Weddings are expensive—even for the guests.
Once you add up the costs to attend a shower, pre-wedding party and the actual wedding, a Bankrate.com survey says we spend as much as $370 on the nuptials of a distance friend or family member and $630 when a close friend or family member is tying the knot.
Bridal party members spend even more—about $730 on average. Those numbers include gifts, attire and travel to the various events, and they can really strain budgets that already are stretched thin.
If your calendar has a wedding or more this spring and summer, but you’re counting your pennies, now is the time to make a budget that helps you cut costs when attending a wedding. Your budget should spell out exactly how much you can afford to spend on travel and gifts. Once you know your own budget, you can start looking for ways to make it less expensive.
Here are six ways wedding guests can lower the strain on their budget after the invite.
Don’t buy new clothes
It might feel great to waltz into a reception with a fancy new dress, but, if you’re working hard to live frugally, it might be better to walk in comfortably with an outfit that’s already in your closet. If you don’t have anything appropriate, check with friends and family members to find out if you can raid their closets for a dress or outfit to borrow. Finally, consider shopping consignment and thrift stores, or even renting a nice dress -- all of which can be great places to uncover fashionable pieces that won’t break the bank.
Split the costs
It’s always cheaper when you share on gas to get to the wedding, hotel rooms once you’re there and, even, the gifts you give to the happy couple. As you make plans to attend the wedding, look for friends and family who might be willing to divvy up the various costs.
Book that room right now
If the engaged couple has set aside a hotel room block, there’s a good chance that the block also includes a discount. But, in some cases, depending on the location and the number of guests, those discounted rooms can fill up fast. So, be sure to book that room as soon as you get the official invitation.
Don’t travel with the pack
While the official wedding hotel may offer a discount, that doesn’t necessarily make it the cheapest place to stay in town. Instead, if you’re traveling to another city, shop around for cheaper accommodations at a less expensive hotel, an Airbnb or other rental property. If you book an apartment or house, you could share the space with a larger group of friends or family members, depending on its size.
Consider ways you can cut your daily budget now, so you have money squirreled away to cover those wedding-related expenses. Skipping the theater for a movie night at home, making homemade pizza instead of ordering out and foregoing the coffee shop latte for your home brew are all ways to ensure you’ll have the cash you need during the actual wedding weekend.
Consider if you really need to go
You might want to go to the wedding, but do you really need to go, especially if you can’t afford it right now? It might be hard to skip the celebrations for a very close friend or family member. It may, however, be an easier decision when it’s a distance family member or friend you haven’t seen in ages who is getting married.
Either way, you certainly shouldn’t feel obligated to attend. Instead, after they tie the knot, you could find a frugal way to celebrate the newly married couple—with an affordable gift, a home cooked meal by you or help moving them into their new home.
Remember: What matters most isn’t whether you’re there to watch them get married, but whether you’re there for them once they do.
The team at CESI is committed to helping you make wise financial decisions and to helping you understand how to get out, and stay out of debt. For a free debt analysis, contact us and find out how we can help.
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