How to Cut Wedding Costs — When You're the Guest

Forget planning a wedding; just attending a wedding can be a major wallet drainer. Between traveling, lodging, and gifts, being a guest can cost upward of $1,000. Here are five ways to curb costs while still showing support for the lovely couple and having a great time, which is what weddings should be all about.

  • Think through lodging options: Getting a hotel room can take up a huge part of your travel cost, especially when prices soar during wedding season. If you live close enough to the venue (even a couple of hours away driving), consider skipping the hotel room altogether. Or, if you're comfortable with it, ask other guests to share the room with you so you split the cost. Another option is to look for hotel alternatives, like Airbnb rooms for rent in the area.
  • Skip the prewedding activities: A big reason why weddings are so expensive is because of all festivities that come before the big day; there's the engagement party, the bachelorette party, and the bridal shower. Don't feel like you have to attend every single one or give gifts for every occasion. It's OK to decline and say you have other plans. If you still feel bad, then you can always take your friend out to lunch to make up for the events you've missed.
  • Give handmade gifts: If you do decide to attend all the activities that come with a wedding, then consider giving presents that are handmade or that have sentimental value without costing too much. If you've known the bride since childhood, for instance, then she'll probably love a framed picture of the two of you in your younger years.
  • Get creative with outfits: Dressing up for weddings is always fun, but boy, can it cost a pretty penny. Ask friends if you can borrow their cocktail dresses for the occasion, and head to the thrift store for statement jewelry (you'd be surprised at the gems you can find). Do your own hair and makeup, and we guarantee you'll look great without spending a fortune.
  • Split the gift: There's nothing wrong with going in on a nice gift with other guests. This way, you'll be able to get the couple something nicer than what you would be able to afford on your own, and you won't feel like you're breaking the bank.

Do you have any tips of your own for saving money as a wedding guest?