The Frugal Wedding Guest: The Happily Ever After for your Budget
Sure, you are delighted that your BFF, favourite colleague, childhood friend etc. etc. is getting married, and you are no doubt pleased to be invited to the wedding.
However, attending a wedding is costly. And it seems like that in certain phases of your life, there are numerous weddings to attend, many in short sequence of each other. The costs associated with being a wedding guest can really add up quickly- and without a little planning can really punch a hole into your budget.
No Thank you
The easiest way to save money is to turn down a wedding invitation (although etiquette generally requires that you send a gift, albeit a smaller one).
However, this may not suit you- or may cause problems and hurt feelings if you don’t attend. Weigh out your options. If you do decide to decline, RSVP right away, out of courtesy for the bride and groom to facilitate with your planning.
Set a Budget
If you plan on attending, set a budget as early as you can, so that you can squirrel away extra cash to cover off the expenses related to being a wedding guest.
Remember to include all of the costs so that you are adequately prepared. Obviously, you need a gift- but remember things like clothing, babysitters, transportation (taxi, public transport or gas and parking). If the wedding in question is out of town, don’t forget money spent on getting to the destination as well as hotel and food costs.
Cut the Costs
So, now you’ve set an event (or events) specific budget. Where can you cut further costs?
If travelling, try to bunk in at a friend or relative’s home, which can really help defray costs. If staying in a hotel, search out travel deals, inquire if there is a “wedding discount” (bride and groom will often hold blocks of rooms at a discounted rate) or see if you can rustle up some roommates to spilt the hotel bill.
If you are attending more than one wedding, try to get an outfit that will serve double duty (or more). Seek a basic dress or skirt outfit (convertible skirts are awesome, because you can rewrap them to create numerous different outfits) and swap in and out accessories to create different looks.
Gift: More for Less
When it comes to the wedding gift, there are numerous ways to save money, but most of them involve planning. As with all things budgetary, waiting until the last minute means paying for convenience.
Wedding gifts can be pricey for sure. Studies show that on average, people spend anywhere from $75- $150 on a wedding gift, depending on the relationship that they have with the bride and/or groom.
Do you have a skill that is useful or of interest to the couple? Are you a photographer, musician, baker etc.? Perhaps you could donate some of your time on the day during the ceremony or reception in that capacity as your gift. Win, win!
Are there a number of friends or family that you know attending the wedding? There is strength in numbers- with a smaller financial contribution going towards a more major (and more appreciated) purchase.
Another idea is to get a gift card from one of the stores that the couple is registered at, especially if items that remain on the registry are beyond your price range. They will appreciate the help after the wedding in being able to complete items that they didn’t receive (i.e. topping up things like towel sets, place settings, etc.).