You don’t have to be single to feel a little dread in the lead up to wedding season; the influx of engagement parties and wedding events in the spring and summer months is enough to leave anyone feeling a little financially and emotionally exhausted.
So, rather than feeling panic rise in your body as another wedding invite drops through your letterbox or yet another engagement announcement appears on your Facebook feed, try to keep calm in the knowledge there are ways to limit the impact of wedding season stress. Let us tell you how…
Rule number one: you can say no
The first, and most liberating, way to handle wedding season stress is learning to RSVP ‘No’. Sure, you are probably obligated to attend the weddings, engagement parties and hen/stag dos of family members and close friends, but you’ve got licence to turn down a request from anyone who you don’t share a strong, close bond with.
Speak to other friends who have received the invite and seek their opinion — you don’t want to burn any bridges, but if attending this event would put you in financial difficulty, or falls during a really busy period at work, you may deem it more sensible to say no.
Another option is to promise your presence at the wedding but not the hen or stag do. Increasingly, these parties span weekends and involve a trip across the country or, sometimes, even abroad. As such, they can be costly and require a lot of energy, especially if you don’t know the rest of the group very well and have to make significant effort to socialise. If that’s the case, why not accept the invite to the wedding but politely let the Maid of Honour or Best Man know that you won’t be there for the stag or hen.
In the unique situation that you are part of the bridal party — whether on the bride’s or the groom’s side — you’ll find it your responsibility to be actively involved. If you’re asked to be Maid of Honour or Best Man, understand what is being requested of you before you accept: you’ll be a crucial part of organising and executing the wedding. Do what you can to support your friend or family member in the lead-up, and on the day itself — don’t kick up a fuss about an outfit or decoration scheme you dislike, but do offer your honest opinion if asked.
How to limit the cost of wedding season
Beyond the time demands, being a wedding guest is no cheap affair. Once you’ve sorted out an outfit, bought the happy couple a wedding gift, organised transport to the venue — and perhaps a hotel for the night — you’re clearly £100 or more out of pocket.
Thankfully, there are ways to control how much you spend. Ladies: rather than buying a new outfit, have a look online to see if you can rent a dress to wear. Men: if you don’t own a suit, ask a friend if you can borrow one, or indeed look into rentals.
When it comes to selecting a gift, seek a present with meaning rather than with a big price tag. Everyone appreciates a heartfelt gift over an expensive item, so think about the special memories you have together, or something you know about the couple that no one else does, and use this to your advantage. If you’re attending the wedding as part of a friendship group, try to come together and join forces to buy a present between you; this often works out in your favour financially.
Upon receiving the invitation, it may not be your first instinct or desire to start planning the weekend. However, the earlier you book transport and accommodation, the less it will cost you in the end. The best deals are available months in advance, so try to act quickly to avoid unpleasant expense nearer the day.
Making sure you enjoy the big day
After all, if you’ve spent money to attend, you want to make sure you enjoy the wedding day as much as possible. If you’re close to the bride and groom, then the party should be full of your friends and family too, so fun shouldn’t be hard to come by! Yet, if you’re more on the periphery of the social circle — which, in many cases, is the way — you may have to put in a little more effort to make friends and feel relaxed. Brush up on some small-talk skills and conversation starters, so when you sit down for lunch or dinner after the ceremony, you will feel confident to chat to your fellow guests.
If you’ve been granted a ‘plus one’ for the event, but are currently single, then don’t fret. Ask a friend to come along as your date or look online for a companion, for example, searching ‘escort North London‘, or wherever it is you’re based. Having someone by your side will make you feel more self-assured, calm and open to having a good time. So don’t let your single status motivate you to turn down the offer of a ‘plus one’ to the party.
Weddings are generally a lot of fun — drinks are flowing, the DJ is spinning tunes, and everyone is in high spirits. However, it’s wise to curb your alcohol consumption and pace yourself, as the day and night will be long. If you have a social schedule packed in with weddings and related events, you’ll be caring for your body better if you avoid drinking heavily. While one or two drinks might loosen you up and facilitate your enjoyment, make sure you also drink water to evade a heavy hangover the next day.
Wedding season: you get out what you put in
As with everything in life, in order to survive wedding season, you’ll have to approach it with optimism and an open mind. Nevertheless, by planning well and looking for ways to save yourself unnecessary expense and energy, you’ll come out the other side unscathed and ready for the next season!