‘Tis the season… the season of tux fittings, cake selection, guest lists, ring resizing, alterations, centerpieces, and general wedding bliss!

However, for those who are bystanders, ’tis the season of receiving wedding/shower/bachelor and bachelorette party invitations every other week. As we open the invite, we smile at the picture of the happy couple, double-check the calendar to make sure that Saturday is open, and inwardly cringe as we open the wedding registry. Please let it be affordable…

For people in the 20-something stage of life, deciding how much to spend on weddings can turn into a massive headache. On top of rent, possible credit card debt, and those ever-present student loans, a friend’s wedding present can easily push us into the red. How can we join in the festivities without spending this month’s car payment on a gift? Here are a few tips I’ve found to be very helpful!

(Disclaimer – I’m not passing myself off as a financial expert, just a girl on a budget!)

1. Know your limit. If you don’t have the budget for a new washer-dryer for the happy couple DON’T BUY IT. It will bankrupt you and probably embarrass them. (Hyperbole for the sake of argument, sorry.) How many iced coffees will you need to give up to buy this gift? Sit down and budget – really budget. It’s tedious but absolutely worth it.

2. If you plan to get a gift, recruit 2-3 other people to buy it with you. Let’s call it “financial fellowship.”

3. Try to personalize! If you absolutely positively can’t spend money on a gift, why not hand-write a letter on fancy stationery? Tell the couple how you’ve seen their relationship develop. How have you seen them change? What funny stories can you think of? Share some prayers for their life together.

4. Avoid being offended by an expensive wedding registry, destination wedding, groom’s dinner, etc. It’s easy to feel slighted or become resentful, but it helps to remember that they probably didn’t set out to push you into Ramen-only territory – they’re just in a different place from you financially.

5. Above all, what this couple needs is not another high-powered blender. They need our prayers! With so many people today opting out of marriage for one reason or another, we need to come alongside newly-married couples with love, accountability, and spiritual support. In the last four years I’ve watched many of my closest friends get married, and the joy of the wedding day can be marred by focusing too much on the floral arrangements and not enough on the vows. Let’s commit to pray for our brothers and sisters whom God calls to “do life together.” Let that be your most expensive gift to them.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” – Matthew 6

Photo: Flickr