By Quentin Fottrell
So you didn’t receive an invitation to Britain’s royal wedding?
There’s no easy way to say this: if it hasn’t arrived yet, it’s probably not lost in the post. On the upside, think about the money you’ve saved on transatlantic plane tickets, taxi fares, hotel rooms, new “bib-and-tucker” (or clothes) as might they say in England. Plus, you get to stay home and avoid stilted conversation with diplomats about the weather and people’s health.
If you’re lucky, you get to have at least one wedding in your lifetime. (If you’re really lucky, you might get two or even three.) But for the guests, the constant merry-go-round of nuptials can be tiresome and expensive. With apologies to Prince William and Kate Middleton and anyone else meeting with wedding planners, these are Pay Dirt’s 5 tips to beat wedding guest fatigue.
Go splitsville on the registry present.
Split the cost 50/50 with another guest. Joanna Kartalis, director of The Registry at Bloomingdale’s, says it’s okay to share the costs of an item on the registry, especially something at the more expensive end of the range. Are you uncomfortable with buying a prescribed gift? Think again. “You don’t want to buy something that’s left sitting in the attic,” Kartalis says.
Recycle. “Regift” is just a dirty word.
The beauty of gift-giving is to get something the recipient wouldn’t buy for themselves. That’s where all that crystal you never got to use from your own wedding comes in. Don’t think of it as re-gifting, think of it as recycling. Just take off the tags and re-wrap it. One important tip: if it’s a corporate gift, make sure “10 Years Loyal Service” is not engraved on the glass.
It’s okay to decline for financial reasons.
Anna Post, etiquette expert and spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute, says guests can’t be expected to spend possibly thousands of dollars: “If it’s a question of travel it’s okay to decline because you can’t afford to go. I declined to go a wedding because it was too last minute and the plane tickets were just too expensive.” (And, no, it wasn’t the royal wedding.)
Or … say just you’re busy and save $490.
It’s perfectly reasonable to turn down an invitation to a friend’s wedding if you’ve been to a lot, especially if he/she is not that close. According to an American Express Spending & Saving Tracker survey, wedding guests spend an average of $490 to attend a wedding excluding the gift. The survey says Americans attend around two weddings a year, so make that $980.
Make a charitable gift donation instead.
Prince William and Kate Middleton asked guests to donate gifts to a charitable fund. Only 2% of respondents in the Amex survey would prefer a charitable donation as a wedding gift over cash or gifts, but who says that you can’t be the exception? Make a teaspoon-sized contribution to the couple’s ambitious 16-piece dinnerware set and focus on being the life of the party instead.