Hacks for Saving Money as a Wedding Guest

There you are, in your twenties and struggling to get a grasp on your (minimal) finances, and attempting to stay afloat with bills. Throw in that it’s also the average age for people to get married, and you find yourself trying to afford life—and everything that comes with weddings (even when you aren’t the one getting hitched).

If your summer plans involve multiple weddings, showers, bachelorette parties, and all the costs in between, there’s still hope for your bank account while owning the wedding circuit. Here are 6 hacks for affording wedding season:


Swap dresses

If it’s wedding #6 and you can’t budget in another dress, host a clothing swap with friends. Ask everyone to bring over their cocktail and black-tie dresses, then pick and choose which works best for each girl. Make sure every person has at least one “new” dress to wear, and trade back after wedding season commences. Jewelry, bags, and heels should also be shared!



Wait for registry sales

Couples have to do their registry far in advance for a few reasons, but as a guest, you have a year to give a gift. Keep your eye on the registry and wait until something they want goes on sale—it’ll likely happen before the wedding comes—and purchase then. Also, buy in store next time you’re at the mall! You won’t have to pay shipping costs.


Use points towards travel

Remember that credit card you have that gives points per dollar? Use it often, but wisely, leading up to wedding season. Then, save all those points for out-of-town wedding travel. Knowing you have some “free” travel in your budget will help cost wise, and you’ll know exactly how many flights you can afford.



Gift your services

Do you have beautiful handwriting? Offer to make the signs and seating cards. Good with music? Make the bride a playlist for her bachelorette party and even the wedding after-party. Organized? Help with a timeline for the event and the seating chart. People will appreciate the thoughtfulness of presents from the heart, and they usually end up being cheaper than multiple things off the registry.


Makeup smart

If you’re in the wedding, save cash and do your own hair and makeup! Simple as that. If the bride is worried that you won’t look streamlined to the wedding party, watch what the makeup artist does and copy the style/colors. Also, practice a few hairstyles leading up to the big day so the bride is confident in your skills.

If you’re a guest, sign up for a free makeup trial (often times Utla, Sephora, and other retailers offer this if you sign up in advance). Check out local beauty schools, too.



Bow out

Weddings are meaningful, but also expensive. If you simply don’t have the funds to travel for a wedding, or to attend every event leading up, be honest with the couple. Treat them to a dinner after the wedding if you can’t make the big day (more affordable than a dress, travel, hotel, presents, etc.) so that you can celebrate in your own way. Remember that the couple is also paying for you—if you got an invite from a family friend but aren’t necessarily close, it might be a relief on both ends.


What hacks have you put in place to avoid wedding guest debt?