Alex+Nick_Shari+MikePhotographers-297.jpg

Photo by Shari + Mike Photographers

Summer wedding season is a busy time of year that brings with it a lot of love, fun and great memories. However, with all of the events, parties, travelling and presents, it can also put some added stress on wedding guest wallets. In fact, according to a recent survey by coupon site RetailMeNot.ca, Canadians typically spend an average of $776 on gifts for wedding-related events such as showers, engagement parties and the actual ceremony. And that’s just one wedding!

Whether you’re part of the bridal party, or simply on the guest list, Smart Cookies have some tips to help you keep your budget in check this wedding season.

1. Make It a Vacation

Let’s face it. Out-of-town weddings can be expensive. But don’t cancel your summer vacation just yet… Add a few days to either end of an out-of-town wedding and turn the trip into a fabulous summer getaway. Wedding in wine country? Why not head up a day early for a wine tour? Weekend wedding in Chicago? Arrive the day before to explore the city’s architecture and unwind.

Added bonus: Cash in on those credit card rewards you’ve been saving up and consider booking through comparison sites like Expedia.ca to save on everything from your flight to your rental car.

2. Stretch Your Dollars With a Group Gift

Finding the perfect wedding gift can be both stressful and expensive, and nearly half of Canadians would rather opt out of a wedding if they can’t afford a gift. So instead of missing out, get a group of like-minded friends or family together and deliver a grandiose gift on a tight budget. Sites such as Shareagift.com makes this easy to organize. It lets you select a group gift, divide the cost and pay individually, while emailing gentle reminders to those who agreed to contribute, so you’re not left holding the cheque.

Added bonus: To save some additional dollars, make sure to search RetailMeNot.ca for a promo code before purchasing your gift.

3. Give the Gift of Lasting Romance

For more than 65 per cent of Canadians, it’s the romantic experience that has guests gushing over weddings. Keeping this is mind, never lose sight of that fact, especially when you’re planning the all-important gift. I love the idea of a date-night basket for the couple to enjoy after their honeymoon. The perfect package could include a gift card to their favourite restaurant, a bottle of wine and some candles to keep the romance going.

Added bonus: Stores like Indigo are the perfect place to find items for this type of basket, with plenty of options for every couple.

4. Find the Perfect Outfit

According to a recent survey, nearly 20 per cent of Canadian women would never wear the same outfit to more than one wedding. For your next function, consider renting designer apparel, rather than buying. Check out sites like RentFrockRepeat, which allows you to rent designer dresses at a fraction of the cost. New to Vancouver is Flaunt Fashion Library which carries a curated collection of designer dresses available for rent.

Added bonus: Still have the urge to splurge? Opt for a classic black dress you can wear to more than one wedding by changing your accessories to make it unique for each occasion. Retailers like Joe Fresh carry well-priced and stylish jewellery.