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3 ways not to break the bank this wedding season

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May 31, 2012|By Megan Crepeau, For RedEye

You try to avoid all the brides swanning around Millennium Park getting their photos taken. You try to ignore the Facebook albums full of cakes and diamonds and tulle (so much tulle!). But then, the invitations start piling up, and you're forced to face it: It's wedding season.

It's not that bad. It means some great parties, and, you know, celebrating love and supporting your friends. But it also means travel, and new clothes, and all those presents. Here's how to survive wedding season without going broke.

The clothes: I hereby give you permission to wear the same outfit to every wedding this summer. Everyone has already seen you in this, you say? And your friends will get all judgy? Well, suck it up. You have rent to pay. And your friends sound like jerks.

This gets more complicated if you're in the wedding. If the bridesmaid dresses are way out of your price range, you still have a few options. If you're lucky, your friend hasn't gone full Bridezilla and is willing to compromise a little. If not, you can try to find the dress cheaper. Googling the model number and the color might turn up a used or discounted dress. If that fails, talk to the retailer. Maybe they'll let you rent the dress, or even pay in installments.

The gifts: So there's the wedding. The bridal shower. The engagement party. The bachelor/ette party. The rehearsal dinner. Do you really have to bring a present to all of them?

Well … kind of, yes. But it's not the end of the world. Try buying one big-ish present for the wedding itself, maybe something from the registry, and getting creative with the rest. A homemade gift, or something with sentimental value, will be much more memorable than a KitchenAid.

If that's too much to handle, I have one word for you: splitskies. A chafing dish is a chafing dish, whether it has one name on the tag or three.

The travel: Your college roommate is getting hitched at the top of a volcano in Hawaii, and you don't have any money or vacation time. Boo.

Here's the thing: Destination weddings are an either/or proposition: You can spare the time and money to fly there, or you can send your apologies with a nice big gift. It's your presence or your presents, and you're allowed to pick which one works best for you.

Now get out there and make some toasts.

Megan Crepeau is a RedEye special contributor. She's a twenty-something college grad navigating this dumpy job market just like the rest of us.

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