.
7. Make it your family vacation too.
We’ve all have that friend that got married on the beach or an island. If you have a year’s notice, you can easily make that your family’s annual vacation.
8. Skip the other events.
Today, weddings have a lot of tacked on additional events – the engagement party, the bridal shower, the bachelor and bachelorette party, the post-wedding breakfast, etc. The bride and groom \ want you at their wedding most of all, so it’s ok to skip some or all of those and provide a smaller gift each time. (Don’t forget gifting!)
With enough notice and planning, you can create a plan to attend that friend’s wedding – or save up for your own or for a vow renewal. Chris and I are hoping to renew our vows on 20th anniversary, which is on the horizon. When we married, we spent a total of around $6,000 of our own budget to plan a wedding– and even that was a tough budget to keep! Today, I’d like to create a small savings account to celebrate that we’re still together and our commitment under God.
For me, weddings are always a Sunny Day event. They inspire romance and rekindle that spark with my own husband! SunTrust makes it easy to save money for a wedding – whether it’s your own, for a loved one, or a vow renewal. Visit their site to calculate what you need to save money for the wedding of your dreams, or to get to your loved one’s wedding. They can answer your questions and get you started with a personal account.
My Sunny Day was when I married Chris is firmly in my heart, along with the weddings of all my loved ones, as cherished memories. Take the steps today so you don’t miss out on those memories with your friends and family!
SunTrust has the tools and resources to help you achieve your sunny day. Find out how SunTruest Bank can help you enjoy the things that matter most to you.
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you. They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.