How not to go broke as a wedding guest (and still keep your besties)
Summer’s right around the corner, and you know what that means: we’re about to go to a crazy amount of weddings! While celebrating our friends’ engagements and basking in the love with lots of partying is fabulous, it’s also majorly expensive. Marketwatch reports that the average wedding guest will spend $673 this year. That’s 14% more than last year. And that’s not even if you’re in the bridal party. Say you’re a bridesmaid? Expect to hand over about $700 for the occasion.
Between airfare, hotels, bachelorette parties, showers and gifts, the money racks up pretty quickly. But let’s be honest, there’s no way you’re not going to your BFF’s party (make that, all three of them). If you’re totally jazzed about celebrating the love of your besties (and let’s face it, who isn’t?!) but you’re tight on the expendable cash flow, you may be looking for a few ways to save on wedding attendance this year. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Rack up those miles.
Does your airline of choice have a rewards program? Sign up! If you don’t fly enough for that to be an option, you can always look into credit card rewards programs that give you points towards flights. Some airlines allow you to view their monthly calendar rates, so that you can pick the cheapest days to fly in and out. For help navigating the rewards system, because it’s thorny, check out blogs like The Points Guy and Forbes‘ handy cheat sheet for racking up FF points.
Join forces with friends.
Do you have a few friends in common with the lovely bride and groom? Check in to see if they’ve got plans on how to travel to the wedding. Carpooling is always a fun, easy way to save a little gas money. And when it comes to gifting, gather up those aforementioned friends and chip in to be able to purchase a pricey present together. Teamwork!
Skip the hotel and opt for a house.
In the age of AirBnB, who needs to book an expensive hotel anymore? A little advanced searching can help you find the cheapest place to stay near the event. Book a spot where you can crash with a few people, and basically spend half of what you would for a hotel room. If you’re squeamish about renting a room from a stranger, you can always check their ratings and reviews for peace of mind.
Rent that runway, gurl.
No need to shill out the big bucks for a new fancy dress. There are loads of places where you can rent one for the big day. You can also approach the outfit situation from the opposite direction and purchase a quality ensemble that can then be reused throughout the wedding season.
Be a beauty school drop-in.
The wedding industry’s best-kept secret surely must be the existence of local beauty schools. Make an appointment for your hair, nails, and heck, spring for a facial — you’ll come in under the price of one of those features at a salon, and you’ll look amazing in the pictures. The services provided are usually on par with professionals, and they’re steeply discounted. You’ll still feel like a million bucks, but without spending it.
Do yourself a favor and pack light.
Unless you’re joining Kim and Kanye on their European city whirlwind destination wedding, chances are you’re just going for the weekend. Not having to check a bag will save you both time and pesky baggage fees.
Eat on the cheap.
We’re not above packing our own snacks, and really, it’s a small way to make a difference in how much the weekend will cost your wallet. Granola bars and dried fruit travel well.
Gift outside the box.
Wedding registries are great and all, but sometimes you just don’t have $50 to drop on a plush towel set. Look to Etsy for fun ideas in decor for the happy couple’s new abode. Do they have a shared fandom? Check Society6 or Threadless for loads of nerdy, original fanart, for a less pricey gift that means more than those towels ever could.
Worst case scenario: Skype in!
I have watched more than a few friend’s weddings on livestream due to not being able to afford to attend. It’s a really nice way to still be able to feel connected and share in their happiness, while respecting your budget constraints. Don’t feel too bad — with the money you’re saving, you can afford to send a little nicer gift.