Weddings are pricey, and not just for the people getting married. In 2014, the average wedding guest can expect to spend about $592 per wedding, according to the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker. Attending a wedding means not only buying a gift for the couple and finding something to wear, but can also mean booking and paying for travel and finding a place to stay for a few nights, if the wedding is out of town. If you have multiple weddings to attend one year, costs can quickly add up. Luckily, there are a few ways you can keep the cost of attending a wedding (or several weddings) under control.
Create a Budget
One of the best things you can do to make sure you don’t overspend on weddings is to create a wedding budget. Look at what you can afford to spend overall, then divide it up into categories, such as wedding gifts, travel, and clothing/accessories. Use firm numbers for your budget, so that you aren’t tempted to overspend.
Share and Share Alike
If several of your friends or relatives are attending the same wedding, you can cut costs by splitting some of the bill. Drive to the wedding destination together and split the cost of gas and tolls. If you are flying to the wedding, see if you can get a group together to take the same flight and get a reduced rate. Share a hotel room at the destination to save more. You can also go in on a wedding gift together, so that you can get the couple a splashy gift without going over budget.
While you might be able to get a dress or tuxedo to wear to a wedding for a steal, it can be even less expensive to rent your wedding outfit. Websites such as Rent the Runway allow you to rent a dress or gown for a few days. You can also rent jewelry and other accessories. A additional benefit of renting is that you won’t have a dress or suit cluttering up your closet after the wedding is over.
Another way women can save on wedding outfits is to rewear the same dress to several weddings. Pick a basic dress in a neutral color that works over several seasons to wear to multiple weddings. You can make the dress look different for each wedding by changing up the jewelry or accessories you wear with it.
Remember, It’s the Thought That Counts
In some cases, it’s the cost of the wedding gift that really breaks the bank. The American Express survey found that people spent an average of $109 per wedding gift. Some spent up to $200 per gift, if they were related to or very close to the couple. The gift you give a couple doesn’t have to be flashy. In fact, if you’re really close to them, they may appreciate a homemade or personalized gift more than a fancy new blender or bedding set.
Know When to Decline
Sometimes, it’s perfectly acceptable to turn down a wedding invitation. Think about how far away the wedding is and how close you are to the people getting married when deciding if you can make it. There’s no reason to feel guilty about declining an invitation to the wedding of the college roommate you barely keep in touch with, especially if it’s being held across the country. You can also decline wedding extras, such as the bachelorette party or destination shower, if attending them means going over your budget.
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