Ah, wedding season. The time when your friends are pronouncing their love to the soft sounds of Michael Buble, while your wallet slowly weeps in the background. Here you are, hundreds of dollars deep on a present. Your suit set you back $2,000. And the hotel you’ve picked for a crash landing charged you an extra $100 for a roll-away. The dollars start to add up in your head and you quickly move to boycotting weddings forever.
With Millennials forking out $893 per wedding they attend (up 27% from the general population) on average, we don’t blame you. However, before giving up completely, we have a few tips that can help you cut costs and be better prepared to spend once the big day comes. Here are five ways you can save on attending your next wedding:
Location. Location. Location.
If the location fits, turn the wedding trip into one of your annual vacations. Doing so will help you look at the event and trip as part of your yearly travel budget, rather than an additional unforeseen expense.
Set up an automated savings account.
Start saving early. Seriously. There’s no sense in waiting until the last minute or charging everything to a credit card that you’ll spend months paying off. Once you decide to RSVP, set up an automatic savings system that pulls money from your spending account into a savings account. It’s a great way to subtly force yourself to put funds aside for the celebrations.
Throw down on thoughtful group gifts.
Traditional wedding etiquette says attendees should spend as much on a gift as the soon-to-be-married spent on each guest. Considering the average wedding costs $32,000 and wedding attendees range from 50-500, it might be a stretch to keep the old tradition alive.
Millennials are driven by authenticity. Use this to create a less expensive but thoughtful gift (Note: This does not mean ignore the registry—it’s there for a reason). Find some items on the registry that can be presented together. Get some friends to include other unique pieces, with a bar theme for example. Carefully curating a gift wins a lot of points and you can easily get away with cheaper items in the process.
Ditch the hotel.
Typical hotel rates can run your personal budget over the edge, even with the blocked room discount the bride and groom may provide. Instead of booking individual hotels, get a group of friends together and rent out a house via Airbnb or VRBO. If you’re alone, consider renting out a private room as opposed to the entire apartment or house. It’s much cheaper and you won’t be spending much time there anyway.
Men: invest in a lightweight, standard suit.
Services like Rent the Runway are perfect for women who want to boast a thousand dollar dress for a fraction of the cost. However, for men it’s advantageous to invest in a lightweight, versatile suit that you can continue to use. Stick to neutral colors like black, grey or navy. Don’t get something with too much flair as you can easily change up the look with a new tie or shirt. Look for deals year-round and don’t wait until wedding season to purchase one.
Learn to say “no”.
When all else fails, then you may be faced with sending your regrets. FOMO may kick in, as will guilt, but let’s face it – the stress is not worth displacing your financial stability. Weddings will continue and you’re better off taking some of that cash and putting it away for next year’s season of “I do.”
Have other ways you save for weddings and other big life events?