Insider Tips To Surviving Wedding Gift Season
Invitations we wouldn't mind getting: by Groff’s Graphics
Simply Put... How Not To Go Broke This Wedding SeasonDo you find yourself cringing every time a new, highly decorated piece of mail files through your letter box? Is your calender starting to look more and more like a war field peppered with landmines? Are you feeling a tad Grinchy? If so you are far from alone. The once happy prospects of the traditional wedding season has taken on tones of a more ominous nature. This is because so many in the past have simply failed at being fun and people are starting to question why in the world they should have to pay for having a bad time? You have a point there but here at Gave That we tend to think about all of the delightful weddings over the years—how fun they were, touching, swoon worthy—and smile with how we have a backdoor way of doing things. Yes, there is a wild card to play.
"In 2008 an overwhelming number of those who took our poll said they would probably have to decline a wedding invitation due to an inability to afford gifts."
First, chances are your stack is a little less towering this year as there have been reports that weddings as a whole are down and, as can be seen by this delicious example via Coco+Kelley, many weddings have started to feel incredibly fun and intimate once again with all that needless showing off taken out of the picture. Along with these revelations there are ways to come through and celebrate a new marriage without going broke in the process or having to hide out for the rest of the year. Here's how:
Be Strategic, Should You Go or Sit It Out?
Being strategic and making plans beforehand is extremely important. Chances are even before the invitation hit the mail you knew from your friend, relative, loved one that they are going to be getting married soon. This is your notice to get ready and make plans (i.e. save up if you need to.) It's the out of the blue invitations that should have you asking yourself, is this something I need to do?
You have probably already heard the tongue in check yet sage advice that a person should bend over backwards for two types of people in their life: those who have been incredibly dear friends and those who are in a position to do something for you (think mentor, bosses, etc.). These are the people most deserving of your time and presence if possible. Try not to snub these events in favor of another wedding because it's your new boyfriends cousin whom you've never met or a so called relative who has never been a part of your life magically reappears.
Make a list and separate each wedding into a must go category and an I'll pass category. This will be something very personal and based on your finances and inclinations. Try not to let relatives interfere with your decisions.* Also consider only going to the religious service but not the reception so you're not obligated to pay for your plate or a bar tab and then send a gift later on. If declining make sure to do so or send your RSVP ASAP. This in itself can be considered a huge gift.
Set A Budget
Once you have your list of weddings that you're going to attend and decline think about a budget for all of the events collectively and do not deviate if at all possible. Divide and place in separate envelopes or put on gift cards the amount you will be spending on each wedding. Only spend that amount. Then ask yourself, for the weddings you decline will you be sending a gift? This is traditionally a very nice gesture and no your gift need not be from a registry. For the wedding(s) you will be going to you'll need to factor in travel, accommodations, what you'll be wearing and your gifts.
Saving On Your Wardrobe
We already covered this in the past in How To Be Social Without Going Broke. Tips include freeing yourself from the feeling you need to run out and buy new duds for each wedding. Dresses and suits that might end up being worn only once usually make poor use of cash. Instead think about getting one of those convertible dresses, like this one from Victoria's Secret, that can be worn numerous ways or buy a suit and have it tailored, changing it up with various ties, pocket squares and cuff links. Online sample sales are perfect aids as well. Remember that unless you're a member of the immediate family the chances of your picture being repeatedly taken are rather low. Few are going to notice you're wearing the same shoes or using the same clutch and if they do tell them it's your signature piece.
Saving On Gift Expenses
When it comes down to it Gave That is about giving and gifts so let's zero in and share the insider secrets on getting through this aspect of the wedding season which, in some cases, can end up being the most expensive. Firstly, wedding registries are not a part of proper historical etiquette. This is something manufactured and capitalized on by various retailers to funnel money into their company exclusively. Any bride or groom attempting to force guests into giving through one, especially now, is being unreasonable unless they know everyone extremely well and there is an understanding of some sort.
With that out of the way, one of the newest cache of savvy gift finds have been online private sample sales. Yes, I know this sounds strange as visions of cut tags and defaced, half broken merchandise runs through ones mind. That was the olden days. The online sample sales of today are all about liquidating, as quietly as possible, luxury goods that are simply backed up in the warehouse. In many cases these are the same pieces being featured in magazines and online but up to 80% off.
The trick is to keep a watch at the sites that provide the best gifts and not waste precious time on the ones that are mostly apparel focused. Our top picks include Gilt, RueLaLa, HauteLook and Joss & Main for their constant rotation of gift ideas including dinnerware, knives, candles, high end throws, and silver. These are all invitation only shopping destinations but don't fret because we have your invites, just click through out list here.
More Ways To Save:
- Buy yourself time. Traditionally wedding gifts can be sent weeks after the ceremony. If you know you'll have the funds then, worry about the gift later and send it on when it materializes.
- Buy your gifts using a reward program such as MyPoints.
- Use social media to your advantage. Before buying look up the retailer or company on Facebook or Twitter to see if they have released any codes for followers. Many companies are now using these sites to release special promotional codes that might last only 24 hours. This limited use can mean they never show up on established deal and coupon sites. A great list of recent twitter released codes is: cheaptweet.com .
- Remember that your gift should be for the couple as a whole. This is why many wedding gifts mimic housewarming gifts. Do not fall into the trap of buying individual gifts. For more in this see our past piece here.
- If you're newly dating someone and invited to a wedding, work out jointly buying a gift.
- Try not to waste money on gifts that end up being unwanted or unneeded. If you find yourself really on the fence about what to get the couple maybe you're not that good of friends after all. Try and ask, see what they do already have on their registry or go with a classic in a new form.
- Be a photog... be the backup photographer for the wedding and mail the prints to the newlyweds as your wedding gifts. This works especially well for Polaroids which are now being more rare and giving a Paparazzi treatment to the new couple. Talk about fun and unexpected. (One photographer suggests asking the couple for permission prior to doing your Paps number and also to keep out of the hired photographers way if there is one... thanks for the caveat.)
- Skip the entire wedding or the reception and only send gifts.
- Look for gifts already wrapped or retailers that have free gift wrap. Certain gifts such as candles for instance come already beautifully wrapped. For example D.L. & Co. is known for this.
- If you have to travel for the wedding see about turning in into a vacation buy adding extra days to your stay and seeing the local attractions. Find deeply discounted luxury stays at JetSetter.
- Combine giving to charity with giving your wedding gift. Look in our ever updating Give Twice area for gift picks that have the duel purpose of giving back to great causes.
*For those of you who are single, weddings continue to be a great place to meet new people in a traditionally spark inducing setting. You might want to try and go to as many as possible. This might mean doing a little shuffling and even nixing certain things out altogether (now is a great time to stop smoking!) so you can afford everything. See this article on how spending money doing things and on others can make a person happier compared to simply buying things for yourself as further motivation to take advantage of these social events.
Image: Groff’s Graphics
Do you have a tip to share about how to save this wedding season? If so do tell using the comments link below!
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