How to Attend a Wedding on a Budget

Tips for attending a wedding when you're not made of moneyEveryone’s on a budget these days. Ask anyone planning a wedding; they’ll tell you there’s a big difference between planning a wedding on a budget and planning a budget wedding. Either way, they’re bound to spend money on invitations. And if you’re close to them, don’t be surprised when your social calendar is taken over by showers, bachelor(ette) parties, and the actual wedding itself.

But what are you supposed to do if you really are recording every penny in your checkbook register in the hopes of having a few nickels left at the end of each month? Weddings are expensive, and this is a topic that requires back-up. Here are some tips on how to handle being a guest when you’re not independently wealthy!

Getting There

Scene: You have opened an invitation to find the nearest airport or helicopter coordinates. You’re now breathing deeply into a brown paper bag wondering how you’re going to get there. If you’re flying, search for alternate airports nearby, and play around with the dates. Traveling a day before the suggested travel day, or coming back a few days after the wedding could make all the difference. If the venue is a car-drive away, find some other guests to carpool with. Splitting the cost of gas and beef jerky is a lot cheaper (and more fun) than doing it solo.

A Place to Stay

What about Couchsurfing? Sure, it’s not the first choice on most people’s list, but remember, you’re broke and you’re looking for ways to cut costs. is a website where you can look for like-minded people who have a spare couch, futon or bedroom and they will let you stay for free. The idea is to reciprocate, so if you don’t stumble back to their house after the wedding and make a giant fool of yourself, you might even forge a lasting friendship. If you’re dead-set on getting a hotel room, try to share a room with one or more friends to bring the cost down.

Gift Giving 101

While you probably don’t have $101 to spend on a gift, or maybe even $1.01, it would be poor form to show-up empty handed. There are ways to give thoughtfully without bankrupting yourself. Keep in mind your relationship to the couple. Are they your best friends, acquaintances, or people you haven’t seen in a long time? This will help you decide how much to spend. Also, you’ve paired up with people to get to the wedding and stay with, so why not triple-down and go in on a gift together? The couple will get something of value, and you will spend a fraction of the amount to get it for them. Genius!

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