Whether you’re a guest or a member of the wedding party, the costs of wedding season can easily add up. If you have several friends getting married this summer, it’s wise to open a savings account early to budget for the expenses. With this helpful guide, we’ll show you the average wedding gift cost, how to give within your budget, gift-giving etiquette if you’re not attending, and other expenses to budget for like travel and accommodations.
How much to spend on a gift
This is going to depend on several things, including your budget and how close you are to the happy couple. It may also depend on how many other wedding events you will be attending for that couple. TheKnot.com provides the average wedding gift costs for 2013, and they can be pretty steep: $79 for a friend and $146 for a family member. But these are just guidelines; the site also suggests you closely examine your personal finances and do what works best for you. The bride and groom will often appreciate a personal gift that is more thoughtful than expensive.
If you are attending multiple events for the bride and groom, it’s even more important to understand how the average wedding gift cost impacts your overall spending and gift budget for other wedding festivities. The wedding gift should be about 50-60% of your total wedding budget for that couple, while a bridal shower gift should be around 20-25%. An engagement gift, if there is a party, should be around 20% of the budget, and a bachelorette gift should be around 5%. If you are invited but cannot attend the wedding, it is still customary to send the bride and groom a gift, so make sure this is factored into your spending plan. And if you have multiple weddings this season, it’s crucial to create a budget so you get a better sense of the big picture and what you can afford.
How to save on wedding gifts
One of the best tips for saving on wedding gifts is to look at the registry early and go in on a group gift with friends. This helps ensure you will have a larger selection of items to choose from in your price range and helps you get the couple a great gift without going over budget. You can also go off the registry if you know the couple well, or give gift cards or cash. There’s almost always something a couple forgot to register for or didn’t receive, and a gift card for the store they’re registered at can help the bride and groom cover the cost of those items.
What costs to expect if you’re in the wedding party
If you’re in the wedding party, Forbes suggests the cost to be a bridesmaid is $540. This accounts for your dress, shoes, hair and makeup, bridal showers, the bachelorette party and travel and accommodations for the big day. Plus, you’ll also have all the gift costs you would have if you were just attending. If you’re asked to be in multiple weddings this season, look for ways to cut back like having your nails done in a more affordable salon, asking a close friend to style your hair and possibly staying in a more affordable hotel. Make sure you talk to the bride about these things and make yourself available to spend time with her and the other bridesmaids while they get ready.
How to save on travel and more
If you’re just attending the wedding, Forbes says the average cost for a guest is $339 – without the gift. This includes travel costs, accommodations, wardrobe updates and more. If you’re looking to save on wedding attire, consider purchasing one outfit for wedding season that you can style in multiple ways, or by borrowing something from a friend.
Trying to save on travel? If you have friends nearby or along the way that are willing to carpool, you can save a lot more than if you drive or fly alone. While you’re on the road, try to cut back on eating out and make healthy snacks for yourself and your travel companions. You can also cut down on the cost of a hotel room by sharing it with a friend or two. If you’re the adventurous type, you can save money by camping out with friends before or after the wedding. Or, take advantage of the time to visit with friends in the area and ask if you can stay at their place for a night. Whatever you chose, make your arrangements early to get the best deals.
Open a savings account for all your expenses this wedding season
If you’re invited to attend or participate in several weddings this season, it’s extremely important to budget for your expenses. Saving a little at a time throughout the year can make the final costs less overwhelming and give you a better sense of the big picture expenditures. Use the average wedding gift costs listed above and other expenses to inform your budget. Then scale back as needed to make it fit into your annual budget.
After you have an idea of what you need to save, open an account and begin making regular deposits toward your goal. You may even want to take advantage of bank CD rates and open a certificate of deposit as wedding season approaches to earn more interest on your funds in a short period of time. It’s important to enjoy this time of celebration with your friends, but it’s also important to stay financially stable throughout the year.
Sponsored content was created and provided by RBS Citizens Financial Group.