Saving Money as a Wedding Guest

by CashTime Loan Centers

Wedding invitations are always nice to receive and attending a wedding can be a lot of fun. However, it can also be expensive if there is traveling involved, not to mention the wedding gift, lodging, food, and other incidental costs. With the average wedding guest spending over $800 per wedding this year, how can you enjoy yourself at a friend or family member’s wedding without going broke? We’d like to offer some tips on how to attend a wedding without spending more money than you need to in order to have a good time and be a good guest.

Plan ahead. Most weddings are not last minute, so you should have plenty of time to plan for any wedding related expenses. Built into any solid budget should be “fun money” for events like birthdays, holidays, and weddings. If you have been consistently socking away a percentage of your earnings in this budget category, you should have what you need to buy a nice wedding gift and enjoy attending the event. If you haven’t, there are other ways to handle attending a wedding economically.

Gift registry alternatives. Although it’s convenient for guests to choose a wedding gift from a bridal registry, these tend to be the more expensive gifts. A solution may be found by shopping for the same gift at other stores. You may get a better deal, find coupons to use, or hit a sale and save a bundle. There’s no shame in giving the happy couple cash, a gift card to the store their registry is with, or a prepaid card for their favorite fun activity like a day at the go-cart track, a session of mini golf, or a night at the movies.

Don’t buy a new outfit. It may be tempting to spend money on a new outfit for the wedding, but it’s not necessary. Get together with friends and see if a clothes swap gives everyone a chance to wear a “new” outfit without buying it. If swapping clothes isn’t an option, you may be able to take an old bridesmaid dress and make it new again by having it tailored from long to short and adding a jacket or shoulder wrap to give it a different look.

Share a room. If you know other wedding guests who are traveling to a wedding, consider splitting a hotel room to save on costs. Airbnb, Vacation Rental By Owner, or staying with friends who live in the area are other ways to save on lodging expenses. When booking a hotel room, most hotels will allow you up to 24 to 48 hours before arrival to cancel your room reservation without penalties, so book a room early but look around for a better deal. If air travel is involved, such as with a destination wedding, sign up for travel alerts to get the best deal on tickets.

DIY hair and makeup. A day at the salon prepping for a wedding can be a costly affair. Why not get together with friends and make a day of it practicing different looks and helping each other out with hair styles? There are lots of online hair and makeup tutorials that can show you how to try something new. Another cost effective way to have your makeup done for the wedding is to take advantage of a professional makeover at a high-end specialty store like Sephora, Ulta, or Merle Norman.

Just say no. You may be invited to several pre-wedding festivities, but that doesn’t mean you are obligated to attend every one. Maybe you can skip the bridal shower but attend the bachelorette party, or vice versa. Don’t feel pressured to attend every event if it means breaking your budget. If you can get together with another person or two and pitch in on an expensive gift from all of you, it eases the financial burden for everyone, and no one has to arrive empty handed.

If you’re part of the wedding party, there are some unavoidable costs such as a bridesmaid dress, shoes, and accessories that must be purchased. Again, you’ll likely have months to plan and save for these expenses, and you can alter the dress to wear at future occasions once the wedding is over. Remember that the purpose of attending a wedding is to celebrate with and share the joy of the happy couple, and don’t let the associated costs cause you so much stress just thinking about them that the happiness of the occasion is ruined. With a little planning and creative thinking, you can have fun and still have money in your pocket.