Summer wedding season is right around the corner, bringing its yearly bonanza of bridal showers and bachelor parties, destination trips and champagne toasts. While there are few things more wonderful than sharing the joy and delight of a young couple setting out on their future together, all those presents and plane tickets can add up -- especially if you're looking at a calendar packed full of joyous nuptials.
With that in mind, we've compiled a few of our favorite tips for saving on your wedding expenses. Take a peek -- and let us know if we've missed any of your top ideas.
Summer Wedding Savings Tips for Guests
Marriages are all about fidelity, which makes loyalty programs a perfect fit when it comes to planning your summer wedding trips. Instead of focusing on getting the cheapest hotel room, car rental or plane ticket for each wedding, you might consider comparison shopping for the best loyalty programs. Not only can they save you on your initial costs, but -- depending on the program -- they might even help you pay for a honeymoon of your own.
Presents are nice, but between the showers and brunches, parties and receptions, it can sometimes seem like the run-up to a wedding is less a blessed occasion and more a marathon fundraiser. If you're afraid that your parade of gift giving is going to leave you scrambling to make the rent, one good tip is to set yourself a budget for each wedding. Placing a limit on your spending can leave you feeling like you've given enough, rather than been had.
There's a little-known etiquette rule: If you're buying a ticket to Tahiti to see the happy couple get hitched, you don't need to bring a toaster along for the ride. Or, to put it another way, if you're going to a destination wedding, your attendance is gift enough (although a bottle of champagne is always a nice gesture...)
If you are looking at buying a long list of wedding gifts, why not try one of the classic recipes for wedding bliss: helping out with the big day itself. If you know how to bake wedding cakes or arrange flowers, you've already got the kind of skill that can cut your gift-giving expenses. If not, you might think about offering to kick in a case of wine for each of your friends' weddings ... then, make a bulk deal with your local wine merchant and see if you can cut your costs even further.
Little known fact: You are not contractually required to use the gift registry. If the only things left on the list are a $300 food processor and a $500 set of towels, it is perfectly acceptable for you to get something else. For that matter, you can buy a gift card, kick in with a group of friends to buy a big-ticket item ... or even go to a different store altogether.
Tuxedo rentals are one of the biggest clothing scams going: A weekend rental generally costs $100 or more -- about as much as you'd pay to buy a basic model. Admittedly, if you purchase, you aren't going to get whole lot for that price -- your tux will be polyester or rayon, not wool, and won't be a brand name. Then again, since you own it, you can get it tailored to fit perfectly. And if you're going to need it a few times in the next few years, even a higher-end tux can quickly pay for itself. Best of all, it won't smell like the last occupant -- and that's a wedding gift that's truly priceless.