The Thrifty Bridesmaid: Saving for a Special Event

Next June, my older sister will be getting married. I was super excited and flattered when she asked me to be her maid of honor; I think I said yes almost as quickly as she said yes to her boyfriend. But after my initial fantasies of having an elaborate Downtown Abbey themed bridal shower where everyone drinks from porcelain teacups and wears a fancy hat started to wear off, I realized that such an elegant affair might be out of my price range.  As anyone who has ever been in one knows – WEDDINGS ARE CRAZY EXPENSIVE! Here is a list of the things that I will have to pay (or at least chip in) for as the maid of honor:

– Dress & shoes for the wedding

– Hair & make-up on wedding day

– Dress for the rehearsal dinner

– Hotel room for the weekend of the wedding

– Gift for the bride & groom

– Bachelorette party

– Travel to bachelorette (since she lives in California)

– Bridal Shower

Although I would never want to miss out on my sister’s wedding just because it was going to cost me a few bucks, I definitely don’t have enough cash to pay for all of those wedding expenses without a little planning.  Luckily for me, my sister wanted to give herself plenty of time to plan her wedding so she wouldn’t be stressed out – which means plenty of time for me to SAVE-UP for the big day!

Back in January, I opened up at club account at my credit union to start saving.  For those of you who don’t know, a club account is a special type of secondary savings offered by most credit unions; it is typically related to your primary savings account and the money is designated for a specific expense.  For example, you may have heard the term “Christmas Clubs”, which is an account created to save up for holiday shopping.  Usually, your credit union will let you have as many club accounts as you want and you can label them for all sorts of different things; I have seen members with club accounts to save up to buy shoes, for traveling, to save money for college . . . the list goes on and on. These accounts are a great way to budget out your savings and they help you keep track of how much you spend on certain items.

My club account is called “Darcie’s Wedding.” Once a month I automatically transfer $25 from my primary savings into this club account.  I also add in change every time someone pays me back for a coffee and every time I have less than $5 in bills in my wallet.  It might not seem like a lot, but after following that saving plan for just a few months, I already have well over $400.

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This weekend I went shopping for bridesmaid dress in Boston.  We were lucky to find just the right dress (they only had one left in my size and it was on sale!).  Even better, I didn’t have to stress about how I was going to pay for it because I knew I had the money saved up.  Since I had been keeping my wedding funds separate from my regular savings and checking, I didn’t feel like my daily budget was taking a big hit when I splurged on the dress – I knew I had already been paying for it piece by piece for the last few months.

If this wedding had happened a year or two ago, before I became a budgeting wizard who works at a credit union, I probably would have paid for this dress a lot differently.  My first option would have been to try to convince my mom to pay for it (“Help me, I’m poor!”).  If she resisted my efforts, I might have had to resort to putting it on my credit card, which has an interest rate of approximately 1,875% and would have taken me a decade to pay-off (those numbers are not exactly accurate but you get the idea 🙂 ).

The lesson I learned is this: a little bit of planning goes a long way. If you have a big event to save up for, whether it’s a wedding, a vacation, or something else you’re looking forward to, create a club account a start saving money specifically for that purpose.  Labeling the account will motivate you to add to it – “General Savings” sounds boring but “Spring Break Cancun!” is something I would want to out money towards every day.  If your club account has a name and a special purpose, you will be less likely to take money out of it for things you don’t need.

Are you saving for a special event?  Tell me your tips for stashing up cash.

– Kelsey at Casco FCU

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3 thoughts on “The Thrifty Bridesmaid: Saving for a Special Event

  1. “A little bit of planning goes a long way”…..so simple, yet so true! Amazing how successful people can be with money when they are intentional with their choices. Great blog!

  2. Since I happen to be getting married in approximately 18 days, I can say that Kelsey is dead on with this one. A few ways that my Fiance and I decided to save money on our wedding was to sit down decide on a budget and stick to it (as best as we can). I am making almost all of my decorations and i have friends that happen to be really helpful. A close friend of mine is a floral arranger at Michael’s craft stores and she is doing all my flowers for the wedding!! Not only that but using silf flowers over fresh ones with save you tons of money!!! What should have cost me over 2500 buck-a-roos is only costing me $500!!! Other little things like wedding favors can add up very fast, so instead of having a gift at each attendies seat do something different and fun!! We are doing a Candy buffet!! It is going to add decoration, treats and something fun for our guest do enjoy at our wedding!!!

    There are tons of sites where people (former Brides) are selling things they used at their wedding that they will never use again. I got my flower girls baskets from one of these sites and paid 1/8 of what i would’ve anywhere else.

    Don’t let the directors of reception halls fool you!!! we almost paid 1000 dollars for chair covers and bows!!!! Luckily i’m stubborn and refused to pay that and found my chari bows on EBAY for 112 bucks and found another bride who was selling her chair covers from her wedding for a $150!! It doesn’t hurt to ask around at all!!!

    There are so many ways to save money planning a wedding or any special event, you just have to be willing to put the time and effort into it!!!

    • Thanks, Margaret, for all the great ideas! It’s great to know that you can still have the wedding you want without breaking your budget 🙂

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