Frugal Guide to Being a Wedding Guest

With the summer wedding season upon us, many people find their calendars filled with weddings. While watching a couple start their life together is a great way to spend your day, it can also be expensive to travel, find the perfect outfit and pay a babysitter. But you shouldn’t have to decline the invitation just because you are watching your finances. 

Here are some tips to attend a wedding without breaking your budget:

Share Expenses with Other Guests

If you know someone who is also attending the same wedding, brainstorm ways that you can share expenses together. “Whether it’s carpooling with other attendees, going in together on a gift or sharing babysitting expenses, pooling your resources with other wedding attendees is a great way to cut down on costs,” said  Jeff Kear, owner of Planning Pod.

You could also share a hotel room, split the costs for a rental car or take a road trip to an out of town wedding together. For local weddings, you could drive to the wedding together to save on parking or even go in on a wedding gift together to make your dollars stretch further. Make sure that you communicate clear expectations with the other guest as far as expenses and timing to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Bargain Shop for Your Wedding Attire

Everyone wants to look good when they attend a wedding, but buying a brand new outfit to wear once can also be expensive.  Since you often know about an upcoming wedding months in advance, shop end of the season sale racks at your favorite store, scour local thrift stores and even search eBay for discounted outfits

The most affordable option is to wear an outfit that you already have. Take a good look in your closet and see if you have a dress or suit that would work for the occasion. Or even a have fashion-minded friend take a tour of your wardrobe to see if she has any ideas. Sometimes just buying a new shirt to go with an existing outfit can make a world of difference. You could also jazz it up by buying a new piece of jewelry or a jacket.

If you have a friend who is the same size, ask if you could go shopping in her closet to find a “new to you” dress to borrow for the night. Shoes and purses are another item that you can easily borrow from a friend to help save money.

Find the Most Affordable Accommodations

If you are traveling from out of town, spend time researching the most affordable lodging. If the bride has rooms reserved at certain hotel, be sure to compare the rate with other local hotels. “Sometimes you end up with something more affordable than the bride & grooms hotel and it’s next door so you can still enjoy the celebration,” said Nik Moody, of MHNSAVES.  He also recommends using any discounts that you are eligible for, such as AAA, AARP or senior discounts. Another option is using hotel bidding sites, such as Hotwire and Priceline, to find discounted hotels.  

If money is especially tight and the lodging costs will prohibit you from coming to the wedding, ask the couple if there are any friends or family in the area who might be willing to open their home to you.  Be sure to bring a small gift and write a handwritten thank you note to your hosts for their hospitality.