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How to Budget During Wedding Season



Is your refrigerator filled with save-the-dates as well as bridal shower and wedding invitations? Do you feel like you’re going to a wedding almost every weekend? You’re not alone! We are definitely in the midst of wedding season, folks.

If you’re planning a wedding, you know how expensive everything is. If you’re just attending a handful of weddings this year, you’re ALSO finding out how expensive it is to even be a guest!

You don’t have to go broke to attend your family and friend’s weddings though. There are some simple ways to budget how much money you spend on attending these major life events.

Don’t Travel to Destination Weddings If You Can’t Afford It

Destination weddings are extremely cool, whether they’re located on a tropical beach, in a big city millions of miles away or in the mountains somewhere. That being said, the farther the destination is from where you live, the greater the cost to travel there and attend the wedding will be.

While you might want to go to Paris for a close friend’s wedding or to the beach halfway across the country for your cousin’s wedding, you have to sit back and ask yourself, “Can I really afford to make this trip?”



The cost of attending skyrockets quickly once you start adding up the prices of staying in a hotel for multiple nights, airfare, rental cars and more. If you have sticker-shock at your estimated total of what the trip will cost you, you shouldn’t do it.

If you don’t have sticker-shock, but you’re hemming and hawing about being able to save enough to book your trip, you still should make the executive decision to not attend.

It’s never fun to tell someone near and dear to your heart that you can’t attend their wedding, but you have to do what’s best for you and your finances. You didn’t choose to get married far away!

The bride and groom should understand when you tell them your answer. When you have a destination wedding, you need to have the mindset of not all your invitees will be able to make it. So, don’t feel bad if you literally just can’t afford to attend!

Gift Within Your Budget

The rule of thumb for wedding gift giving is to give the bride and groom a gift that will cover the cost of your plate(s), depending on the number of people from your household that are attending.

The average cost of a plated wedding dinner is around the $100 mark for an “affordable” wedding venue. That cost-per-plate also goes up if the wedding is at an extremely fancy and expensive venue. So, that’s something to keep in mind if you’re following the traditional rule.

This “rule” is great and technically makes sense, but is it feasible for you to follow?

It might not be.

And that’s ok if you can’t financially follow the rule. You should only give a wedding gift that you can afford. There’s no need to put yourself into debt or behind on your other bills because you felt the need to buy expensive gifts or gifts that cover your cost-per-plate(s).

Imagine if you had four weddings to go to this year and you bought gifts out of your budget for all of them—how far behind would you become on making your credit card, car or house payments? You don’t want to cross that financial trouble bridge, and not to mention it’s an avoidable bridge at that!

Even though it’s not the traditional rule, only give the bride and groom a gift you can afford. Regardless of what it is from their registry, they’ll be grateful for the gift no matter what.

Use Ridesharing Instead of Booking a Hotel

It’s usually a smart move to book a hotel the night you attend a wedding, even if it’s somewhat local to where you live. The reason? There’s literally no reason for you to be drinking and driving.

Some wedding venues have hotels attached to them, so it’s easy to just walk to your room when the wedding is over. If the venue doesn’t have a hotel, there’s usually one nearby with a shuttle that will pick up wedding guests and bring them back to the hotel safely.

But hotel rooms can be EXPENSIVE.

Most hotels will give wedding guests a discount for the night of the wedding, but that discount varies depending on what the normal rate for the room is. Ideally, a hotel room would be around that $100-$120 mark, but depending on the hotel, it could be exponentially more.

As previously mentioned, if you’re attending multiple weddings this year, you could easily drop $500+ just on hotel rooms!

There is an alternative though.

Have you thought about using Uber, Lyft or another ridesharing method? What about even calling a cab?

Using the ridesharing alternative will still cost you money, but chances are, it will cut your travel bill at least in half.

On Uber’s website, there’s a price estimator where you can plug in your starting point (the wedding venue) and plug in your destination (home) and you can quickly see how much the ride will cost you.

This tool can save you a lot of money; if the Uber ride is significantly cheaper than paying for a hotel room, you better download that Uber app on your smartphone.

If the ride and the room are nearly the same price, then you decide what’s easier and best for you. But it’s nice to know that there’s an alternative to paying more money than you want for a hotel room.

For an even cheaper option, you could always ask a friend or family member that won’t be at the wedding to come and pick you up from the venue. That might cost you $20 or nothing at all!

The only minor issue that comes from ridesharing or having someone pick you up is going back to get your car the next day. But that’s just something you need to deal with because it’s better than driving under the influence the night before!

Weddings in general aren’t cheap, whether you’re planning one or attending one. But these methods of budgeting and saving money can help you comfortably afford and attend weddings as a guest.

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