Who doesn’t love a wedding? The chance to dress up to the nines, the smiling faces, the catch-ups with friends and family we don’t get to see nearly enough… weddings really are truly special occasions. But while the appearance of an embossed invitation through the front door never fails to raise a smile, those of us who are more budget-minded will also recognise that feeling of fear that accompanies it. How far away will the wedding be held? Where will we go for the hen party? Can I get away with recycling that dress again? In short, we all know that weddings can be incredibly expensive affairs. However, there’s no need to let worry over the cost of attending a wedding get in the way of you having fun – just follow our quick guide to being a savings-savvy wedding guest this summer.
Dress to impress – on a budget
While men can usually get away with wearing the same smart suit time and again at every wedding and funeral they attend, women can find the pressure of looking good at a wedding overwhelming at times – especially if they’re on a tight budget. But even if you suspect the other guests will be dressed head to toe in the latest designer fashions, you can still look great without breaking the bank. A trawl around your local charity and vintage shops might well turn up some surprising finds – because formal wear is less popular than everyday clothing, you can often find some really beautiful clothes at bargain prices. Jumble sales and boot sales are also great places to pick up shoes, bags and jewellery on the cheap, and you might even find some designer bargains too! Don’t want to go the second hand route? Check out stores like TK Maxx for fantastic discounts on designer labels to help you look fabulous without spending a fortune.
A thoughtful gift
These days, many brides and grooms insist that they don’t want anything in the form of gifts at their weddings, but most of us still feel guilty turning up empty-handed. To solve the problem of ending up with dozens of unwanted toasters, it’s common for couples to pre-select a registry of gifts with a popular store. These can be great for those lacking in inspiration, but with many lists quoting prices of £50 and up, they’re not great for those on a budget. Instead, why not give a more personal gift? It could be that you have a particular skill, such as drawing or photography, which you could use to create a memento of their special day. Or, if you’re not artistic or crafty, why not give something simple and long lasting, such as a seedling or a hand-written poem?
Cut the cost of accommodation
If you have friends and family scattered about the country – or maybe even the world – chances are that attending a wedding means staying at least one night in a hotel. Of course, for weddings held at fancy four star venues, this can mean a hefty bill for accommodation – but remember you don’t need to stay where the wedding is being held. If you don’t mind getting back to basics, check to see if there is a campsite near the venue – most modern sites will have toilet and shower facilities where you can get ready for the big day. Or, if you don’t fancy a tent for the night, take a look at a hotel booking site like lastminute.com to find the best deals on local hotels. If the wedding isn’t too far away you can save money by travelling up early in the morning and just staying one night in a hotel. You’ll likely be too early for check-in, but most places will let you leave your bags while you head out for the day.
Travelling on a budget
Depending on how far you have to travel, both driving and public transport can add a lot to the final cost of attending a wedding. To cut costs, why not reach out to other guests and see if you can share a vehicle and split the cost of petrol between a group? If no one is travelling in your direction, have a look at one of the popular car sharing websites online. These sites will connect you with strangers making or looking to make the same journey as you, allowing you to either hop in someone else’s vehicle or pick up some extra guests along the way. Not only will such measures help keep the costs of your journey down, they’re better for the environment too.