According to the New York Times, the average wedding guest spends nearly $900 to partake in the festivities. That price tag can make your wallet want to say, “I don’t!” — especially if your wedding season dance card is full.
But don’t worry. Charlie knows a bunch of money-saving hacks so you can catch the bouquet without breaking the bank!
Financially Surviving Wedding Season as a Guest
Set a Budget and Prioritize
Take a peek at your finances and determine exactly how much you can spend on the occasion without wreaking havoc on your budget. Once you have a figure in mind, it’s time to create a spending plan.
You can stay near the venue in style, rival the bride for beauty, or be the best gift giver ever — but you may not be able to afford to do it all. If that’s the case, you’ll need to make some trade-offs to stay within your set limits. For example, if you want to give a lavish gift, that could mean forgoing the expensive salon visit the morning of the ceremony.
Tip: Charlie can help you plan ahead by starting a new savings goal called “wedding.”
Try going in on wedding attendance expenses with family and friends. You can split the cost of lodging, transportation, and even the gift. That way, everyone saves some cash and can still fully take part in the experience.
Beautify Yourself (or Find a Deal)
If you’ve got the skills, skip the pricey salon and do your own hair, makeup, and mani-pedi. DIY’ing your beauty regimen will save you some serious cash. (You may even already have the supplies on hand!) Afraid of looking like Elizabeth Holmes? Ask a friend to help paint your face and braid their hair in trade.
If you really want to be pampered, check Groupon to score a deal on the service. You can also reach out to local beauty schools. Often, their students will gussy you up for much less dough than a pro.
Re-wear or Rent Attire
There is zero shame in wearing a killer dress (or suit) twice. So save your wallet and rock that outfit again! You can also raid a friend’s closet to wear something that’s new to you. But — if you must wear something brand new, consider renting your ensemble for a fraction of the price of buying it off the rack.
Make Your Gift
If you’ve got the talent, why not use it to make something heartfelt and budget friendly? Your newlyweds will appreciate the gesture and will likely cherish it over another set of wine glasses.
Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:
- Sing a song at the reception
- Make the centerpieces on the dinner tables
- Offer to photograph the event
- Create a scrapbook about their relationship
- Knit a blanket for their couch or bed
- Paint their new family portrait
Still feeling uninspired? Pinterest has got you covered!
Just Say No
Although it hurts to check “will not attend” on the RSVP card, remember: an invitation to a wedding is a request, not a requirement. Sometimes your wallet just can’t swing it and that’s OK. If that happens, confidently decline with your regrets and send a little (perhaps homemade) gift in your place.
Being a wedding guest can be crazy expensive — but it doesn’t have to be. Every element of the experience can be optimized to fit your budget. So go ahead and feel the love while enjoying your fatter bank account.
Tell Charlie: What’s the most you’ve ever spent as a wedding guest? Was it worth it?
Please note: We don’t have an affiliation with or personally endorse any of the services linked to in this post. We’re just trying to give you some ideas.