Getting married is both a beautiful dream and a financial nightmare. As cynical as that sounds, the fact that the average wedding in the U.S. now costs almost $30,000 demonstrates how true this statement is. If you’re done with planning your own wedding and instead of attending someone else’s ceremony in the near future, then how can you possibly save money as a wedding guest?
Save Money as a Wedding Guest
Sure, it’s cheaper to be a guest than a host, but weddings are still pretty pricy for guests as well. In fact, a study from LendEDU in 2017 found that the average American spends over $1,380 to attend a wedding!
To avoid the financial headache of weddings, here are some strategies for minimizing your costs so you can focus on enjoying the ceremony instead of fretting over how much this experience is costing you:
There’s already dozens of sites where people can rent wedding dresses and tuxedos, but what if you’re just a wedding guest looking for deals on clothes for your best friend or family member’s big day? Luckily there are also websites where you can rent formal attire and simply return it after the wedding through the mail. This lowers your upfront investment and avoids the hassle of keeping expensive clothes that you’ll never wear again (until the next wedding, perhaps).
Discount Clothing Retailers
Why spend $100+ on fancy clothes to wear to a wedding if you’re not likely to wear the item more than once per year (if ever again)? If renting clothes isn’t an option for whatever reason, then discount retailers that sell wedding-appropriate attire is your next best bet.
These retailers include Marshall’s, Ross, T.J. Maxx, or even Amazon has plenty of options as well (in many sizes, too!). This option is particularly great if you’re a parent and your kids will likely grow out of their wedding clothes by the time there’s another event that requires the level of class and sophistication a formal wedding entails.
Groupon Wedding Gifts
A few years ago, this might’ve sounded like a blasphemous idea to buy discounted items and experiences using Groupon to give as a wedding gift. However, the Groupon Goods section has a plethora of excellent wedding gift ideas (many of which you can purchase ahead of time so the recipients won’t even know you used a Groupon to get a discount on them).
Some wedding gift ideas you could find on Groupon include personalized home décor, wine bottle sets, kitchen appliances, smart technologies, professional photography sessions, local restaurant and travel experiences, and many more! If you do give the Groupon to the newlyweds, be sure to click the “Give as a Gift” option so the price will be obscured and you can include a personalized message to the recipients.
Airbnb for Destination Weddings
Are you wondering how in the world you’ll be able to afford the airfare, ground transportation, and lodging for an upcoming wedding? While destination weddings can be exciting mini-vacations, they can still be a nightmare for wedding guests who don’t have $1,000 or so laying around to put towards a few nights in an exotic locale for a friend or family member’s wedding. Since the alternative would be not attending at all, how can you possibly save money as a wedding guest and save money on travel without blowing your budget?
One good option would be skipping the hotel or resort – even if most of the wedding guests will be staying there – and opting for a local Airbnb rental instead. Airbnb accommodations are oftentimes significantly cheaper than local hotel rates, which is a bonus for solo travelers who would rather rent out a room for a few nights as opposed to paying $100+ per night for a whole hotel room to yourself.
If there are no Airbnb options in the area where the wedding will be held, consider reaching out to the soon-to-be-married couple and asking if any of their guests would mind sharing a room with you so you can still save on accommodation expenses without hotel fees burning a hole in your wallet.
Traveling to the Wedding
Unless you’re able to hitch a ride with another group of guests or the wedding is local, you’ll have to factor travel expenses into your wedding guest budget as well. If the wedding location is close enough for you to drive to, consider asking the hosts if they know anyone who would like to carpool with you. If the wedding requires long-distance transportation via train or air, you can save money by using credit card points to lower the overall cost of your train or plane ticket.
Attending a wedding as a guest is more financially feasible than being part of the bridal or groom’s brigade (or being the newlywed yourself!). However, there are still several steps you should take to minimize your expenses as a wedding guest so you don’t blow your budget preparing for this special day. By following the guidelines listed above, you won’t have to worry so much about how expensive wedding attendance is and focus your mental and emotional energy on celebrating the new happy couple instead.