6 Clever Tips to Avoid Going Broke as a Wedding Guest

Wedding guest
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Weddings are expensive. Some people might even say they’re an unwise waste of money… not me, of course. I’m all for celebrating love and commitment.

It’s just, you know, some people see a wedding invitation as an invoice for the cost of getting gussied up, buying a gift, traveling somewhere and giving up a weekend that would otherwise be spent on a side hustle (i.e. catching up on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”)

For those people who are worried about dropping thousands of dollars to attend friends’ and family members’ weddings this year, here are some simple ways to cut your costs and still enjoy the love and commitment.

1. Skip the Non-Wedding Stuff

Costs really add up when you start to throw in a bachelor or bachelorette party, a wedding shower (another gift?!), pre-wedding dinner (When did those open to the public?) and morning-after brunch (Yeah, the newlyweds really wanted to hop out of bed for brekky with Aunt Ida.).

If you’re strapped for cash, politely decline invitations to these peripheral events. Make your priority enjoying the wedding, and the couple will, ideally, understand.

2. Traveling to a Wedding

The nerve of your closest friends to fall in love all over the country (or world)! Now your support for their union involves vacation days, airfare and hotel rooms. That was so not in the pact you made when you were 6.

If the wedding involves a lengthy trek, use these tips to save money flying or take a frugal road trip.

You can also save a bundle just by splitting expenses with fellow wedding guests. Go halfsies on a hotel room and/or rental car to save hundreds.

3. Save Money in Style

No one wants to be the guy who decided to “casual Friday” the wedding reception. You’ll ruin all the photos. #weddingselfies4lyfe

You can be frugal and still look fabulous.

Try renting a designer dress for a fraction of the price to buy. Or start a coalition with other frequent wedding-goers to swap outfits.

If you want to splurge for a killer garment, try selling it after the wedding.

If you get regular haircuts, manicures or pedicures, schedule them strategically to align with weddings. Or, do your own. You can nail a French tip with just a rubber band!

If you’re stuck with just one reliable outfit for the season, switch up your style with different jewelry and hair styles to avoid looking like you were Photoshopped from one wedding photo to the next.

4. Bring Gifts From the Heart (Not the Store)

It’s 2017. Chances are the happy couple has been living together for months or years, and they’re set for china, toasters and “hers and hers” bath towels.

Instead, put your heart into a gift that honors their relationship and helps them remember their special day for years to come.

Check out these 10 simple homemade gift ideas for inspiration.

5. Always a Bridesmaid?

It’s quite an honor to stand beside your best friends as they tie the knot. It’s also quite a strain on your wallet.

Here’s how one serial bridesmaid saves more than $500 on her friends’ special days — did you know you could rent bridesmaid dresses?

6. Join the Racket

Want the freedom to spend what you want at the party? Earn extra money while everyone else gets married!

Take advantage of the season’s spendthrifts by raking in cash through photography, artwork, hair and makeup, music and more.

Oh, and Don’t Do This

BTW, skip crowdfunding your wedding trip — if you’re attending tons of weddings, the people in your inner circle are probably doing the same.

I’m not saying I think it’s incredibly annoying when friends post on Facebook asking for money to attend a voluntary party for an outdated tradition by people they hardly like… but, you know, some people might.

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).