How to Survive Wedding Season and How Much to Put In a Wishing Well

Bride And Groom Enjoying Meal At Wedding Reception

Last year I attended 6 weddings in 12 months. One was a destination wedding in India where I was a proud maid of honour, another was interstate – those two festivities combined set me back quite a bit in my mission to save. Plus the hens nights and engagement parties I’ve been invited to, I’ve attended 12 wedding related events a year -at least one a month. Needless to say, I’ve had a great time celebrating away while my bank account was quietly crying mercy to stop the nuptials to keep flowing in. Getting married (even when it’s not your own) is costly. I’m sure you’ve been hit by the wedding season at some point. If you’re still going through it or anticipate it, this post might be useful to guide you through awkward wedding guest scenarios you might come across.

1. How Much Should You Put In the Wishing Well?

This one depends on how well you know the couple. Think of how much you’d spend if you were giving them a gift. As a standard, I’d say $80-$100 is fine. If you’re attending with a +1, pitch in $150-$200. If this is beyond your means, give what you can or, consider a homemade gift like a photo book with images of the couple and your favourite memories of them.

2. What If The Couple Hasn’t Given You a Gift Idea? Should You Give Them Money or a Gift?

This depends on the couple and whether you think they’d appreciate cash or a thoughtful gift. Some people think cash gifts or vouchers or impersonal – best to ask around before you fork out the cash.

3. If I’m Attending a Destination Wedding Do I Still Need to Bring a Gift?

Gifts are typically not expected, especially if you’ve covered all your travel expenses. If the bride and groom have covered either your flight or accommodation, you might want ¬†to get them a small gift as a nice¬†gesture.

4. Can I Ask to Invite a +1?

If you know the couple is trying to cull their numbers, leave it be. If you know other guests will be bringing their partner, casually mention to the bride and groom that you’ve just met someone great and that you’d love for them to meet him/her. This will set you up for a meeting before the wedding (in which the invite might come up) or an invite for your better half.

5. All the Good Gifts on the Registry are Taken. Can I buy them something else?

No. There’s a gift registry for a reason. If the couple has personally chosen the set of hand towels left on the list, you should buy them. You snooze you lose.

6. What Do You Wear to a Wedding?

For women, go for short cocktail dresses- they are a safe bet. For beach and casual type weddings, you can opt for long maxi dresses. When in doubt, always tone it down a notch – you don’t want to upstage the bride.

7. What Happens When You Can’t Afford to Go to All the Wedding Festivities?

Be honest with the bride or groom and at least attend the wedding ceremony. I’m sure they will care more about your attendance than the fact that you won’t be able to cover their cost per head at the reception.

Budget Tips to Survive Wedding Season

– Buy wedding cards in bulk. Kikki K have great 3 for the price of 2 deals

– Invest in a solid coloured convertible dress. You’ll be able to wear the same dress without looking like a repeat offender

– Do your own hair and makeup or if you need to stock up on cosmetics, hit up your local Mecca store. They provide complimentary makeup sessions for $90, all redeemable via product

– Carpool to save cost on fuel and parking


Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.