Ah, wedding season. The happy, yet at times exhausting summer period where it seems as if a friend gets married every weekend. As you move through your 20s, making it through wedding season will likely become an annual practice. So, we put together a survival guide to help you brave the nuptials and have lots of fun doing so.
Be on the lookout for nosy relatives
There’s always going to be that grandmother who jabs you in your chest and asks when you and your significant other will get married, or the aunt who asks loudly at cocktail hour, “When’s your big day?” Having a conversation with your relatives can be easier — and hopefully more pleasant for all of you — if you follow a few simple tips. Try smiling and calmly changing the subject to something else. By talking as little as possible about the question you were just asked, you ultimately avoid any prolonged awkwardness. Chances are, conversation will return to the couple actually getting married.
You could also crack a joke or two to lighten the mood. Pick your favorite late bloomer celebrity and quip that “So-and-so didn’t win their first Oscar until age 35!” or “Did you know [name of famous person] didn’t marry for the first time until they were 40?” Your relatives should get the message.
Don’t let finances rain on your parade
Weddings can be extremely expensive for guests, particularly for those just a few years out of school. According to a recent report, 40 percent of wedding guests said they skipped a wedding due to costs. In 2016, the average cost per wedding guest was a whopping $703. Before you go into debt, consider a few easy ways to reduce the price tag.
My boyfriend and I like to give a gift card tucked into a romantic and fun greeting card with a thoughtful personal message written inside. Brides and grooms are going to look back on their wedding photos and remember you being there, not that you bought them the latest gadget or paid for a significant chunk of their honeymoon.
Another affordable gift-giving solution is making a donation to one of the bride and groom’s favorite charities. Some couples even set up charitable wedding gift-giving using sites like JustGive.org.
For more affordable wedding attire, dresses and suits can always be bought secondhand (or better yet, borrowed from friends). Poshmark and Rent the Runway are great ideas for wedding guest outfits at a fraction of the cost.
Going solo is perfectly fine
If you’re single, there’s no pressure to find a plus one to bring along. Weddings are joyful occasions and oftentimes a reunion of family and friends, so have fun! Find people you know you love being around and spend time with them. You’ll have plenty of memories to cherish when the night’s over.
Leave the drama at the door
If you are a bridesmaid or groomsman in the wedding party, a lot of personal feelings can come to the surface. If you’re single, you may feel jealous of the happy couple. If you’re in a rocky relationship, you may feel a bit down that you’re not in as good of a place as the couple getting married.
Keep joy at the forefront, and remember that at its core, the day is all about celebrating love and commitment. Emotions during a romantic and at times overwhelming day can be tough to keep in check, but if you put aside what’s coming to the surface just for that day, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself and celebrate the happiness of the newly married couple..
What to do if you have to miss a wedding
Sometimes, there will be multiple weddings in a season, and it’s difficult to get to them all. Don’t be afraid to say no. Chances are, friends will understand if the timing doesn’t work out to make the trip across the country or if you can’t afford to make it to their destination wedding. Send a thoughtful gift and arrange a time to meet and celebrate their special day. Pick a weekend to meet up at your favorite beach later in the summer, or make reservations at your favorite restaurant the next time you’re all together.
Check out Shutterfly for personalized gifts that will remind the couple how special they are. I’m a personal fan of the mounted wall art and table runners with places for photos. Whatever you choose to do, your friends will appreciate the effort you make.
Cheers and happy wedding season!