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Saving Money Amid the 2021 Wedding Boom

May 25, 2021

Although the pandemic has brought on many hurdles and challenges throughout the year, it fortunately has not stopped people from celebrating major life milestones with loved ones, including weddings. And while weddings are a joyous occasion, they can also be stressful in some ways. Whether you’re a maid of honor, bridesmaid, family member, or friend, being a guest of any kind at a wedding (though rewarding) can become expensive, and this can start to feel like a burden if you’ve got more weddings on the near horizon.

In 2021, we’re about to see a boom of wedding events for couples whose weddings had been scheduled for 2020 and had to be postponed for 2021 on a smaller scale to be socially distant, along with weddings for couples who got engaged in 2020 and scheduled their wedding for a year out. On top of that, these weddings will likely cluster around the warmer months so that they can be help outdoors to accommodate social distancing guidelines.

This means you’ll potentially need to spend on parties, gifts, and outfits for multiple weddings at the same time—and it can be tough to budget or monitor your spending when there’s so many things going on at once, especially amid a pandemic when your income and/or cash flow may be different than in years past.

Here’s some advice for how you can save some money during this upcoming wedding boom:


Go virtual whenever possible

If you’re in one or more bridal parties this year, you may feel pressure to plan elaborate celebrations of the same caliber you would’ve pre-pandemic, but everyone should be understanding if this isn’t the case this year.

Take the time now to map out a loose plan as a group in an effort to level-set expectations before it’s too close to the date, but be sure to take things day by day and hold off on putting any deposits down or committing any money to avoid ever-shifting restrictions from impacting your plans.

Don’t stress yourself out over the bachelorette party or bridal shower; the point of these gatherings is to come together as a group and celebrate the bride. Rather than spending money on booking a venue or taking a trip, consider hosting via Zoom or at someone’s house in a socially distant manner if it’s a smaller group. You can always have a belated celebration once the pandemic has subsided and financial situations have mellowed out a bit.

Get crafty

There’s always a ton of pressure to give the best gift or buy the best thing on the couple’s registry, but this year is bound to be different. Don’t sweat the price tag of the gift; instead, focus on the sentiment, because even if you feel like you have to get the couple an extravagant gift, a DIY gift from the heart can go a long way.

You can create a scrapbook with photos of the couple, a video montage that could be played at the wedding, or something else unique that tells the story of their relationship. These are just a few cost-effective gifts, but ones that are sure to tug on their heart strings and ones that they will remember forever.

And if you’re hosting an at-home socially distant gathering for the bridal party, you can DIY party decorations. Or, you can still keep costs down by decorating with more budget-friendly decorations like streamers and balloons and using plastic dishes and cutlery—this also means you won’t have to keep track of who’s touching what dish or what needs to be cleaned!

If you don’t want to DIY, keep it simple

If DIY isn’t your thing, there are still ways to gift without breaking the bank. You could get the couple a nice frame to put their favorite wedding picture in, a memento box for them to keep their wedding rings in, or a locket with photos of each of them on either side.

And if the bridal party agrees on going virtual for celebrations leading up to the wedding but none of you want to scale back on gifting, you can all put a chunk of what would have gone towards these events (maybe a third or half of the total amount, depending on how much) towards one collective nice gift from the group.

If it’s someone very close to you and you want to get them a nice gift but can’t afford to at this time, consider giving a DIY or budget-friendly gift for the time being, and then when your finances have stabilized, get them the gift you originally wanted to. It’s important that you don’t stretch yourself too thin right now. Ultimately, the ability to pay your bills and cover other necessary expenses far outweighs gift-giving of any kind, and not getting the couple a costly gift now doesn’t mean you can’t give a nice belated gift in the future.

Hold off on buying a new outfit

If you’re not in the bridal party but you are going to be a guest at a number of upcoming weddings, hold off on buying a new outfit and wear something that you already have—even if that means you’ll be wearing it a few times this year.

There is no shame in re-wearing! It’s better for the environment, your wallet, and your sanity, since you won’t have to go through the hassle of trying on new clothes or shopping in person.

If you haven’t attended a wedding before or you simply don’t have a wedding-ready outfit, you should consider renting clothes through an online subscription-based fashion service like Rent the Runway, especially if you have multiple weddings scheduled throughout the year. While it’s not free like wearing your own clothes, you could wear designer dresses at significantly discounted prices—think as low as $30! They even have a designated “Wedding Guest Dresses” category, which could be a great starting point for your search.

If you’re the bride or groom, go easy on your guests

It’s so important that this year, of all years, you let your wedding party, friends, and family know that you understand this year is different and that you are open to anything they are able to contribute, even if just their time and presence.

You should also consider holding off on creating your registry; but, if you do create a registry, be mindful of the price tag, as everyone’s financial situation has shifted in some way during the pandemic. Let your guests know that they don’t have to get you something if they’re unable to or if they’re pursuing their own savings goals.

 

We’re all putting unnecessarily high levels of stress onto ourselves (financial and otherwise), so it’s important that we are understanding of each other’s capabilities and that we all stay connected, open, and honest—especially when it comes to money and gifting.

Take a moment to recalibrate and remember what’s most important, and when you find those moments of joy throughout this upcoming wedding boom, hang onto them!

Erin Elis 
Erin Ellis
Accredited Financial Counselor ®
Philadelphia Federal Credit Union
eellis@PFCU.COM
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