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10 tricks to avoid wedding-guest blues

Sometimes 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.

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  1. Gift your talent
  2. Forget the registry
  3. Think big
  4. Be creative
  5. Go pro
  6. It's the thought that counts
  7. Girls having fun
  8. Strength in numbers
  9. Recycle
  10. Divide and conquer

Gift 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.

Think 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.

Be 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.

Girls 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.

Recycle: 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.

-- Posted: June 24, 2004




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