How to Save on Wedding Expenses for the Guest

When it comes to weddings, you frequently hear how expensive it can be to have one, but no one ever discusses how much it costs to attend one. So far this year, I have purchased five different gifts for various events related to one wedding-- an engagement gift, lingerie shower gift, couple’s shower gift, bridal shower gift, and a wedding gift. Add to this, travel expenses for the bachelorette party, wedding showers, the destination wedding, and the wedding reception in my hometown. Often times there are other expenses that result from attending the wedding, such as new outfits and beauty essentials (hair, makeup, manicures, etc.), and especially if you are a part of the wedding party. When you add up all the expenses, it comes out to…A LOT!

With more weddings in the forecast this year, how will I attend all the events without leaving my budget at the altar? Below are a few tips on how to save this wedding season, so you can be richer, not poorer. 

  1. Purchase online vs. in-store. Many retailers offer free shipping and gift wrap services, so you can save on gas, gift wrapping, and possibly shipping costs if you live in a different city. If you’re shopping online, remember to scour the Web for promotion codes before buying.
  2. Regift. There isn’t a rule that says you have to stick to a couple’s registry. If you have gift that follows the regifting rules, regift away. If you’re married, be sure the couple didn’t give you the gift!
  3. Go in on a group gift. When you split the cost of a gift, you can still give something nice without breaking your budget. Remember that group gifts don’t only apply to weddings and can be given for any event/holiday.
  4. Split travel expenses. Gifts aren’t the only expense you can share with someone. If the wedding requires travel, why not split hotel and transportation costs with a friend as well? If sharing travel expenses isn’t in your plan, there are many other tips on how to save on transportation and accommodations.
  5. Plan ahead. Flights, hotels, and transportation are most often less expensive if you book far in advance. Also, if you purchase a gift too close to the wedding date, you’ll have limited choices in the registry, so purchase gifts as early as possible.

Above all, always work with what’s in your budget regardless of how close you are to the couple or what “rules” you’ve heard elsewhere. The bride and groom will be happy to share their special day with you and/or receive any gift, big or small!

If you’ve attended many weddings, what are other ways you have saved on wedding expenses? Please share!

Anna Kronzer is a former marketing specialist and program manager at MMI.