We all know how expensive weddings are when it's your own. It's also pricey when you're just a guest.

Sometimes, it feels like everyone gets wedding fever all at once.

Young, long-term couples decide to tie the knot one after another, especially in those right-after-college years.

Guests may feel happy to attend — but are put off by the costs, once the total of airfare, hotel accommodations and gifts off the wedding registry are tallied.  And don’t forget the costs of a new outfit: Everyone wants to look good on the big day.

According to The Knot, a wedding resource and marketplace, wedding guests attend an average of two weddings per year and spend nearly $1,000 per wedding.

As for the gifts…

  • 37 percent of wedding guests and attendants buy a gift off the wedding registry
  • 29 percent give cash or write checks
  • 10 percent give a gift card
  • 7 percent give money for the couple’s honeymoon

But there are ways to trim costs and still let the loving couple know just how much you wish them well.

1. Get creative with the gifts

Do you have a skill or talent that you could offer the couple prior to, or after, the big day? Could you design the wedding invitations, take photos, sing, arrange the flowers? Cook a meal for the rehearsal dinner or the day after the wedding? bake the wedding cake? Help with hair and makeup for the bride?

There will be less on the bride and groom’s to-do (and to-pay) list. And why not have someone who loves you help rather than pay a well-meaning stranger?

2. Don’t be afraid to be sentimental

Is there something you could give that a bride or groom may love that isn’t on any wedding registry?  Sometimes a thoughtful, this-is-how-our-family-does-things gift is the best way to welcome the bride or groom into the family.

Is there jewelry or another item that has been in the family for ages that you could share with a young bride or groom? Is there food you could make or bring, an item you could make or pass down, something special, a family tradition? You don’t have to spend a lot to show your love for the bride and groom.

3. Double up with family and friends for accommodations

To save money on accommodations, double up in hotel rooms with other guests or stay with family and friends who live nearby.  A couch or rollaway bed works fine if you’ve already paid airfare to get there.

4. Split gift costs with another friend

If you can’t afford a wedding registry item on your own, why not share the costs with a friend? You’ll be able to give more when you pool your resources and the bride and groom will get the gift they want for their new home.

5. Be smart about airfare

Book airfare travel in advance to nab lower fares, look for smaller regional and discount airlines that fly into the airport near the wedding’s location.  Use air miles, if you’ve got them. Coordinate travel times with other wedding guests and share rental cars or have nearby friends and family give you a lift from the airport.

 6. Send your regrets along with a gift

If you aren’t able to attend, send a lovely gift anyway.  I was studying in London and wasn’t able to attend one of my best friend’s weddings in Pensacola, Florida.  But I was able to send them a fun gift that made the bride laugh and call the day before the big day. So it is possible to be there in spirit even if it is impossible, and maybe for a great reason, not to be there on the wedding day.

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Meet the Author

Lucy Lazarony

Lucy Lazarony


Lazarony is a freelance writer based in South Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Family

flying, save money, wedding

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Article last modified on February 14, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: 6 Ways to Save Money When Attending A Wedding - AMP.