Last updated on March 19th, 2018
As an almost-thirty-year-old (not quite yet!), I feel like half my Facebook newsfeed either gets married or attends a wedding every weekend. I am sure you are thinking it is hard to save money during wedding season!
If you are in that mid-twenty to mid-thirty age range, you know exactly what I am talking about.
And you have your fair share of weddings to attend each year between April and October.
It can get EXPENSIVE.
Sometimes you might even feel like you don’t want to RSVP ‘yes’ to another wedding in fear of what it will do to your budget.
At times, that may be the right choice for you, but first, take a look at some ways to save money during wedding season before you regretfully decline.
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Whether you are a member of the wedding party or just attending as a guest, the expenses can add up quickly.
Most likely, the majority of the weddings you are attending will not be in your own backyard. Whether you have to drive, fly, or take a train, these all cost money.
If you are driving and know other people in your area who will also be traveling to the wedding, try to carpool.
Use GasBuddy.com to help you find the cheapest gas prices along your route.
If you are flying or taking a train or bus, make sure you start looking for tickets as soon as you know you will need them. This gives you better opportunity to get the lowest prices and fit the expense into your budget!
If you are not taking your own car, be sure to take into account the cost of a rental car (again, share this cost with friends if possible) and/or the cost of getting to and from the wedding venue from where you are staying.
Many times there will be transportation provided to and from the venue or lodging can be found close enough to walk, but other times not. Uber or Lyft are great options to use because you can easily share this cost with other wedding guests. And if you are going to use Uber, be sure to get $1 back per ride by using Ibotta!
Most times when you are invited to a wedding, there will be hotel options given to you with reduced rates.
This is great if the hotel options they offer are not too expensive, to begin with.
Sometimes, the reduced rate will still be out of your budget! Don’t hesitate to look around for cheaper options before settling on the chosen hotels.
If you are a member of the wedding party, you may be “obligated” to stay at a certain location, but you will need to read that situation on a case by case basis. And sometimes you have awesome brides/grooms who provide you a place to stay for free when you are in the wedding party!
Something else to think about is whether or not transportation will be provided to and from the venue from these hotel locations. That could help you make a decision on whether or not to look elsewhere.
Another option to consider if you know a lot of the other wedding guests is to look into using Airbnb or something similar. You might be able to find something just as close to the venue that could provide you with more space, food storage options (not having to eat out!), and you can split the cost with friends or family. Plus it can just be fun 🙂
If you are in the wedding party, you most likely aren’t going to be able to spend zero money on wedding attire.
Most people want their bridal party to be matching and so will have everyone buy the same dress and buy/rent the same suit.
If you are not in the bridal party, you do not need to buy a new outfit for every wedding! I repeat, DO NOT buy a new dress or outfit for every wedding.
Chances are you have a few dresses in your closet that can be rotated around for different weddings.
Carefully plan to wear the same dress at two different weddings that have different guests attending.
OR wear the same outfit regardless but just use different accessories and make those the focal point.
OR borrow/swap dresses with friends.
If you are attending a wedding where you need formal wear, use a rental service like Rent the Runway for dresses or rent a tux from a store. It is a much cheaper option than buying a formal dress or tux.
Definitely, do not break your budget over what to wear to a wedding.
Don’t forget about the cost to feed yourself while you are traveling. If you will be staying for an extended weekend, not all meals will be provided.
Usually, you can count on a nice dinner at the wedding reception and sometimes a breakfast or brunch the next morning.
If you are in the wedding party, you should be provided with breakfast/lunch while you are getting prepared for the wedding.
Bring your own food in the car or on the bus/plane/train to cut down on the fast food eating.
Choose carefully where you will eat other meals, taking full advantage of the continental breakfast if your hotel offers it!
How much you spend on a wedding gift can be controversial for some people.
Some opinions are that you should spend as much as you think they are spending to have you there. Others gauge how much they spend based on how close they are to the person. And I am sure there is a guide out there somewhere telling you that you have to spend X amount of dollars no matter what.
I say you should only spend what your budget allows!
Deciding what you will be spending on gifts for different events for the year sets up an easy way to save money during wedding season.
If you are going to be buying off the couple’s registry, look and buy early so that you have lots of options to choose from.
Other options include writing a check for however much you budgeted for their gift or coming up with something creative, yet thoughtful and appropriate.
Pre-Wedding Events: Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Parties
If you have ever been a member of a wedding party, you know that the real killer can be all the events BEFORE the wedding itself.
You feel obligated to attend any and all events that are thrown and you can be expected to spend a lot of money traveling and paying for events to “celebrate”.
These events add even more financial stress when you are trying to save money during wedding season.
If you have any idea at all that the person asking you to be a member of their wedding party is going to expect this of you, and you know you cannot afford it, think long and hard before agreeing to be in their wedding.
If you do decide to be a member of the wedding party, you may need to be up front about the fact that you cannot afford to travel long distances or attend extravagant bachelorette parties.
Keep in mind your budget when agreeing to attend these events and remember that you may be expected to chip in to pay for certain expenses for the bride-to-be.
If you are unable to financially swing attending all the events, one idea is to somehow contribute in a small way to the event.
You could order a bottle of wine for dinner one night or send champagne to the hotel room for a bachelorette party.
You could offer to help organize or plan a bridal shower even if you are not able to attend.
In the end, stick to your budget to save money during wedding season.
If you are going to be attending a wedding that will force you to incur many of these expenses, be sure you stick to a budget. Not just for the gift, but for all of the wedding-related expenses.
Try to spread out the expenses as much as possible in order to be able to fit the expenses within your monthly budget.
Hopefully, by careful planning and creative budgeting, you are able to enjoy and save money during wedding season.
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