If you’re in your 20s or 30s, it might feel like weddings are taking over your life. It might seem like every day, a new couple announces their engagement on Facebook, or a save-the-date arrives in your mailbox.
Whether you’re bitter or excited, one thing’s for sure: weddings cost money, both to host and to attend.
To offset the cost of the weddings you’ll go to this year, why not turn them into earning opportunities — and help your friends save money at the same time? Win-win!
Here are nine ways to earn some extra cash from weddings:
1. Take Engagement Photos
If you’re a shutterbug, this is a great way to build your portfolio and earn some extra cash. Though your friends may want to hire a professional photographer for the wedding itself, they probably won’t be as particular about their engagement photos.
Since they’re already comfortable with you, it’ll be good practice for them in front of the camera — and they’ll also save money by only hiring a professional for the big day.
Be sure to look at professional engagement photos beforehand for ideas for poses, and then upload the edited photos to a photo-sharing site so the couple can easily download them and order prints.
2. Make Wedding Websites
Every wedding has a website these days. For the less-than-technically inclined, creating one can pose a problem.
Wedding websites are fairly simple, though — so for web-savvy folks, this is a quick and easy way to earn money.
Purchase a domain and hosting service, install WordPress and a free theme, and you’re good to go. For some extra dough, write copy and upload photos onto the site for the busy couple.
3. Address Envelopes
Many couples want the addresses on their save-the-dates, invitations and thank you cards to be perfect. And many are willing to pay for that perfection: professional calligraphers charge $3-4 per envelope!
If you’ve got good penmanship, offer to address envelopes for a fraction of the price.
Even at $1 per envelope for a 100-person wedding, you’ll earn $100 — and save your friends a few hundred bucks.
4. Act as a Travel Agent and Organizer
As our lives have grown more and more mobile, all weddings have become destination weddings for at least some of the guests.
If the wedding is taking place in your city, act as a travel agent for the couple’s out-of-town friends and family. When someone has a question about where to fly into, where to stay or what activities to plan, the couple can just give them your email or phone number.
Take care of logistics for visiting guests: Book shuttles, block off hotel rooms and provide general knowledge about the best things to do and eat in the area. If the couple wants to organize activities for their guests, you can spearhead that, as well.
5. Create Decorations
Crafty people, rejoice! A wedding provides an abundance of opportunities for you to get your glue gun on.
Everything from centerpieces to placecards to favors is cheaper to make than buy, so offer to design and execute all decorative needs for the wedding. Shop at discount stores and buy in bulk to save money on your supplies.
6. Bake Desserts
Wedding cakes cost an arm and a leg, and most people don’t end up eating much anyway. If you’re talented in the kitchen, here’s an area where you can definitely profit.
Choose a dessert you excel at making, or one that’s meaningful for the couple.
Cupcakes are an obvious choice — they’re cheaper than a cake, easier to transport and trendy. Bake a few different flavors to please the varying tastes of the guests, and decorate them so they look pretty.
7. Do Wedding Makeup and Hair
Every bride wants to look the most beautiful she’s ever looked on her wedding day. That’s why people who do wedding makeup and hair earn the big bucks.
If all your friends come to you for beauty advice, this might be the perfect job for you.
Be sure to do a test run a few weeks before the wedding. This gives you and the bride a chance to agree on a style, and helps avoid unwanted surprises on the big day.
8. Provide Musical Entertainment
Help make the day special with your musical talent.
If you’re a guitarist, play and sing while the bride walks down the aisle, or during the cocktail hour. If you have a band, get the crowd going at the reception. If you’re a DJ, spin tunes for the reception or after-party.
Whatever you’re into, music is an integral part of any big event — so help your friends’ wedding rock!
9. Be a Sober Driver
Weddings are a celebration — so they often involve drinking. If you don’t drink alcohol, this is a fabulous opportunity to keep people safe and put some extra money in your pocket.
Pick up guests from their hotels, enjoy the event with a soda in hand, then shuttle people back. Charge a flat fee per person, an hourly rate from your friends or just work for tips.
Your Turn: Are all your friends getting married? Can you think of any other ways to make some money from it?
Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.