Wedding season is in full swing. We just watched THE wedding of the year—the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. You can be sure that saving money was not much on the minds of anyone there.
But for the rest of us, who are working very hard to keep control of our budgets, finding ways to not go broke attending your friends’ weddings is a priority. If you have only one wedding to attend, your challenges are less intense. But, most of us have lots of friends, and several of them may be getting married over the next few months.
According to experts, the average guest spends approximately $178 to attend their friend’s wedding. If the wedding is out of town, the average tab is close to $1,000. If you have multiple weddings…you can do the math. “Destination weddings” have become very popular today, which means you also have the expenses of a resort vacation.
So, the question is: how can you not go broke attending your friends’ weddings, and at the same time look good and not cheap?
Here are 5 tips to help you honor your friends, have fun and not go broke.
As always, we begin with this key strategy to financial serenity. Usually, we know in advance when our friends are getting married. If you have several getting married this summer and fall, take the time now to figure out how much it is going to cost for each one. Do you need to travel? How far? Stay overnight? What is this going to cost? How about gifts? Clothes? Can you afford it? If your friends’ weddings are all out of town, you may have to make the tough decision of declining the invitation. You can still send a gift and honor them in some other way.
Unless it is a last-minute wedding, you have enough time to start exploring the most affordable ways to arrive at your friend’s wedding. If air travel is required, make use of the many online sites that offer cheap flights, package deals, and last-minute savings.
Traveling out of town for your friend’s wedding is going to eat up the biggest portion of your budget. Look for ways to minimize this expense. For instance, if a group of you are attending the wedding, consider renting a vacation home or Airbnb rental. There are other discount sites too, such as VRBO.com and HomeAway. If you prefer room service, then organize a group discount at the hotel. If you can gather 10 of your friends to join you at the same hotel, you can work out a very good discount. By the way, you can get a group discount with certain airlines too. It pays to do your research.
Just about every couple opens a wedding registry and they will give you the link to it. If you have several friends getting married, one way to not go broke attending your friends’ weddings is to buy the most affordable item they have selected. Alternatively, you can join up with other friends and collectively buy them a more expensive item. You can also skip the registry altogether and give your friends a gift of service. You can volunteer to provide a service at the wedding or give a gift certificate for services after the wedding. Just remember, you don’t have to wow them with the most extravagant and expensive wedding gift.
Now, here is where you have to be careful or you can go broke attending your friends’ weddings. For you guys, it’s less of a problem. This tip is addressed to the ladies. In truth, the same dress with different accessories works perfectly well. Invest in a classic dress that can easily be accessorized with different scarfs, jackets, shoes, handbags and of course jewelry. If you like to wear hats, choose different a different one for each wedding. More people will remember the hat and less will remember the dress.
If the idea of wearing the same dress to multiple weddings is out of the question, consider renting your dress. Sites like RentTheRunway offer designer dresses for a very affordable price.
Safeguard Your Credit Card
Being careful with your credit card is critical to your efforts to not go broke attending your friends’ weddings. If you don’t have to travel out of town, leave the credit card at home. It will eliminate any impulse spending. If you are traveling, safeguard your credit card and use it only when necessary. Try to buy the wedding gift with cash, a p2p transfer or with your debit card. As we discussed in our previous article about saving money on your wedding, credit card bills that you cannot afford to pay will erase all the joy of the wedding you experienced.
Bottom line: Plan, budget, research, avoid the urge to impress.