Unless the wedding is spectacularly close, generally, attending a wedding means at least an overnight stay somewhere, sometimes longer than a single night, depending on the length of the festivities. Travel costs could include:
- Return airfare
- Car rental
- Hotel stay
- Taxis or Ubers
Travel can ultimately be one of your biggest costs. So how to reduce it as much as you can? The easy answer: share.
Part of the whole wedding experience is seeing friends and family you may not have connected with in a while, right? Take advantage of that and reach out to people and see if they’re willing to share transport if the destination is drivable (of course, only if you feel comfortable with them…). And if there’s nobody you know of attending the wedding, speak to the bride and groom; it’s likely they’ll know someone happy to split costs.
If you’re flying - set price alerts. Right now. Or start looking into reward flights or frequent flyer seats, as often they can get booked out a lot earlier than standard tickets. Decide on your clothes for the wedding (and potentially how long you stay) with the plan to not check a bag. It’ll make your life a lot easier, and you’ll avoid any extra charges.
And if the wedding is somewhere a lot of guests will be staying overnight, rather than going with the pre-arranged accommodation, looking into something like Airbnb and get a bunch of people to chip in and stay with you.
And the gifts?
While there are a handful of general guidelines about buying gifts for a wedding, the best bet is to budget in somewhere around the $100 mark. If that’s something you’d like to reduce the cost of a few opportunities to do so include:
- Splitting the cost of gifts with friends or family: If you’re thinking about your budget for the wedding, it’s likely your friends and family are as well - checking with them may allow you to give something outside of your anticipated budget if you were getting a gift on your own.
- Give cash: Giving cash is something you know the people getting married will be able to use, and it puts less pressure on you to give more than what you can afford
- Check the registry: If they have a registry, check early. You may be able to grab one of the less expensive (though no less appreciated) options they offer.
If you know the people getting married particularly well, you have a bit of room to go off-registry and create something more personal that potentially costs less than a registry gift.
Say yes to the dress? Maybe not.
Weddings can be full of unexpected costs! The key is anticipating what they may be and either how to budget for them or work around them.
- New duds: A lot of times weddings are an opportunity (or excuse) to buy a new outfit. Resist the urge and work with an outfit you already have; give it a new life with different accessories,dramatic makeup or something otherwise unique.
- Professional face: We all want to look our best for our loved one’s big day - and some get ready to the nines, with professional hair or makeup. Instead, use this as an opportunity to learn that really cool makeup trick or spend a bit more time with your hair than usual. If all else fails and you know you’re a lost cause, see if anyone you know is willing to offer a helping hand!
- All the events: Did you know on average millennials in the US spent $600 ($852AUD) per wedding event? So, if you’re invited to the hens (or bucks), engagement party and wedding - consider what you want to actually attend! Your wallet will thank you, as that alone could cost you more than $2,000 to go to all three.
You can say no
At the end of the day, if attending a wedding is too much of a stretch for you, you can say no. The best way to do this? Pick up the phone, share your regrets and express your congratulations.
If you’re still able to buy a gift, pick one off the registry and purchase, or include a gift card when sending back your RSVP (still send your RSVP!). And if you’re able to - when you offer your regrets, try to line up a dinner with them when they return.
There are so many ways you can celebrate with those getting married, even if you’re not able to go! Remember that if you’re feeling guilty about not going to a friend’s wedding - just because they’re getting married, it doesn’t mean that you’ll stop seeing them or not be able to share your joy with them in other ways.