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Major Expenses

Wedding Expenses as a Guest: How to Attend Weddings on a Budget

wedding guests give gifts at wedding shower

Wedding expenses are not a new topic of discussion among couples looking to make a commitment to one another. Statistics compiled by The Wedding Report reveal that the wedding industry is worth $59 billion in the U.S. alone.

There are even wedding loans available to help a couple have the wedding of their dreams without draining their savings accounts, by allowing them to repay the loan over time with fixed payments that fit their budget.

What’s less discussed is how wedding expenses affect those a couple cares about most, their guests. A recent study by The Knot is shedding light on this previously overlooked phenomenon.

The Knot surveyed 1,000 individuals about their experiences attending weddings, either as a guest or as an attendant.

They discovered that, on average, guests spend $888 per wedding.

That’s not a number to balk at, especially if you are attending multiple weddings within a year.

Such an expense requires some planning in order to attend and enjoy yourself while keeping your overall budget intact. These tips for saving on the various aspects of wedding related expenses will help you attend weddings on a reasonable budget.

Wedding Attire

Almost half of wedding guests purchase a new outfit when they attend a wedding. This cost alone could be hundreds of dollars.

While attire doesn’t account for the largest portion of the wedding expenses a guest is likely to incur, there still are ways to save. You can take advantage of vintage clothing and local consignment stores for a look that is fresh, unique, and under your budget.

Men in particular can dress up existing outfits with a new shirt or tie rather than buying a whole new suit. This is a great option, especially if you have multiple weddings to attend. Similarly, for women, accessories like jewelry and shoes can help upgrade your outfits through wedding season.

Transportation & Accommodation

By far, the largest challenge to attending a wedding on a budget is the cost of transportation and accommodation. With the increase in popularity of destination weddings and the number of couples who want to perform their ceremony close to family who may not live nearby, it’s no surprise that The Knot study found 37% of wedding guests have to spend money on travel and accommodations.

The amount spent by wedding guests for travel and accommodation combined averages out to approximately $643, according to The Knot study. Thankfully, however, there are a number of ways to slim down this amount.

For travel, be sure to start monitoring the price of flights early, as prices for flights fluctuate regularly. There are apps that will alert you when the price of airfare drops.

Also, if you have time off to spare, you may want to consider flying sometime midweek when airfare tends to be less expensive.

Don’t forget to take advantage of travel sites that aggregate packages for you, as well. They allow you to see rates for multiple airfares, car rentals and hotels at the same time. This may allow you to find a cheaper rate than you anticipated.

As far as accommodations go, there are a number of ways to save.

It’s fairly common for couples to reserve a block of rooms at a local hotel for a discounted rate for their guests. While this can offer savings compared to the regular rates, it may not be the best route to go. While you’re looking at airfare, be sure to look for possible hotel rooms. You may be able to find an even better deal. You may also consider going a less traditional route, like booking a personal residence through something like Airbnb.

If other guests are willing to go in on the cost of a whole rental home, that could cut down even further on your wedding expenses.

Wedding Gifts

You want to show the couple getting married you love them, but it doesn’t necessarily have to cost you an exorbitant amount. On average, guests spend $118 on wedding gifts. There are a number of ways to keep that cost down, however, and still show that you really care.

Be sure to check out the couple’s registry early on. Almost half of the items on a registry are usually under $50, The Knot found. That means you can still get something that you know they’ll love, and stay on budget in the process. You could also team up with other guests if you wanted to all chip in on a larger ticket item. And don’t forget the appeal of handmade gifts! It’s a highly personal way to give something unique that they may cherish.

Attending weddings on a budget doesn’t have to be any less fun than it would be otherwise. Plus, when you actively monitor your wedding expenses, you have the ability to save more while still celebrating the people you love.

Paying for Your Wedding at the Same Time

Where things could really get tricky is if you have your own wedding in the same time span as a bunch of other weddings.

Between your own wedding planning budget and the expenses that might come with attending multiple ceremonies, you may need some additional funds. This is where personal loans can be used, as long as you have a sound plan for repaying them when the festivities come to an end.