The summer months not only bring the warm weather we’ve been longing for all winter, but they also bring weddings (and lots of them). Even if you’re not the one getting married, just attending a wedding can cause major stress on your finances. Between travel costs, hotel costs, and a gift, being a wedding guest can cost upward of $500. Now that’s one expensive open bar!
We all love to attend weddings, especially if it’s a close friend or family member getting married. No one wants to miss that person’s special day because they can’t afford it. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips that will help to curb the costs that a wedding brings. You’ll still be able to support the couple and have a great time without breaking the bank. After all, isn’t that what weddings are about?
Pass on pre-wedding activities: A major reason why weddings are so costly is because of all the parties and activities that lead up to the big day; the engagement party, bridal shower and bachelorette party. Sure all these events are fun to attend, but they also accumulate and end up costing you a pretty penny. It’s not necessary to attend every single event or give gifts for every occasion. It’s best to pick the event that you’d most like to attend and show your support for the bride there. It’s perfectly okay to decline and say that you have other plans. If you feel bad for doing so, then you can always take the bride out to private lunch to make up for the events you missed. This will allow for some more personal, one-on-one time with the bride and end up costing you less in the long run anyway!
Get creative with gifts: If you decide to attend all of the events and activities that lead up to the wedding, then consider thinking outside the normal registry and monetary gifts. Instead, give something that is homemade or has a lot of sentimental value behind it. These gifts tend to be budget-friendly and are usually the best because they actually mean something to the bride. They also require a great deal of thought, so the bride will know that you truly chose this gift just for her. For instance, if you’ve known the bride for quite a few years, it would be fun to give her something that reminds her of those times you spent together with an old picture of you two.
Plan lodging options: Getting a hotel room for the weekend can consume the major portion of your travel costs, especially during inflated “wedding season” or “summer” prices. If you only live a few hours away from the venue, consider skipping the hotel all together. If you plan on drinking, consider carpooling with other attendees so only one person will have to stay sober for the event. Another option is to share hotel rooms with other guests who are attending the wedding (only if you’re comfortable with them, of course). You’ll be able to split the cost with them, and if it’s only for one night it shouldn’t be too bad. Lastly, when searching for lodging it’s important to use websites that will give you the best rates such as Priceline and Travelocity.
Go vintage for outfits: Many of us feel the need to purchase a whole new wardrobe for a wedding ceremony; however, this is unnecessary and very costly. Chances are you already have something in your closet that would be perfect for the wedding, but if you’re one of those people who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the same thing to two different weddings, then this is a great opportunity to utilize your friend’s closet. This way you won’t be a “repeat offender” when it comes to your outfit or have to pay the hefty price tag for a new outfit (that you’ll probably wear once anyway). Another thing that can save you upwards of $150 is to do your own hair and makeup. If this isn’t your strong suite, ask a friend to help you out! Chances are at least one of your friends is pretty good in this area. It doesn’t need to be perfect. After all, it’s the bride’s day to shine and not yours.
Split the wedding gift: Generally, the wedding gift is the biggest (and most expensive) gift you’ll give the bride and groom. To help reduce costs, go in on a wedding gift with other guests. There’s nothing wrong with doing this. This way, you’ll be able to get the couple something nicer than what you would be able to afford on your own. Chances are the nicer gift will be something that the couple actually wants and needs. After all, how many pots, pans and casserole dishes do they need?
As you start to receive all your Save The Date’s in the mail and RSVP to your weddings this season, make sure you keep these tips in mind. Attending a wedding is great experience and definitely something you shouldn’t miss out on because of financial struggles. We hope that these tips allow you to reduce the high cost of attending a wedding, while still being able to have fun and support the couple. Enjoy & happy savings!