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!
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.