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Saving Money As A Wedding Guest

Weddings today are really expensive and it's not only the couple and their families that are paying the price. Being invited to a wedding has gotten a lot more expensive these days. So saving money as a guest isn't something we'd like to do but something that many of us need to do.

Today, it's not uncommon to be invited to an engagement party, multiple showers, a bachelorette party, a rehearsal dinner, and the list goes on...

Many of us just don't have the budget for all the clothes and gifts that come along with being a part of the nuptials.

Here's some proof on how much it costs when you add everything up. So what are we to do?

Well, we asked our resident budget expert for some tips and money saving ideas for wedding guest and she came back with some interesting advice on the two most common budget breaking culprits.

What To Wear? How Much to Spend?

If there are multiple festivities (showers, bachelorettes, a rehearsal dinner, etc.) to attend prior to the wedding and you don't have anything suitable (or enough outfits) in your wardrobe, go for classic separates (they don't have to be expensive). Go for items you can mix and match with existing pieces in your wardrobe and dress up/down.

That way you won't just be buying pieces for an occasion that will sit in your closet, but instead pieces that become part of your everyday wardrobe, can be worn throughout the year, and be a part of your overall clothing budget.

Need some inspiration? Think Sharon Stone at the Oscars in a Gap turtleneck or white men's shirt. (Just Google it if you aren't sure what we mean)

Another option is to do just the opposite—especially for the wedding itself. If you already own some classic pieces, pair them up with an eye-dazzling sequin vintage find— you can save a lot of money by going vintage and you'll end up with a unique and show-stopping outfit.

Accessorize and Bedazzle!

Accessories are a great way to change up a new or existing piece. Depending on what you already own, put some (or even all) of your budget towards jewelry, belts, and shoes—they can completely change the look of an outfit and bring new life to older pieces, for little money.

Rent It! Yes, Rent A Wardrobe

If a friend or colleague travels in circles that are well, umm, let's say out of your league financially, and you want to be the belle of the ball, or engagement party, or wedding then rent a wardrobe. Guys have been doing it for years with Tuxedos and now many women are jumping on board.

For those in the US, websites like Rent The Runway offer serious designer wear that you can rent for any occasion and pop it back in the mail when you're done. They even have stylists to help you out, and it's ideal if you're a member of the wedding party but have to find (and pay) for your own dress. Rent the dress, accessories, handbags, you name it! It's a great way to look like a million bucks on a beer budget!

Gift Giving On A Budget

The most important tip on saving money on gifts is that you need to set an overall gift budget and stick to it. Then, take that budget and allocate an appropriate percentage for each gift necessary (shower, engagement, wedding etc.)

wedding gift tag

We often get in trouble when we don't think of how much they all cost when combined and view them as separate entities.

Depending on the number of gifts required, look at spending between 60% and 75% of the budget on the wedding gift itself.

Top Tips for Saving Money on Gifts

Think ahead. Look for sales and keep a gift closet (especially if you are at that age where it seems like a friend is getting married every other week) that way you will always have something on hand when that next shower or wedding invitation arrives in the mail.

Groupon, Living Social and other organizations can offer some really great deals with huge discounts. Sign up and set your preferences for deals in categories appropriate to the couple. If they live in another town, make sure to sign up for local deals in their city too as opposed to just yours. You'll receive daily suggestions in your inbox for great gift ideas at often hugely discounted prices.

If the couple has registered somewhere but the items they chose are out of your budget, pool your resources with some friends and jointly go in on a gift. This way, you know you're getting them something they want and not breaking your budget.

Another great tip for registries is to put your name down on something you know you can get cheaper elsewhere. That way you block other people from buying that gift and you save money. Think about it, it doesn't matter where the gift comes from and you'll know it's something they want.

Still stumped? We have some great gift ideas in all budget ranges.


Being invited to a wedding can be costly but doesn't need to break the bank. By planning ahead, looking at all the options, setting a budget that you stick to and being creative you can end up saving a lot of money.