It is officially wedding season, and while I happen to love weddings (much to my boyfriend’s dismay), I have to admit, they can be pricey — and not just for the happy couple and their wedding party. The average guest plans to spend $703 to attend a wedding this year, according to the 2016 American Express Spending & Saving Tracker.
Weddings are expensive for many reasons. They tend to take up whole weekends of your life (especially if you are traveling), which may mean hotel and transportation costs or even taking time off from work. There is a gift involved. Plus, everyone seems to get married all at once. Going to weddings, especially several in a row, can really add up.
Since my budget does not allow for a $700 price tag per friends’ nuptials, here is how I attend weddings without breaking the bank.
Click through to read more about how a recent royal wedding guest turned her gift bag into nearly $30K.
If the wedding is driveable, I like to share a ride with fellow guests who live near me. We all pitch in for gas, bring our own snacks for the road and enjoy saving money while singing our hearts out on the highway.
Shop Around for Lodging
While many couples reserve blocks of hotel rooms near the reception (sometimes with discounts), these hotels may not always be the cheapest option. I like to check out the discounted rate at the group hotel and then compare it to others nearby. While I do not always pick the cheapest option, I do not always choose the wedding block hotel either.
Share a Room
Like carpooling, I save money by sharing my hotel room too. A hotel room with two beds can easily fit four guests who are comfortable with each other, and you will pay a fourth of the cost of the room. Even sharing a room with one other person helps, so get cozy.
The Early Bird Stays Under Budget
I tend to buy a gift from the couple’s registry as soon as I receive their invitation. Not only does that mean I have the largest selection of items to choose from (no one actually wants to buy the new trashcan), but I also get to choose something in my price range. Buying early makes it much easier to stick to my gift budget.
Sharing Means Caring
This is an especially great option if you have other friends or family members attending the wedding. Pitch in with a few others to purchase one of the more expensive items on the couple’s registry.
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Give the Gift of You
If your budget is too tight after accounting for all other costs, just bring yourself and a card. Depending on the couple, I like to write a heartfelt message and give an offer of future pet sitting, babysitting, plant watering or help with moving. My friends want me at their wedding, but they don’t necessarily need me to buy a tangible item. Don’t forget the intangibles when thinking of a gift.
Wear, and Then Wear It Again
It can get expensive buying new dresses for weddings, especially if you are like me and have multiple weddings to go to where many of the same guests will attend. While I think it is perfectly acceptable to wear the same dress more than once, I personally like to accessorize my dress differently for each wedding. Adding a scarf, a different set of earrings or even different shoes (wedges versus pumps, for instance) can really change up the same dress.
Different hair and makeup will also make it less likely for anyone to recognize that you are repeating an outfit, so have fun learning new styles.
Remember, what’s important is that your friends are getting married and celebrating their love. They will understand if you cut back in a few areas to stick to your budget, or even if you can’t attend at all. Whether you are carpooling to the reception or checking in from afar, all that is required is that you stick to your budget, be a respectful guest, enjoy yourself and give the couple plenty of love.
Click through to read more about 33 savvy tips for planning a wedding on a budget.
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