Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by Melissa S.
We all know weddings can be a costly affair for the bride and groom, but they can also set you back quite a bit as a guest too.
What’s more, it can often be the case that as soon as one friend sets a date, another follows suit! I remember in my late twenties and early 30s going through a cycle of 2 or 3 weddings every year for a while.
Then after a few years, just as you think everyone you know who is likely to get married has been and gone, the cycle seems to begin again with younger relations or friends. I have had 4 full day weddings of friends to attend in the past 18 months!
This can be a big commitment as a wedding guest, especially on a budget. With my own recent experience in mind, here’s my best ways to save money as a wedding guest.
Share transport & hotel costs – but think of the logistics
If you are going with a group of friends then it makes sense to try and split some of the travel and transport costs such as cab fares, sharing rooms or giving lifts.
An Air B&B could work out to be a really economical choice for a large group to share and might not be an option you have considered for wedding accommodation.
It also helps to plan out the logistics too – there’s no point in saving £20 on a cheaper hotel room if it’s completely out of the way of the venue and will end up costing as much in a taxi back.
Once you factor in issues such as checking in times it could mean trekking out with your suitcases in the middle of the day when you should be mingling and enjoying a canape or two!
Do you need a whole new outfit?
In my younger years, a wedding meant a brand new outfit no matter what, and often new shoes and accessories too. I would head to the likes of Monsoon, Coast or Karen Millen and spend around £150 each time.
Admittedly, I would subsequently wear the dresses a lot for other events so I did buy with that in mind.
Since beginning my money saving journey I’m pleased to say I stopped that habit! As I already had several formal dresses from my spending days this was easier to do as I literally didn’t need to spend anything.
As the dresses are good quality, classic prom dress style I have reworn each one countless times. With a sparkly silver clutch bag, neutral shoes and a cream fascinator I have also reworn the same accessories for over 10 years!
However, if you know you need something new it doesn’t have to break the bank. Wedding dates are usually set months ahead, giving you plenty of notice to look out for a good deal. Catching end of season sales with next year in mind could be a great time to grab a bargain outfit.
Of course, you could also scour your local charity and second hand shops. I have noticed a wealth of high end brands, including some brand new tagged tops from Coast that must have come from a shop clearance.
At a recent wedding I wore a floral trouser suit that was £10 from a preloved boutique. I didn’t buy it with the wedding in mind as it was perfect for more casual nights out, but with a fascinator and heels it really glammed up and I got lots of compliments on the day.
Be your own beautician
Although I have never been one for spending money on manicures, there was a time when a wedding would mean false eyelashes, spray tan and a blow dry or cut & style.
This probably set me back around £100-150, but as I had these treatments regularly anyway I would just time them accordingly rather than feel it was “just” for a wedding.
These days, I do my own fake tan and nails. For fake tan, I really recommend this Skinny Tan serum as it is so easy to use and streak free. I don’t bother with false lashes, and dye my own hair, curling it using Remington heated rollers like these.
Obviously everyone’s style is their own and you may not do any of these things , but it’s about doing what makes you feel good for a fraction of the price. I still feel like I’ve made the effort to look my best which is one of the things I really enjoy about getting dressed up for a special occasion.
Of course, everyone’s eyes are on the bride for the big day, so looking and feeling good only really matters to myself!
Split the cost of a gift
Increasingly I find that couples are asking for money or vouchers as a wedding gift. It makes sense if you have been living together for several years that you don’t need new crockery or a toaster, and personally I would rather my gift was useful to the couple rather than a waste of money.
As there was a group of us invited to the most recent wedding, I suggested putting £100 in from all of us (3 couples) rather than separately giving £20 or £30. It didn’t work out much more per couple and looked a lot more impressive, especially as we got £50 notes for the card.
Budget for the wedding well in advance
Most weddings are planned months or even longer in advance so as soon as you receive the save the date card, get saving.
Even just £10 or £20 a month for a year could be enough to pay for your share of the hotel, gift and transport costs. Set up a separate savings pot for the wedding. Smart banks such as Starling make this very easy. My favourite way to save money without even noticing is by using Plum.
Of course, if an extravagant stag or hen party is planned then you will need to budget ahead for this also, but that’s a whole other post!
How do you save money as a wedding guest?
What are your ways to save money as a wedding guest? If you have any other tips and tricks, leave a comment and share with the community.
About the Author
Melissa is a working parent who left behind a senior management salary for a better work/life balance. Following her own money saving and money making strategies she was able to clear debt and live a life she loves. Blogging, selling digital products on Etsy and selling preloved items on eBay are her favourite side hustles. Read her story here.