10 tricks to avoid
just getting invited to a wedding can bring on the wedding bell blues -- especially
when you think how all of the hidden costs can rip a gaping hole in your pocketbook.
But there are many ways to minimize the damage. Here
are a few suggested by Deborah Meehan, a Scotts Valley, Calif., wedding consultant
and Rose Smith, a wedding adviser in Albuquerque, N.M.
- Forget the registry
- Be creative
- It's the thought that counts
- Strength in numbers
your talent: Volunteer as the reader of a poem, singer, musician
or any other special talent you can offer to make a dent in the cost of the wedding.
Perhaps you're pretty handy with calligraphy, photography, graphic design or even
sewing. It's cheaper than, and just as supportive as, being a bridesmaid.
Forget the registry: You
don't have to buy a gift from the registry and you don't have to buy it from the
store at which she's registered. If you're a savvy shopper you can find a great
alternate gift -- or even the exact item from the registry from a less-expensive
store or through an online auction.
big: They say good things come in small packages, but when your
present falls between the cracks of the gift table you'll kick yourself. Big gifts
are more impressive than small ones. A dozen drinking glasses at $50 look more
impressive than a single silver napkin ring at the same price.
creative: Giving your old friend a 20-year-old reading primer from your
days together at kindergarten, or handing over a scrapbook or basket with five
or six small items related to her special interests can save a bundle.
Go pro: Have your gifts
wrapped professionally. The extra few bucks will make them look more important.
It's the thought that counts:
If you're invited to more than one shower, don't buy more than one shower
present. A nicely-written letter telling how special she is to you will do the
second time around.
having fun: If you have to host a pre-wedding event, find a low-cost
alternative such as a sleepover, or a makeover evening. A few bucks on cosmetics
can be a lot cheaper than taking a dozen bridesmaids to bars and a restaurant.
Strength in numbers:
Save on travel by driving rather than flying or carpool with other guests. And
maybe even share hotel accommodations.
It's often cheaper to get a seamstress to create something, and if all the bridesmaids
collaborate, all could have custom dresses they can reuse.
Divide and conquer:
If you feel that you must bring a gift to every shower you're invited to,
select something that can be divvied up and presented in stages. For example,
break up that bath ensemble into separate boxes -- bath towels in one, hand towels
and wash cloths in another, and so on.