A Summer Bridesmaid: How to Make it All Happen
If you're somewhere between the age of 25 to 35 you've likely stood in a wedding or will be standing in a wedding and attending multiple between the months of May and September. On top of that you could be planning and trying to save for your own! My friends and I are in the thick of it now at ages 27/28. Currently this summer, I'm a bridesmaid in one wedding, attending four more and planning/saving for my own in April of 2012. It's a great and memorable time in our lives, but I don't just breeze through it. I am aware I need to be heavily organized this summer with my schedule so not to miss an event or forget another, and that I have to save for some things too.
So... here's some of my advice/tips for making it through this busy wedding season with a smile, money in your pocket, and memories of good times:
1) Start saving! Attending weddings and standing in weddings can be expensive. The minute a close friend of yours gets engaged, SAVE! Even if you don't know if you're a bridesmaid at that point, and maybe you won't be a bridesmaid, at least you'll have money saved to help you if you are or extra spending cash in the bank if you aren't! If you've got six weddings happening between now and September, open the account now. It's never too late to save! I started back in April of this year for this summer, setting aside $25 every two weeks to help me balance out my accounts. I want to have fun and enjoy these events with my friends, not stress about if I can afford them or not. So it's a great feeling knowing that I can, and won't be worrying about my Visa bill afterwards. (But there's also a time to say "no" when the cost gets out of hand... see "It's okay to say NO" below.)
2) Prioritize. Invited to two events on the same weekend or day? You don't have to say yes to everything. For example, I am invited to a Bachelorette on a Saturday for one bride in my city, and a Shower on the Sunday for another bride whose wedding I'm standing in, that's located over 200 miles away. Since I'm a bridesmaid for the bride having the shower event, of course I wouldn't miss that! Am I going to try and juggle both, and stress myself out with going to the Bach then waking up at 5:00 am to make it to the shower in time? No. Am I disappointed I'm missing both events? Yes. But I know I'll be attending another event for the bride whose bachelorette I'm missing. Just because you can physically drag yourself to both, doesn't mean you have to. Sometimes, you have to prioritize. And you'd be surprised if you talk to the bride, that I bet she'd be really understanding.
3) It's okay to say NO. There's going to be instances where you really just can't do it all, either because of time, double booking, or finances. For example, let's say you've planned a weekend away at your parents cottage, and three weeks before receive an invite to a shower or bachelorette you didn't think you were going to be invited to, it's okay to say "sorry, can't make it." Why? If they were a close friend, you'd likely have been informed sooner of the event. Secondly, you can always say no and still send a card and gift if you choose. This goes for weddings as well. But think hard before you decline a wedding invitation about your relationship with the bride and/or groom. And remember, if you're not that close, and you're wondering why they invited you, maybe they're secretly wishing you say no to help keep their numbers down.
If you're a bridesmaid, and the Maid-of-Honour is saying you have to go to Vegas for the Bachelorette, and you're smiling but secretly sweating buckets about the cost, then speak up! Suggest that option might not be within everyone's budget. But my rule of thumb is if you turn an idea down, always come to the table with a new one. Don't just say "no" and not give suggestions. And remember, sometimes people get carried away when planning events like these because they obviously want the best for their friend, but sometimes they also need someone to help keep them grounded.
And, if you really can't afford to attend an event, then be honest with the bride or groom and don't put yourself through financial woes. A good friend understands!
Remember, weddings are a time of joy and celebration. Your summer shouldn't feel like it's full of "obligations" rather than good times and parties and events with friends and family. If you're finding yourself overwhelmed and stressed, you may need to reevaluate your level of commitments.
On Slice: The slice.ca Wedding Guide
On FoodNetwork.ca: All things wedding on Foodnetwork,ca
On HGTV.ca: All things wedding on HGTV