Eight ways to save money as a wedding guest

It’s always wonderful to be invited to a friend or family member’s ‘big day’, yet when you add up the costs of travel, accommodation, gifts, outfits and drinks, being a wedding guest doesn’t come cheap. According to research, the average cost for a guest is $400, but as anyone who’s ever attended a destination wedding will tell you, it can be much higher.

Expensive purchases can include a wedding gift, lodging, and an outfit. But anyone who’s been a member of a wedding party knows the cost often doesn’t stop there.

The events surrounding weddings today can also drive up the cost for guests. From the engagement party to the stag and hen dos, there can be many events leading up to the big day, each with a cost associated.

If you’ve had a flurry of invitations and now you’re wondering how you’re going to afford these occasions, there are some simple ways to cut costs.

Be prepared
The biggest wedding black hole is not being prepared. As soon as you receive an invitation for a wedding, map out a budget to make sure you’re aware of all the costs involved upfront. This way, they won’t come as a surprise later.

Usually, if it’s a destination wedding, you’ll have received ample time to organise flights and accommodation. Which gives you enough time to set up a budget to cover those extra costs. Also, everything is cheaper the further out from the day you book.

Read: Would you use a budgeting app?

Focus on the main event
One set of costs you can often skip are the ones associated with pre-wedding events. If attending the actual wedding is already going to cost you a pretty penny, there is nothing wrong with giving some of the smaller celebrations a miss to save your funds for the main event.

Rent your outfit
Wedding dress hire has really started taking off, but it’s not just brides who are choosing to rent their outfits for the big day.

You can rent your wedding outfit from websites such as Dress Hire AU, Ferrari Formalwear, or find boutiques in your local area that often allow you to rent dresses for up to eight days. For affordable men’s suits, try Suitor or Ferrari Formalwear.

Rentals are particularly useful if you’re going to be attending several weddings with the same group of friends and you’re feeling the (unnecessary) pressure to have a new ensemble for every occasion.

Same dress, new look
Depending on your budget and how many weddings you’ve been invited to, renting a dress can sometimes become an expensive option as well. Another alternative to minimise your wedding outfit spend is to buy one or two statement dresses and use accessories to change up the look for each event. An elegant, emerald pencil dress paired with closed-toe heels and a dainty necklace takes on a totally different vibe when accompanied by strappy sandals and chunky jewellery.

Read: Brides who wore mini dresses

Shop around for accommodation
While staying at the wedding venue (if there are rooms available) may be the most convenient option, oftentimes it’s not the most economical, especially if the ceremony is being held at a five-star hotel.

Comparison websites such as Kayak, Trivago and Skyscanner (not just useful for flights) can help you find the cheapest hotels nearby – just make sure to check TripAdvisor reviews before booking rather than relying on the star rating systems. Airbnb can be a very affordable option if you share a rental property with other guests or book a room instead of a whole flat or house.

Go halves on a gift
Unless the happy couple has expressly stated ‘no gifts’, you wouldn’t want to turn up at a wedding empty-handed.

Alternatively, a homemade gift can actually be more impressive and meaningful. Taking the time to paint, sew, embroider or cross stitch a personalised present for the couple will cost a lot less, but the result is priceless.

Be the early bird
If you’re close enough with the bride and groom, ask them when the registry will be open. Hitting the registry early means you’ll have a better chance of picking something that fits your budget.

When buying a gift online, keep an eye out for promotion codes too!

Read: Get money back the next time you shop online

Politely decline if you have to
While there are some weddings you wouldn’t dream of missing, if you’re faced with a stack of invitations and the prospect of travelling far and wide, you may want to make a call on how many you can realistically attend.

You might want to limit your attendance to nuptials where you don’t have to stay overnight. There may be some pressure from others, but sometimes you’ve got to put your finances first.

Do you have any weddings scheduled this summer? What other tips do you have for saving money? Please share them with our readers in the comments sections below.

– With PA

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