So, your bestie is engaged. YAYYY. Now you get to empty your savings on a bridesmaid’s dress and limitless gifts for the happy couple. So blessed, so moved. Sticking to a budget and knowing what to buy (and when) is super important when it comes to the year-long procession of one soon-to-be-married couple’s showers, parties, and outings. Here’s a wedding spending guide covering what to buy, what to spend, and why so you can attempt to budget your life and not end up eating rice and beans from your pantry for three months after blowing hundreds on another person’s happiness. Gag.
Set A Budget
First rule is this: Set a budget for ALL of the gifts you’re planning on giving, and stick to it. So, if this is a sibling, best friend, or close family member, you want to probably stick to around $200-300 total. For coworkers or friends that don’t know your entire ex history or aren’t Facebook friends with all your family members, keep it around $100. Regardless of what your set budget is, don’t spend less than $30 on any gift unless you’re like, really poor.
Now it’s time for math. Of that set budget, you should break it up as such (according to The Knot):
- 20% on the engagement gift (if they’re having a party)
- 20% on the shower gift
- 60% on the wedding gift
I know math is hard (I majored in Communications based solely on the fact that I have personal issues with numbers), but keeping this guide handy will save you from blowing your alcohol budget hard-earned cash all at once. Also, if you’re only invited to the engagement party and not the shower or vice versa, throw that extra 20% on to the wedding gift, which ALWAYS needs to be the “biggest”.
The Engagement Party
Don’t get anything from the registry for the engagement party unless the bride (or groom) specifically asks you. They probably haven’t even set one up yet (I know). This is a great chance to get something cute from Etsy or Homegoods, like a date night kit (for managing wedding stress), pillows with their names on them, customized glasses, or a weird sex book which I promise everyone will think is totally funny and not at all creepy. If your overall budget tops out at $250 total, you can dedicate about $50 to this gift, so get something nice, but don’t go too crazy.
The Bridal or Wedding Shower
Showers are the prime spot for registry shit to make an appearance, since the whole idea of a bridal shower is to shower the bride (and I guess groom) with housewares and things they don’t have yet and DEFINITELY need. This includes things like fine china, rare pottery, and prints of animals in jackets from Anthropologie. If you’re sticking to your budget of 20% for the shower (IF they had an engagement party) and your total budget is $250, you can spend around $50 on a gift from the registry. That should get them a nice serving dish, platter, or some towels. You don’t need to go fucking crazy here—it’s really more about the fact that you’re bringing a gift to show how nice you are. Remember, if they didn’t have an engagement party, you should throw that extra cash money at the wedding gift.
The Mothafuckin’ Wedding
If you actually have any money left to spend and stuck to the budget, the wedding is a good time to break out the check book or gift card. First, as a former bride, I can tell you that it’s a pain in the ass to lug all those giant gift boxes home, and secondly, everyone in the world loves money. So, if your budget was $250 and you spent $100 on the shower gift (let’s pretend they didn’t have an engagement party), you can either swoop something up from the registry for $150, write a check, or give those bitches some gift cards to a nice dinner out on their honeymoon (or when they get back). They’ll love it, believe me.
Happy wedding season, whores.
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