11 of the Sneakiest Ways to Save Money Attending a Wedding

We all know weddings can be expensive. In fact, just this past April, American Express reported that the average cost of a guest attending a wedding was $673, up 13% from last year and 21% from 2013. Uh, yikes.

But before you start crying all of the tears and obsessively refreshing your bank account balance, read these totally sneaky ways to save a little money on your pal’s big day. From smart ways to save on gifts, to the best tricks for saving on travel, we’ve got you.

Save Money Attending a Wedding

Photo by Dennis Ottink 

1. Hit the registry ASAP. Check out the registry as soon as you can to ensure that there will be plenty of gifts in your price range. If you wait too long, you’ll be stuck purchasing that $300 KitchenAid or going off registry…

2. Buy your gift where it’s cheapest. Often times, you can score a better deal online than at a big box store. It’s totally acceptable to shop around for the best price on an item, just make sure to call the store where the couple is registered and ask them to mark it as purchased so no other guests buy the same item. And always include a gift receipt!

3. Search for store discounts. Sign up for emails or add yourself to mailing lists to receive special deals from the stores where the couple is registered (for example, Bed Bath & Beyond is known for their 20% off coupons!). You can also search online for promo codes and printable coupons on sites like dealspl.us and RetailMeNot.

4. Go off-registry! We think it’s perfectly fine to go off-registry and put together a more tailored gift for the couple. Gifting a date night experience, something for their honeymoon, or a themed-basket are just a few of the ways to get creative with it.

5. Do your airfare research. If you start thinking about airfare in the early planning stages, you’re most likely to find a good deal. We recommend using apps and sites like Kayak, Expedia, and Skyskanner to ensure your flight doesn’t break the bank.

6. Forgo the flight. If the destination isn’t too far away, consider other methods of travel. Trains are often a bit more budget-friendly than flights, and bus tickets are likely even more affordable (Megabus offers $1 deals to some cities). Have other friends going to the wedding? Borrow or rent a car and plan a road trip.

7. Rent your attire or borrow from a friend. Shop your friends’ closets to mix up your wardrobe without buying anything new! You can also check out rental sites like Rent the Runway, which allows you to borrow designer gowns for a fraction of the cost of buying one, or The Black Tux for tuxedo rentals.

8. Book an Airbnb instead of a hotel room. Even with a hotel block discount, your lodging expense will likely be one of the largest. Consider booking an entire apartment nearby with friends to cut costs. If possible, stay close enough to one of the designated hotels so you can hitch a ride on any provided transportation.

9. Share a room with friends. If there are no nearby Airbnbs, or if you want to stay close to the wedding party, share a hotel room with multiple friends. After all, a room with two double beds can sleep at least four people!

10. Pack light and carry on. If you’ve gotta fly, avoid checked baggage charging by packing everything in your carry on. And mail the couple’s gift to their home ahead of time so you don’t have to waste luggage space.

11. Use Uber or Lyft instead of renting a car. If the majority of your transportation needs will be getting to and from the airport, consider calling an Uber instead of renting a car. To save even more money, try UberPool which allows you to share a ride with others traveling to similar destinations.

Ready, set, save some money!

Want more wedding season advice?

8 Problems Only Wedding Guests Will Understand

How to Hack the Registry Without Going Broke

Wedding Gift Ideas Perfect for Coffee Lovers

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