Wedding bells are in the air as wedding season approaches, but money worries may be getting the way of your excitement. It can get costly, and not just for the hosts. For many, weddings mean scraping together money to afford everything from an outfit to wear to the perfect gift for the happy couple. According to Bankrate, guests attending the wedding of a close friend or family member spend $628 on average. Weddings can really add up which means your wallet could be in trouble. However, don’t fret!
If you’ve got back to back weddings this season, there are plenty of ways you can cut costs without cutting corners.
Preparing for Wedding Season
Start the season off right by giving yourself a budget. Consider every wedding you are going to, where they are located, etc. Don’t try to stretch what you can’t afford. Be honest with yourself about what you have overall and then you can worry about what to spend for each individual wedding. Trying to budget for each wedding individually makes it easier to lose track of money and you may get yourself into debt. Consider everything from the obvious such as hotel arrangements to smaller things such as whether or not it is a cash bar.
Once you have your budget, you can also start saving up for the events. If there are some you want to go to and feel you just can’t miss, save up a little extra so you have some more wiggle room. You should always work on your personal savings, but this can be a goal for you to have in mind. I would suggest keeping your savings account separate from your wedding guest fund. Having a specific number to work towards can make getting there much easier and give you the motivation you need to get there.
Be honest with yourself about what you have overall and then you can worry about what to spend for each individual wedding.
There is no shame in not purchasing a brand new dress for every wedding you attend. Many dresses now can be worn in different ways, giving you the opportunity to have a new look for every occasion. Mix and match various shoes and accessories to help change the look even more. You should also check out your friend’s closets. Swapping clothes is a great way to get new looks without having to spend any cash. The same goes for shoes as well. You can also get old bridesmaid dresses tailored into shorter cocktail dresses. This way you will get more use out of them.
Lodging and Travel
Hotels can cost a fortune. If you have friends going to the same wedding with you, it may be a good idea to consider splitting a room with them. You could also look into cheaper options such as Airbnb or stay with a friend in the area. Sometimes even the hosts of the wedding will receive a discount on a hotel if they plan on staying over, check with the happy couple. The same goes for getting to the venue. Whether you are traveling out of state or going somewhere close, the costs can add up. Consider carpooling to the venue with friends as well. You can all split the costs for either gas or the Uber, whatever it may be.
Consider carpooling to the venue with friends as well. You can all split the costs for either gas or the Uber, whatever it may be.
Gifts straight from the registry are often the most expensive ones. If you cannot afford them, there is no shame in giving what you can.
They are called “gifts” for a reason, they are entirely optional. You should at the very least bring a card but there are plenty of other viable gift options other than expensive registry gifts.
Shop around for the same gift just at other stores. You may get a better deal or have coupons that you can use. There is also no shame in giving the happy couple cash, a check, or a gift card to the store their registry is with. Your budget should include specific gift amounts for each wedding. Those you are closer with maybe you spend more on, but that is at your discretion. Remember, to stick to your budget when it comes to a gift you don’t want to be left paying a very expensive credit card bill for months just to impress whose getting married.
Don’t be afraid to tell your friends money is tight; there is no shame in that.
Salon services can cost a fortune. There are much more budget-friendly alternatives.
Hair and Makeup
Salon services can cost a fortune. There are much more budget-friendly alternatives. Local makeup brands such as Sephora offer to do your makeup when you purchase an item at a certain cost. There is also no shame in doing your hair and makeup yourself! Give yourself time to practice different looks and styles so you have time to get it right! There are plenty of DIY videos all over the internet for you to learn from.
You may find you that you have to budget for other events such as the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends money is tight; there is no shame in that. It’s the thought that counts after all. This is where splitting up tasks and gifts with other people will go a long way. You can get them the expensive gift while still being budget-friendly. If it comes down to picking which events, you can go to there is no shame in that either, don’t be afraid to say “no”. When you financially overextend yourself, it takes away from the experience because you are thinking of that impending debt in the back of your mind. You’re not actually enjoying yourself and then it is just money wasted.
What Happens if I Do Acquire Post-Wedding Debt?
Sometimes debt happens! So long as you are living within your means and it does not get out of control, then it is ok. Debt doesn’t become an issue until it becomes unmanageable. If you have acquired debt now that all the weddings have come and gone, focus on that balance.
It is a good idea to incorporate debt you accrued into your monthly budget. It’s easy to lose track of it but incorporating it into your budget forces you to pay it off in a timely manner.
Look at the minimum payment you have and consider the interest rate. If you can afford to pay more than the minimum I highly encourage you to do so; you will pay off the debt sooner and save money on the interest. While you may want to go all out for a friend of family members wedding you have to keep in mind your own financial goals short-term and long-term. Expenses that come along with being a guest should fit into your budget and not interfere with your financial stability. Planning and budgeting accurately will keep you afloat during wedding season!
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."