Wedding Bells and Budgets

Wedding season is upon us! We’re getting ready to attend our first one of the year in a few weeks. This year’s agenda is considerably smaller than last year’s – we only have two as of now, but last year we attended NINE (in addition to our own), a majority of which were out of town. I really love going to weddings… free food & drinks, dancing, and family & friends, what’s not to like?

All of the spending that comes along with attending a wedding, that’s what. As much as I love celebrating with the newlyweds, all of the expenses associated with being a wedding guest can be a bit overwhelming, and not many people take that into account when they’re planning their budget. Here are a few suggestions for celebrating without breaking the bank:

Recycle something you’ve already worn. You don’t have to go out and buy a new dress for every wedding you attend. If you’re like me, and you’ve been to quite a few, you’re bound to have a few options in your closet from previous weddings. Make an old outfit feel fresh by changing up your jewelry or styling your hair differently. You can also borrow from a friend for something new-to-you!

Go in on a gift. Wedding registries are often filled with tons of things the newlyweds would like to begin their life together in a new home, and many times those things aren’t exactly cheap. Consider going in on a pricier gift with others attending the wedding to bring the cost down for everyone participating. Want to save even more? Give a handmade gift. These are often more thoughtful, and will be cherished by the new Mr. and Mrs. for years to come.

Skip the extra wedding activities. There are so many additional events leading up to the big day – the showers, the bachelor parties, dress shopping, etc. These can include extra “hidden” costs for dining out, ordering drinks, or even shopping. If you can’t afford to make it to all of these things, don’t feel badly for not attending or giving a lavish gift for each occasion. Use the same gift-giving tips above to save money and still show you care. It’s the thought that counts!

Use alternative lodging. Hotels can be a costly part of travel, especially if you’ve already paid a pretty penny to fly or drive to your destination. Consider splitting the cost of a room with another guest attending the wedding, or stay with any friends you might have in the area. If you can swing it, consider skipping a hotel altogether and driving home the same night, if you’re within a reasonable driving distance (and if you haven’t had anything to drink!).

Are you looking forward to celebrating any upcoming nuptials this summer? What are your favorite ways to save money as a guest?