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How To Manage Your Wedding Invitations Like A Pro (Part 2)

Managing your wedding invitations like a pro can be somewhat tricky if you are not sure where to start, how to start, and how much to budget. There is so much to know that we needed to break this up into two posts.

 

Yesterday, we discussed when you should order and send out your invites and how much should you budget for them. We also went over the fact that postage is a separate cost outside of the actual invitation itself, so we went over how much you should budget for postage and what elements of your invitation can cause postage to increase.

 

Today is Part 2 of our guide to wedding invitations. We’re going to talk about the type of wording you should have on your invitations, what enclosures go in your invitation, how you should address them, why you should be ordering your invitations locally rather than through online shops, and the perceived difference your guests might have about your wedding if they receive an electronic invite rather than a traditional paper one.

 

RELATED: How To Manage Your Wedding Invitations Like A Pro (part 1)

 

Now, if you read down to the bottom of yesterday’s post, you would have seen that we’re going to be offering you a very special gift. Stephanie McHoul and Amy Eddy, co-owners of Graphic Nature LLC. in Fishkill, graciously provided us with an awesome invitation cheat sheet. Their infographic, “An Unofficial Guide to Wedding Stationery: The What, How, When and Other Tips,” is a great resource for you to easily see what trends are, common invitations terms are, what proper invite etiquette is and an ordering/mailing timeline that we spoke about in yesterday’s post.

 

Click the photos for a larger, printable view, then keep scrolling for Part 2.


 

What’s usually included in a wedding invitation (wording and enclosures)?

 

Frankie D’Elia, owner and creative director at Fitting Image Graphics, Inc. in Carmel, says, “Whether you are going for a more traditional or modern style, your wording should reflect your motif.  It should include the names of who is getting married, who’s hosting, and when, where and what time the ceremony will take place.”

 

In terms of enclosures, D’Elia says, “You will also want to include enclosure cards for your hotel accommodations (with your group name), reception, and RSVP.  Although not necessary, some couples want to give their guests notice of transportation times to and from the reception and a card highlighting things to do in the area, after party information, or breakfast details.”

 

We mentioned in Part 1 that RSVP cards need to be weighed separately because you will need postage for them as well. D’Elia says, “Providing your guests with a self-addressed and stamped envelope for the RSVP card is customary.”

 

How do you address your invitations?

 

wedding invitation

Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

There are so many ways you can address your invitations. Every couple is different, every style is different, and every wedding has a different vibe. My advice is to go with what is comfortable to you so it doesn’t sound like you’re trying too hard. I opted for handwritten, not super formal, not super casual addresses (Mr. & Mrs. for couples, dropped the title for friends, not in a ‘couple’). Kristal Walden, owner of Kristal Walden Graphic Design in Beacon says it all really depends on the type of wedding you want. Is it casual and laid back, or is it formal?

 

McHoul says, “If you want an ultra-formal wedding, do ultra-formal invites and addresses, otherwise no one is really going to notice.” However, Eddy says the names on the address label is really what’s most important. “The envelope does indicate who is coming to the wedding, if they can bring a guest or not, and if kids are invited.” McHoul says that when you order invitations, the couple provides the addresses. ”We give them (the couple) an Excel spreadsheet template to follow and we ask them to follow that and then we always ask them to please spell out everything they want to be spelled out.” For example, if you put “St.” but want the word “Street” spelled out, you need to submit it spelled out not just the abbreviation.

 

D’Elia agrees that the way you address your invites it totally up to you. “Some couples hire calligraphers while most of our clients ask us to print their guests’ addresses directly onto the envelope saving time, effort and money,” he said. “The formality of addressing the outer envelope is typically more traditional with the appropriate corresponding title of your guest followed by his/her full name. Using colloquial names or nicknames are uncommon, but of course, it’s your wedding so you can be as creative and individualistic as you want.” He does note that with growing families and blended families, the wording can get a bit tricky, so he suggests always reaching out to your stationer for help with whatever questions you have.

 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TONE OF YOUR INVITES

 

Why is it best to order local rather than from an online shop?

 

You know I’m all about supporting Hudson Valley businesses, and that being said, nothing beats speaking to someone face-to-face rather than someone from a different part of the country through email. It makes all the difference.

 

The first benefit is that you all can work together face-to-face and have a real-time conversation. McHoul says, “We always want to see their Pinterest board because they normally have one, and they will often times bring a swatch from their bridesmaid’s dresses, and we literally just talk.” You can’t really do that over the phone.

 

Second, Walden says doing your own invites is a lot of work, especially if something goes wrong (I can vouch for that). Having someone local take over that part of planning for you is priceless. You don’t have to worry about running out of ink, formatting issues, misspelled words or needing to order more of your invite only to find out that the store or online shop discontinued that design.

 

wedding invtiation

Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

Third, D’Elia, says a local stationer, through your conversations and getting to know you, can really customize something personalized and true to your vision. He also says you could actually end up spending more money ordering online. “If you notice a price online that’s too good to be true, it probably is,” he said. “There are also usually hidden costs that you won’t recognize until after your order is ready to be processed. Also, the quality of paper and ink used are usually not optimal for representing a high-quality wedding invitation.”

 

He even says sometimes the online companies will put their logo on the back of the invite and has even had several of his couples come to him after having done the online route first and being disappointed with the product they received. They come in angry and frustrated that they are now spending money twice and doing double work.

 

Lastly, D’Elia says, “There is an added value of working with a small company which is they can give you time and attention to detail and that can create pretty much anything you can think of.  We want our clients to actually see our invitation samples and interact with it.  It makes a difference knowing exactly what the end result will look like.”

 

What are the perceived differences guests have between paper and electronic invitations?

 

Many couples may want to save money and the environment by sending electronic wedding invitations. Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all; but if that’s the decision you want to make, there are things you need to know.

 

D’Elia says, “Besides the fact that your invitation will lack the traditional feel, you run the risk that not all your guests will respond to you.  Not everyone has email, access to the Internet, or reads all their email.  Your evite might even end up in spam mail.” He says that while you might start off thinking it’s going to be very efficient, you may actually spend more time tracking RSVPs.

 

Another risk D’Elia says to watch out for in online wedding invitations is the perceived value guest have about your wedding. “You want your guests to think your wedding is the wedding of the year, not an afterthought. If you want to have your wedding details online, we suggest creating a wedding website instead. A wedding invitation is meant to not only inform, but also to get your guests excited and pumped for your wedding, and there’s no better way than receiving an exquisite invitation in the mail.”

 

 

We want to know how your wedding invitation process is going. Share with us your struggles or, if you’ve already sent out your invites, any tips you may have for those currently in the process.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

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wedding invitations

How To Manage Your Wedding Invitations Like A Pro (Part 1)

I made a mistake — a costly, stressful, bitter mistake. I wish I managed my wedding invitations like a pro, but I didn’t. I, like many of you, imagined I would save time and money by printing my own wedding invitations, and so that’s what I did.

 

I got to the store and couldn’t find any boxed DIY invitation kits that really matched our wedding, so I settled for something that was close enough. They had four boxes left, but I got two because that was more than enough for what we needed.

 

I spent hours searching for examples of wording to put on the invitation, finally mixing a sentence from here and a sentence from there to come up with something we liked. I then got on the computer and typed it all out, spent about an hour figuring out what font to use, formatted it, printed samples to make sure it printed correctly and then held my breath as I hit “PRINT” to print the final invites.

 

Halfway through printing, I ran out of ink, so I had to run to the store to get more cartridges, then came home and resumed printing. I finally had my stack of beautifully printed invitations and was ready to stuff and assemble them.

 

We stuffed almost all of them before realizing the name of the church was spelled incorrectly! WHAT???  I was panicked!!! About two weeks had passed since I had originally purchased the invitations, so I immediately ran back to the store in hopes that the last two packages of invitations were there (which they were), and I had to start all over again. Only this time, I also bought another package of ink cartridges just in case I ran out.

 

The intention was good, but the reality was something different. I didn’t save time or money, and it certainly made the whole process more stressful than it needed to be. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked the final product but didn’t necessarily love it, and I wish I had just hired someone to do them for us, in a style we liked that perfectly set the tone for our wedding and showcased our personality.

 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TONE OF YOUR INVITES

 

To help you avoid what I went through, local wedding invitation experts are sharing their advice so you can handle your wedding invites like a pro, without the added stress that I put myself through. Here are seven steps that will help you manage this part of your planning. There’s a lot to cover so today is part 1, and tomorrow will be part 2

 

When do you order your invitations and send them out?

 

wedding invitations

Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

When sending out your wedding invitations, you need to work backward. First, you need to establish an RSVP date. Frankie D’Elia, owner and creative director at Fitting Image Graphics, Inc. in Carmel, says, “Establishing a set RSVP four to eight weeks before the wedding is suggested so that you’ll have an idea of how many of your guests will be attending.” We set our RSVP date a month before our wedding and sent the invites a month before that date.

 

Jeanne Stark, owner of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says, “They (couples) want to mail them (invitations) out anywhere between two to three months prior to the wedding.” Of course it all depends on when your wedding is and what’s going on. If you are getting married on a busy weekend in the Hudson Valley, say during college homecomings or graduations, you might want to give a little more time because it will allow your guests to book hotel rooms in time before they sell out from others who are in the area for other events. Stark says, “I don’t recommend sending them (invitations) out more than four months before (the wedding) because the RSVP just gets thrown on the counter, and nobody sends it back.”

 

Ordering too far in advance is not good for another reason. “I’ve had some couples order a year out, which makes me a little nervous,” says Stark, “because times could change, locations could change. If you spend $500 on invitations, and three months later you’re almost ready to send them out and the venue calls and says you have to change the time, you’re stuck. So I usually will say around the six- to eight-month mark.”

 

How much should you budget for invites?

 

The first and MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is that the cost of your invitations DOES NOT include the cost of postage. That’s a separate cost altogether, as no one knows what that exact price will be when designing the invitation. We’ll talk about that next.

 

Another thing to remember is that you are not sending an invitation to every person, but rather to every household. Amy Eddy and Stephanie McHoul, owners of Graphic Nature, LLC, in Fishkill, say they see this mistake happen all the time when they ask couples how many invitations they’ll need. McHoul says, “’How many’ is not based on the guest list; it’s based on household address.” So, if you are inviting 300 people you’ll probably need about 150 (plus a few extra for keepsakes and photos) invites. It’s a common mistake because couples are always asked by everyone how many people they are inviting, so by the slip of the tongue, the number of guests comes out when asked how many invites they need.

 

wedding invitations

Photo Credit: Graphic Nature, LLC

That being said, there are many variables that determine the cost of the invitation. Paper, stamping, embellishments like foil or embossing, bellybands, pockets or shape of the invitation, laser cut paper, any inserts, etc. — it all adds up.

 

Kristal Walden, owner of Kristal Walden Graphic Design in Beacon, says there tends to be a misconception couples have when it comes to wedding invitations. “They definitely think that custom invites are going to be completely too expensive, when realistically, they’re not.” Walden says if the couple wants something very elaborate, they are going to pay more per invite, but she says, “Generally, couples usually spend $400-$500,” and if you ordered invitations online, it’s usually the same price, around $1-$1.25 per invitation (for a good base, knowing that you will add on to that).

 

D’Elia also says some couples want all their stationery to match. “There are a number of different wedding stationery necessities you will need,” she says, “from the engagement party, bridesmaids invites, save-the-dates, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding program, menu, and extras, such as gift tags, thank-you cards, etc.” If that’s something you are considering, speak to your stationer to see if they can put together a package for you.

 

RELATED: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR SAVE THE DATES

 

How much is postage?

 

NEVER mail out an invitation without weighing it first. Just take a finished sample, in the envelope, to the post office. Have them weigh the completed invitation, in the envelope, with RSVP card in it first, then take out the RSVP card and have them weigh that separately, too. You are going to need postage for both the invite and RSVP card. D’Elia says, “You don’t want to end up in a situation where you assume a standard postage stamp will suffice, and then your entire bundle of invites ends up back at your house all marked up with postal marks and stamps. The investment to ensure that your invitation has adequate postage will be worth it in the long run.”

 

Just as invitation costs fluctuate with embellishments, so does postage. If your invitation has a pocket, that adds weight. Bellybands, 3-D embellishments, etc. all add weight. If your invitation is square, that also costs more to send.

 

You also want to consider hand stamping your invitations. Hand stamping means that instead of your invitations going through a machine, a person goes through and manually does that. It’s great for delicate mailings like wedding invitations, but that also means more money. If your final envelope is lumpy or poofy in any way, if the envelope has a hard time sealing or has a wax seal, you want to consider hand stamping. Eddy says she always recommends hand stamping. “When an envelope goes through the machine,” she says, “it gets an ugly red barcode, and they get ripped sometimes before they even leave the post office.” Hand stamping ensures that your invitation arrives as unmarked and pristine as possible to your guests.”

 

Join us tomorrow, when we’ll not only discuss the next four steps to mastering your wedding invites like a pro, but also give you a very special gift from Stephanie and Amy over at Graphic Nature LLC. To help with all your wedding invitation needs.

Featured Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

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What You Need to Know About the Tone of Your Invites

There’s something about sending out wedding invitations, even more so than save the dates, that makes your wedding feel ‘real.’ This mailing will determine so much going forward. It determines your final guest count, it starts the ball rolling for seating charts, it gives you an idea of what your guests would like to eat, and believe me when I tell you that the first RSVP card you get back will make you squeal like a baby!
 

From the guest’s perspective, your invite is a treasure trove! Believe it or not, your invite is sending messages to your guests that go far beyond the who, what, where, and when.
 

Your invitations are actually giving your guests a sneak peek into you, as a couple and your style, and for some guests, that may be the first time they see this side of you. We already spoke about save the dates and what you need to know about them, but today we’re going to discuss wedding invitations in general.
 

Before we get down to the nitty gritty specifics in future posts, we want you to know that your invite is so much more than just a piece of paper. We asked local invitation experts to share their knowledge with you so that when it’s time for you to choose your invitations, you’re better prepared to make decisions. The unknown causes stress. My motto is: The more informed you are, the less stressed you get.
 

RELATED: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR SAVE THE DATES

 

Your invitation sets the tone for your wedding

 

Photo Credit: Graphic Nature, LLC

Most invitation experts agree that your invitation sets the tone for your wedding. Amy Eddy and Stephanie McHoul, owners of Graphic Nature, LLC, in Fishkill, sum it up nicely in the motto of their business: “You set the date. We set the tone.” Eddy says,“”it’s the only thing your guests receive ahead of the wedding to indicate what kind of event they are going to.” McHoul says your invite is your guests first look into what your day is going to be like and that ”The invitation is always going to be a timeless reminder” of that day.
 

”Nowadays everything is custom, and that’s what we do,” says Eddy. “Invitations should set the tone for the wedding, should reflect the couple, the day, it’s the only thing your guests are receiving that they can keep if they like.” And remember, it’s also one of the few mementos you and your family will keep also.
 

Frankie D’Elia, owner and creative director at Fitting Image Graphics, Inc. in Carmel, says, “Your wedding invitation is a reflection of you both as a couple and your personality. It is also your guest’s first glimpse of the feel and vibe of your wedding.” He suggests that before you select your invitations (and there is a reason why invitations are one of the last things you do in your planning process…more on that in future posts) to talk to each other about what you want your wedding to look like and if you want any special theming. He says Pinterest is a great venue for inspiration but the great thing about custom invites is that you can make them whatever you want. “We suggest that you save these ideas, and share them with us when we have our first meeting,” he said. “We specialize in creating completely unique invitations; we can even combine ideas or themes from you!” So, if you want a classic elegant and formal look, and your partner wants a sporty theme, going custom can help you achieve that, and also gives your guests an opportunity to get to know you better.
 

Kristal Walden, owner Kristal Walden Graphic Design in Beacon, reiterates a lot of the same points, saying your invite “sets the tone for the actual day, it sets the tone for the wedding, it sets the tone for what your guests are going to experience, what your guests are going to expect.” She tries to capture the couples personality in each and every design, because “You don’t want to pick a design that your guests are going to look at and say ‘this isn’t them!’ It needs to be you.”
 

RELATED: THE ONE THING THAT CAN RUIN YOUR WEDDING AND 4 WAYS TO PREVENT IT

 

Which brings me to my last point. If reading all that makes you even more stressed and worried about if you are going to do something “wrong,” don’t worry! Jeanne Stark, owner of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says there are no wrong choices and if you don’t want an invite that matches your theme, that’s OK! In the grand scheme, outside of you and your family “Nobody is even really going to remember what your invitations look like. The only ones who keep their invitations are the moms and the bride,” Stark says. “Go with what you like, go with what you can afford…it can be part of your theme, it can be something that sets the tone, but it doesn’t have to.”
 

Wedding invitation trends

 

Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics, Inc.

Remember, D’Elia said Pinterest is a great source for invite inspiration. However, scouring through Pinterest can be somewhat daunting if you don’t even know where to begin. So, we wanted to know what some of the latest trends real couples are choosing for their wedding invitations. Eddy and McHoul say the biggest trends they are seeing for the fall are softer neutral gold tones and deeper jewel-toned colors.
 

D’Elia says a lot of his couples have been requesting foil to make their invitations stand out. “Another trend we see is pocket invitations, which includes the invitation and wedding details (RSVP, accommodation card, hotel information, etc.) in one pocket. This is a very elegant and classy look and organizes all important wedding information into one place,” he says. Lastly, he points out that some couples even want that “WOW” factor…everything from custom shapes, laser-cut paper to look like lace, 3D effects known as quilling, to even invitations that light up…with real lights!! He says, “We even created wedding treasure maps and timelines as invitations.” So, as you can see, there is no right or wrong here. It really boils down to your personal preference and your budget.
 

In the next few weeks, we are going to dive deeper into the invite specifics, with a very special infographic to help you navigate the world of wedding invitations.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Design by Kristal Walden, photo by The Ramsdens

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Everything You Need To Know About Your Save The Dates

If you are getting married next summer, now is the time you should be sending out your Save the Dates (STD for short). Chances are, by now, you’ve been invited to a few weddings and received a STD in the mail, but for those who don’t know, a Save the Date is literally an invitation-type card, trinket or, in some cases, an e-mail or video, informing you that a wedding will be taking place on a certain day, that you are invited, and to expect a formal invitation in the mail closer to the time of the wedding.
 

RELATED: JUST ENGAGED? 3 IMPORTANT THINGS YOU SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT DO
 

Mailing your Save the Dates is a critical step in your planning process for many reasons. First, it forces you to create a guest list, which is the most important part of the whole planning process even bigger than choosing your date. You need to know who to send them to and your guest list and that number will help you determine the size and scope of your wedding, will help you determine the type of location you want, and the all-important budget. Second, STDs help you choose a date. You can’t send out a Save the Date without a date; that would be pointless.
 

However, while that does sound like a lot of work, it’s important to get the date and guest list done first. It will help you immensely with the rest of your planning as those are the two things every vendor you speak to will be asking you…when is your wedding and how many people are you inviting. They may ask you where you are having it too, but it’s not as important, yet.
 

RELATED: 12 WEDDING TRADITIONS YOU CAN SKIP, AND 5 YOU SHOULD KEEP (PART 2)
 

The good news is, that unlike invitations, STDs don’t need to have anything specific on it other than the date. You really just want your guests to book that date on their calendar. They don’t need to know specifics just yet because they unwritten rule is if you receive an STD, you will be getting a more detailed invitation at some point, at which time, guests can officially accept or decline.
 

To help you navigate through your Save the Dates, we asked Hudson Valley stationers and graphic designers for their advice:
 

When should you send out your Save the Dates?

 

Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

Frankie D’Elia, owner and creative director at Fitting Image Graphics, Inc. in Carmel, says, “There is not a universal timeframe for when to send out your Save the Dates,” but he always suggests that as soon as you know your date, let your guests know as soon as possible after that so they can secure that day. ”Keep in mind,” he says, “that you’ll want to give your guests as much notice as possible if your wedding falls around a holiday weekend. This is because people generally plan their vacations or days off from work around holidays and you’ll want to catch them before they make plans; your big day, of course, takes priority!”
 

Kristal Walden, owner Kristal Walden Graphic Design in Beacon, says, “Usually you send out your Save the Dates a year before your date.” However, she says, “If you don’t have a year out, send them out ASAP.”
 

“We say nine months to a year,” says Amy Eddy, co-owner of Graphic Nature, LLC in Fishkill. “Usually if it’s on a holiday weekend or if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, we say a year out.” Sometimes they have couples who come in six months before their wedding and want to send out Save the Dates. At that point, Eddy says, “We say don’t waste your money because in two months time you are going to work on the invitations.” However, she says, if you are in that situation and don’t send Save the Dates, she recommends sending out invitations a little earlier. More on that in the coming weeks.
 

RELATED: 8 EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY AS A WEDDING GUEST
 

What should be included on a Save the Date?

 

Photo Credit: Graphic Nature, LLC

Stephanie McHoul, also co-owner of Graphic Nature, LLC, says, “They’re usually pretty basic. If there’s no photo, first and last name (of the couple) are important, and then they (the couple) usually keep it very vague.” Sometimes they’ll put location in terms of city, usually never a venue name, but if the couple has a wedding website, they’ll include that. This way, guests can visit the website which the couple can update as they get more details or just list all their details at that time.”
 

Should the Save the Date match the invitation?

 

Because couples are coming in a year in advance of their wedding to do their Save the Dates, many details of the day are still unknown. Eddy says, ”Half the time they (couples) come here to do Save the Dates and it’s a year out from their wedding and they don’t really have their ‘vision’.” That’s OK. McHoul says, ”It’s nice if it’s complementary…I personally like it when things coordinate without being overly ‘matchy-matchy.’ ” Eddy says, “Most of the time it’s just a big photo with script font, save the date, and it’s very simple so it’s not so themed or specific.” That way it leaves room to design an invite the way you want that’s more specific to your theme or aesthetic once you know it.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

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8 Easy Ways to Save Money as a Wedding Guest

Planning a wedding is expensive, but sometimes being a wedding guest can be extremely costly as well. We love our friends and family, and we love that they are getting married, but if you get invited to several weddings a year, or even one every few years, it can be a source of a lot of anxiety and stress. Between gifts, travel, hotel rooms, showers, and what you are going to wear, being a guest is anything but cheap.

 

However, take a deep breath and relax. Part of the reason guests may feel so overwhelmed is because of preconceived notions they have about what a gift should be. First, and foremost, know that the rule that you should at least cover your plate is not the rule anymore. So that should make you feel a little better.

 

Second, you have to remember that most of the time, those who invited you know what’s going on in your life. They aren’t going to expect an expensive gift if they know your budget is strapped. Last, remember that you are invited to a wedding because the couple wants your presence, not your presents. They aren’t inviting you because of the gift they think you are going to give them, and if they are, you may not want to go to that wedding.

 

So, knowing that, I’m going to share 8 EASY ways to save money as a wedding guest without breaking the bank.

 

Save money on your wardrobe

 

Going to a wedding is a great excuse to go shopping for a new outfit, but this can be problematic if you are attending a lot of weddings or don’t have the extra money to spend on a new outfit. Here are some ways to get around that. First, take a look at your closet and see what you have. If you have a little black dress or even a dress you normally wear to business meetings, you can always jazz that up with accessories, sweaters or shoes that are considerably less than buying a whole new outfit.

 

Also, take a look at whose weddings you are going to. Chances are, most times guests who are at one wedding are not going to be at another you go to, so wearing the same outfit again, is not the end of the world. However, if you know some of the same people are going to be there, that’s where changing up your accessories can be a great help if you are worried that people might notice you are wearing the same outfit.

 

Photo Credit: JT Sander

Save money by just saying “No”

 

If your mailbox is getting flooded with wedding invitations and with each one you feel worse and worse, do yourself a favor and just say no. Just because you get a wedding invite, it doesn’t mean you have to go. Choose the ones that mean the most to you and just go to those only. If you are really troubled by saying no, talk to the couple and just explain your situation. You might be pleasantly surprised by their reaction.

 

Save money by making gifts

 

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

If you are crafty, have a special talent, provide services or love to cook, making a wedding gift is a GREAT alternative to buying a gift and is guaranteed to be more memorable than a check in an envelope. Some of the greatest wedding gifts I received were handmade and now decorate our home. If you provide a service, gift the couple a complimentary service. If you love to cook, make them a basket full of your homemade treats or meals that they can freeze and save for a rainy day. If you love to plan parties, suggest throwing brunch the next day at your home. When you think outside the box, there’s several alternatives to keeping your bank account in check.

 

RELATED: 5 Secrets to Being an Awesome Wedding Guest
 

Save money by taking advantage of hotel room blocks or cheaper alternatives

 

If you are attending a wedding out of town and need to stay overnight, always ask the couple if they have rooms reserved in a hotel room block. Check out the price before you book. Often times, hotel room blocks do come at a discounted rate, but not all the time. Even so, the discounted rate could still be pretty pricey. If it fits within your budget, great! If not, search the surrounding area for hotels that might be cheaper.

 

Save money by using coupons or sales on registry gifts

 

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

While many couples have a wedding gift registry, it doesn’t mean that you have to get those gifts from those particular stores. There are pros and cons to this. The obvious con is that if you decide to purchase an item from a registry list at a different store, there is no way for that couple, or other guests, to know that item was purchased, therefore the couple could end up with duplicate gifts.

 

The plus side to this is that by searching for the same gift at a different location, you could be saving a ton of money. Between coupons and sales, an item that costs $100 from the registered store could be half that somewhere else. This does take time to do the research to see where you can find that item cheaper, but if it means saving money, it might be worth it.
 

RELATED: 7 Practical Ways to Create Your Awesome Wedding Registry

 

Save money with free shipping

 

If you can’t find a gift anywhere else cheaper through coupons or sales, you might want to look for free shipping options. You could save quite a bit on shipping, particularly if an item is heavy. What you also want to do, if you get free shipping, is have the item directly shipped to the couple, this way, eliminating having to incur the cost of shipping the item you just had shipped to your house, shipped to them.

 

Save money by “chipping in”

 

If you and others you know are going to the same wedding, you might consider chipping in, not only with the gift, but with travel fares as well. You can all chip in a get the couple a great gift that all of you might not have been able to afford on your own. You might also want to consider carpooling and chipping in on travel costs such as rental cars, gas, tolls, or even hotel rooms. Consider rooming with those friends instead of getting a room all to yourself.

 

Save money by literally saving money

 

Last, but not least, if you do decide to go to all the weddings you’ve been invited to and want to give a gift or money, the best way to save money is by literally saving money. You know months in advance what weddings you are going to. Take a moment to sit down and make a list of all the expenses associated with those weddings and literally just start putting money aside each week to cover all your costs. A little bit each week will add up pretty fast.

 

What are some of the best ways you’ve saved money as a wedding guest?

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