10 Sanity Checks to Do During Wedding Season

Wedding season can be super stressful for everyone, but here are ten great ways to keep yourself sane!

When you get to a certain age, your social calendar is suddenly filled with weddings — and of course, the accompanying engagement celebrations, bridal showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties. If you’re attending multiple functions over the span of just a few months, it can be more than a little overwhelming, both mentally and financially. But you can survive wedding season with your sanity intact and your bank account still in the black by following these 10 expert-recommended ways to fully enjoy your loved ones’ nuptials without compromising your well-being.

1. Resist the urge to compare.

If you’re single (or attached but not yet engaged or married), it’s easy to analyze your relationship status every time a wedding invitation arrives in your mailbox. Rather than comparing yourself to others, remember that every couple has issues and you don’t need to follow anyone else's timetable, says relationship coach Jonathan Bennett.

“Weddings only show a positive, highly idealized side of the bride and groom’s relationship,” he says. “Just because your friend is getting married, that doesn’t mean you’re somehow inferior or doomed to be unhappy. Keep an upbeat, positive attitude and use every wedding as a chance to meet new people.” You never know: Your soul mate just may be sitting at the next table.

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2. Make a budget.

With gifts, travel costs and other expenses, attending weddings can get pricey. (Understatement, right?) “If you have a busy wedding season ahead of you, I recommend making a budget ASAP,” says New Orleans- and New York City-based wedding planner Janessa White.

“Figure out how much money you have available to spend and how much time off you can take. Don’t make any decisions or commitments until you’ve done this.” If you’re overcommitted and freaking out over the money and time you’re putting into attending people’s celebrations, you won’t enjoy them, she says.

3. Just say no when you need to.

You don’t have to RSVP yes to every wedding you’re invited to. “We live in time when everyone thinks they have to do everything and not miss anything,” says Charlotte, North Carolina-based wedding planner Tiffany Pritchett. “If your life is crazy, or if you just don’t have the money to travel and do all that’s involved, don’t go. I know it’s not a fun decision, but that’s life sometimes, right?”

Especially if you haven’t seen the bride or groom in a long time or aren’t as close with the couple, it’s fine to say no. “Weddings are not the best time to catch up with the people getting married since they’re so busy,” says travel blogger Karen Ertrachter. “Instead, send a polite gift and, if appropriate, schedule a catch-up lunch — your treat.”

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4. Don’t force yourself to travel.

Be realistic about your vacation days and how much you’re willing to spend, both in time and money, to attend a couple’s celebration. “If the distance is so far that you can not go without spending more time in transit than at the actual wedding, it’s OK to decline an invitation,” travel blogger Karen Ertrachter says. In fact, many couples that have destination weddings, especially international ones, expect that a good percentage of their invited guests may not be able to make the trip. Remember that it’s their choice to travel, but it doesn’t have to be yours.

5. Allow yourself to skip pre-wedding festivities.

You may need to compromise on how many wedding-related functions you attend in order to stay on budget and allow yourself to recharge during wedding season. That may mean saying no to all of the additional engagement soirees and showers, if necessary. While the proper thing to do is to send a gift even if you’re not attending, this can really add up. “Maybe spring for the wine glasses at one party and then buy the couple a nice bottle of wine to go with the wine glasses if you get invited to another,” wedding planner Tiffany Pritchett says. “But don’t feel obligated to bring a gift to every function.”

6. Go beyond the hotel room block.

Don’t assume that the hotel the couple suggests is the only place you can stay. It’s worth doing a little research to make sure that the rate they got for their room block is indeed the best price or whether there might be a less pricey option nearby. “A large family of five might require at least two hotel rooms — quite expensive in large metropolitan areas like New York or L.A.,” says Montreal-based wedding photographer Jimmy Chan. Do what you can to make the trip easy on your wallet, especially since you’ve already committed to traveling.

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7. Buddy up.

Get together with some friends to share costs. You may consider getting a vacation rental and making a weekend of it. “In a place like Austin, for instance, there are some awesome Airbnb options,” wedding planner Tiffany Pritchett says. “Do some research and make the most of the fact that you’ll be in a cool city.”

She also suggests sharing gift costs with friends too. “If there’s a big item with a hefty price tag that you know they’ve been dreaming of and really want, don’t hesitate to ask your group of friends to go in on it,” she says. “My husband and I and our group of friends combined our efforts to get one couple a grill. They were super happy, and they invited us over for cookouts. Win-win.”

8. Scope out the registry early.

Speaking of gifts, make sure you peep the couple's wishlist as soon as you can, lest you get stuck with having to cobble together a random assortment of within-budget kitchen utensils or spring for a big-ticket item that you can’t afford. If you view the registry early, you’ll have your pick. And unless you know the couple really, really well, don’t go rogue when it comes to the gift, wedding planner Tiffany Pritchett says. “Buying what you think they need or have to have can sometimes backfire,” she says. “When in doubt, cash, check or gift cards from the stores where the couple has registered will go a long way.”

9. Plan your outfits ahead of time.

Plan your wedding outfits early — everything you’ll wear from head to toe — so that you can start gathering the necessary items well in advance. From earrings, bras and wraps to bow ties, socks and cuff links, make a list of everything you’ll need for each occasion. “The more you can do in advance, the better off you will be when it comes time to pack and leave,” says professional organizer Annie Draddy. “It isn’t fun trying to find a strapless bra or a cute pair of silver heels the day you’re leaving while last-minute work deadlines are piling up.” True that.

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10. Stay organized.

Once you decide to attend a wedding or pre-wedding celebration, book your hotel, rental car, flight — everything you might need to get there — ASAP. This way, you won’t miss out on good deals and you won’t be scrambling to figure out your arrangements. Then keep everything in order so you know exactly where you need to be and when.

“Summer gets busy, so put everything (and I mean everything) down in your calendar — from the start time for the wedding events and transportation information to the travel and hotel locations and reservation confirmation numbers,” professional organizer Annie Draddy recommends. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also create a printed itinerary with all the necessary info so you can see everything at a glance.

What Do YOU Think?

Are the costs of attending weddings these days too high? How will you pick and choose whose celebrations to attend? Should brides and grooms try to cater to their guests’ budgets when planning their nuptials? Let us know in the comments below!

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