You receive a special-looking envelope in the mail and open it up to receive yet another wedding invitation. While it’s a thrill to see your loved ones celebrate such an important event in their lives, it’s natural to worry about how their nuptials will affect your bank account. After all, it’s estimated that wedding guests spend an average of over $700 per wedding they attend, and that number is significantly higher if you happen to be in the wedding party. Since many people have multiple weddings on their calendar every year, it’s worth taking the time to figure out how you can save money on all these celebrations. Here are some of the top tips for being a frugal wedding guest.
Make the Most of Your Travel
For many wedding guests, the travel is the most expensive part of the deal. But if you turn your wedding trip into a vacation, you can offset some of the costs. Many people who already wanted to take a vacation at some point during the year should consider combining the trips in order to save on travel costs. Plus, extending your stay at the wedding destination could help with airfare since flights are usually cheaper during the week than if you were booking a Friday-Sunday trip.
Find Cheaper Accommodations
Most couples book a hotel block for their guests, which often includes a slight discount off the regular nightly rate. It’s good to check that out, but don’t book it before you have a chance to do some research. You may be able to find cheaper hotels in the area or share a room with a friend who’s also traveling to attend the wedding. Other options include Airbnb and vacation rentals, which may have lower rates.
Check Out Local Transportation Options
Look at the couple’s wedding website to find out more information about the wedding. Can you walk to the reception from the ceremony? Are there any extra fees for parking? Is a shuttle provided for guests? Can you use public transportation to get around? Looking up these resources in advance can save a lot on parking fees, taxis, etc.
Get a Deal on a Gift
A little extra research can also pay off when it comes to buying a gift for the bride and groom. Check out their registry to see what’s listed. Then, watch the website for sales or compare prices on other websites. As long as you’re purchasing the exact same item, it’s okay to purchase from a different website; just be sure to contact the store with the actual registry to make sure they mark the item as “fulfilled.”
Offer Up Your Services
Another way to save on gifts is to not purchase one at all. Instead, you could offer to assist in some way leading up to or on the day of the wedding. There are a number of skills that translate into wedding services. Here are a few ideas of things you could offer to do for the couple in lieu of a gift:
- Build a playlist and DJ the reception
- Design the save-the-dates and invitations
- Create a wedding website
- Take photos or record a video
- Bake the wedding cake
- Arrange flowers for bouquets
- Do the bride’s hair or make-up
- Be the day-of coordinator
- Help with setting up decorations
Buy Multi-Use Attire
If you’re attending a wedding, you’ll probably wonder what to wear. First, check to see what the dress code is for the wedding (if provided). You can often get a sense of what type of clothing to wear just by looking up the venue where the reception will be held. From there, think about what you already own that could work. Preferably, you can just wear something that’s in your closet. If you want to make it feel special, just buy an affordable accessory or two to dress it up. When you need something new to wear, be sure to think about if you’ll wear it again. For example, a simple black dress that can be dressed up or down depending on accessories and footwear is a great option for wedding-goers who want to save a few bucks.
Just Say “No”
While you may want to make the most valiant of efforts to be at every wedding you’re invited to, it’s okay to say “no” if you just can’t swing it financially. With many people having loved ones spread out all over the country or planning destination weddings, travel costs can be seriously prohibitive for some. Don’t feel obligated to attend every single wedding if it’s going to put you under financial strain. Send your regrets (and a gift if you can). A thoughtful note about how you wish you could be there and how excited you are for the couple will be greatly appreciated.
A wedding doesn’t have to gauge your savings account. If you take the time to really research your options, there are tons of ways to potentially save on all the weddings on your calendar this year.