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Wedding season is busier and pricier than ever. Here’s how guests can save money

Click to play video: 'Wedding costs on the rise' Wedding costs on the rise
Couples getting married this year will be paying significantly more to walk down the aisle. The wedding industry is seeing rising costs and as Kylie Stanton reports, high inflation and labour shortages are to blame. – Jun 27, 2022

Talia Pankewycz, a 33-year-old living in Toronto, once received seven wedding invitations in one year.

To lower expenses, she attended five of them, but since she was in the wedding party for two and travelled to her hometown of Winnipeg for four, the costs were still significant.

“Saying ‘no’ to things is really hard in the face of someone expecting a ‘yes’ both because you want the people you love to be happy and because we grow up thinking we need to have good reasons to miss these events,” she said.

While you don’t have to attend every celebration you are invited to, figuring out how to incorporate these events into your budget can make wedding season easier on your wallet.

Read more: Wedding woes — Getting hitched could cost 30% more amid inflation

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The cost of attending a wedding this year is expected to be even higher because soaring inflation has made everything from beauty services to air travel more expensive.

And as attendees budget to spend more on wedding costs, they also might find more celebrations in their calendars as COVID-19 restrictions lift.

Shannon Kennedy told The Canadian Press earlier this month that the 2022 season is forecast to see the largest number of weddings taking place worldwide.

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Easy DIY designs to give your wedding day a personalized touch – May 14, 2022

“You have people who have postponed from 2020 and 2021 and then … couples who just always intended to get married this year,” said the owner of Ottawa-based Kennedy Event Planning.

Saijal Patel, financial wellness consultant at Saij Wealth Consulting, estimates that wedding goers can expect to spend $300 on a local wedding and $1,000 or more when heading out of town.

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Attendees who find themselves part of the wedding party or travelling to destination weddings will pay even steeper costs.

If you know that you’ll likely be attending two or more weddings in the year ahead, try to create a wedding attendance savings account or bucket so that you’ll have a cushion built up, Patel said.

To get a head start, you might begin putting $50 away each month, or whatever number is feasible for you. Then, when wedding details emerge, you can start budgeting with concrete numbers to account for estimated expenses.

“My personal thing is I always add an extra 10 per cent of padding so it doesn’t stress me out as much,” Patel said. “There’s always these little unexpected things that come up.”

For example, you might not have accounted for taxes on an Airbnb rental for an out-of-town wedding or a surprise brunch the day after with the wedding party or other guests.

You’ll also want to think strategically about what costs you can reduce.

When it comes to getting the best flight deal, book flights early, Patel said. And, when possible, try to split accommodation and travel costs with friends and family. This could mean sharing a car rental or carpooling to the big day.

The advice to get a head start also applies to gift registries.

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“I always say pick early so you have choices within your budget,” Patel said.

Read more: Ukrainian couples get married amid war: ‘We don’t know what will happen tomorrow’

When it comes to outfits, many people have it in their minds to buy something new for each wedding. “It’s a money waster,” Patel said.

“Go classic and then change it up with accessories,” she added.

That might mean switching up ties with your suit or for dresses, changing your hairstyle, shoes, jewelry and other accessories.

If you can borrow outfits from a friend, that’s even better, Patel said.

“If I have multiple weddings in a year I’m not shy about wearing the same dress to multiple events, or pulling one out of my closet instead of buying something new,” Pankewycz said.

Since many of the weddings she attends are in her hometown of Winnipeg, she’ll also use a travel rewards credit card program so she can rely on the points to fly.

To cut expenses further, Pankewycz will also sometimes skip wedding associated events, like bachelorette parties, showers or socials, especially those involving travel and longer stays away from home.

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“Invitations are just that: invitations,” she said. “Any event or cost is, in the end, optional. It may not always feel that way but letting go of expectations can be really helpful.”

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