Weddings are pricey for everyone involved. The average marriage celebration rings in at around $26,000. But it isn’t just the couple that incurs costs — so do the wedding guests. American Express Spending and Saving Tracker reports that on average, wedding guests spend $703 each. Don’t get me wrong: It’s an honor and privilege to be invited to be part of nuptials and very special to witness the exchanging of vows.
If you want to RSVP yes to a wedding but don’t want to go broke in the process, here are some tips to help keep your costs under control.
What to Wear
Weddings provide an excuse to get all gussied up. This doesn’t mean you have to head out and buy a new outfit and pair of shoes — you can be creative and save your money.
Borrow: Ask a friend if you can borrow an outfit. It’ll be just like shopping when you head into their closet to find an ensemble, without a price tag attached. Make sure to consider cleaning costs, as you’ll want to return the garments washed. If dry-cleaning is needed for an item of clothing, perhaps leave that one on the hanger.
Ask a Friend to Style You: Get a fresh set of eyes on your own clothing by asking a friend — whose style you like — for a second opinion. They can come and help you repurpose clothes from your current wardrobe. They’ll be able to see what you’ve got, as opposed to you, who’s bored of what’s inside your closet. Mixing and matching items of clothing can give you an original take on what clothing you already own. The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is known for remixing her wardrobe — if she can do it, so can you.
Rent: A fancy outfit is good for one or two wears — you won’t be wearing the same garment to multiple weddings. So instead of buying your outfit outright, rent it. There are websites like Rent the Runway and shops that allow you to lease an ensemble from top designers including Badgley Mischka and Diane von Furstenberg.
What to Give
You can’t show up empty-handed to a wedding — you need to come bearing a gift for the happy couple. When picking out the perfect gift, consider how to keep your costs manageable.
Review Gift Registry: The couple has taken the time to pick out products they want. Anything you select off of the registry they will like — regardless of the price tag. Look through the list and identify gifts you can comfortably afford, then choose from those.
Shop Around: You can take the list from the gift registry and shop around. You don’t have to purchase the gift from the store the couple has chosen. If you can find the same item from elsewhere for less, why not?!
Get Crafty: A handmade, personalized gift can be very special. It shows you took the time and energy to make a present. If you are a photographer, maybe take a portrait of the couple. If you’re into ceramics, make a platter or vase. There is no shortage of gifts you can make.
How to Get There
Whether the wedding’s in the next state over or in another country, how you get there can ramp up your costs. If you plan ahead, you can find cost-saving ways to go.
Go on Vacation: Whether your destination is somewhere in the U.S. or at an exotic foreign locale, you can make the trip really count by booking a vacation around it. This way, you’re maximizing the money you spent on the flight or rental vehicle or car fuel. It will also allow you to book airplane flights that aren’t on peak days and times, including early mornings, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Opt out of Hotels: Don’t stay at a run-of-the-mill, generic hotel. Instead, get a taste of how the locals live by renting a place via HomeAway or Airbnb. There are thousands of properties to choose from for far less than what a hotel will charge. Most of these suites also have kitchens, which will allow you to save money, too. You’ll be able to prepare and cook your own meals, saving you from paying the high cost of always eating out.
No couple wants their wedding guests to feel burdened by the prospect of attending their nuptials. Try not to fret too much about what to wear or what to give because truly, your presence is what matters most.