Let’s face it, by the time you hit your 30s, you’ve more than likely been to a wedding. As a guest, we can enjoy the day, being blissfully unaware of the fact that the bride and groom have spent a small fortune, and everyone concerned in the planning and delivery is absolutely exhausted. As a guest, you can have some proper fun!
But it’s not without a cost though!
Trawling through hitched.co.uk, I found a statistic that said we now spend over £200 per person for the wedding day itself (more if you need to stay over/find new outfits etc), and over £600 for the whole wedding, including the stag and hen-do!
With more and more people now choosing alternative venues and getting married abroad, our costs are only likely to increase.
And if, like me, most of your friends are now getting married, and you also include all the hen/stag-dos, then statistically this makes for an expensive year!
How We Can Save Money
So with all the excitement of friends getting married, we want to be involved right? I’ll assume you do for the sake of this exercise! If you have a lot of weddings to go to this year, would you like to find out some ways you can save money?
Of course you would!
So in addition to the 11 ways to save money according to hitched.co.uk (no affiliation by the way, they’re just a great resource!), I give you my take on how to save money at a wedding.
- Save – When you get that little card on the mat that says “save the date” on it, you should be planning ahead. Start saving money for what you’ll need to pay out for, especially if you’re also invited to the hen or stag, and definitely if it’s abroad. Most people give ample warning, so it should give you enough time of putting small amounts aside. Open an account like plum offers and it’ll do the heavy lifting of saving automatically for you!
- Hotels – Once you find out where the venue is, plan where you’ll be staying. Often staying at the hotel the bride offers is more expensive than staying in an air bnb. There might be nearby hotels that are far cheaper within walking or cab distance, and be sure to include breakfast – you’ll be wanting that fry-up in the morning! Try a site like booking.com – they have a handy map feature you can use to scout out the right accommodation near where you need it!
- Food – If you’re returning home after the wedding, have a stash of good snacks available for post-drinking munchies/morning hangover, or failing that, nick what you can off of the buffet table before you leave….
- Gifts – If there is a gift list, get in quick and bag the item in your price range. If there isn’t, £50-£100 is an acceptable contribution (but more or less is ok too). Most people will be grateful for anything they receive, unlike this loser —–> read about the ungrateful bride.
- Clothes – This year I have had more than one wedding, and I have recycled the same dresses to different events. I have separate groups of friends, so they won’t all see what I wore before (except my bf, but he doesn’t mind!). Also, I shop in the coast sale – you can bag £180 dresses for half-price or less, AND in theory, if it’s out of season, you’ll be the only one wearing it (granted it doesn’t always work, but if it happens to you, compare how much you both paid for the dress – it’s always nice knowing you paid less for it).
In summary, forewarned is forearmed…..Know the hows, whats, whys, and whens in advance, and there will be no nasty surprises that leave you out of pocket.
During the wedding
- Pre-drinking – if you’re an evening guest, then pre-drinking is the way forward! Crack open the prosecco while you’re getting ready, and you’ll be about the same stage of “happily sozzled” as the day-time guests by the time you arrive, so in theory, you shouldn’t need to buy too much alcohol when you’re there! Just don’t overdo it please!
- Spend Cash – This is where things can go wrong if you don’t have money set aside. Remember that some weddings are cash bars, so take a stash of cash and leave the debit/credit card at home. If you followed the pre-wedding guidance then you should have savings for it (don’t forget the cab money!!!).
- Don’t buy into rounds – you don’t have to buy rounds for people. The problem is peer pressure, so stand firm and say no. You might be doing others a favour by not buying rounds in too.
- Eye-spy the free drinks – take advantage of all the free drinking options! At one wedding I went to recently, I didn’t have to buy any drinks until the evening, because I was the only person drinking the free sangria on the table! Win!
- Mix with soft-drinks – the healthy option is to drink a soft drink between every alcoholic drink. Your liver will thank you, plus it’ll make things cheaper for you over the night.
If you drink alcohol, then this is probably your biggest expense during a wedding. Obviously you could drink tap water all night, and if you’re tee-total then crack on! But if you are partial to a tipple, just find a way to make it affordable for your budget.
So the wedding is over and all that is left are the happy memories! If you’re nursing a hand-over, then go back to bed and think about what you have to do tomorrow (I won’t judge!). For the rest of you, here are some things you could do:
- Remember that breakfast you pre-ordered ages ago? Well now you get to have it (just the thing you need after a fun night). Failing that, if you planned and filled your cupboards, you now have plenty of food to snack on to recover while sitting on the sofa watching Disney films.
- Have shoes/suits/dresses mended and dry-cleaned – the best thing to do to keep your clothes and shoes at their best condition for longer is to spend the money now on getting them professionally treated. Re-heeling shoes keeps them in good condition ready for next time, and having your clothes dry-cleaned and ready means you won’t have to panic buy something at the last minute for the next wedding you go to because you forgot to get it cleaned.
- Recycle your dress – as already mentioned, keep hold of that dress and use it for a different occasion. New accessories like jewellery or a scarf will be handy to freshen up the look next time. Alternatively, why not stick it on eBay once you’ve worn it and regain some of your money back?!
- Roll over money to the next one – if like me you have several weddings to go to, then why not save whatever you didn’t spend ready for the next one? Admittedly it does take will-power, but if you put it back into your bank account asap, then you’ll be less likely to touch it.
Hopefully that has given you a different take on how to save money as a wedding guest – it was a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun, but you get the point. Planning is key. Just accept this and you’ll be ok! Also, if you think being a guest is pricey, spare a thought for the people who are getting married. It’s far more believe me!
If you fancy joining me and my community in the discussions of all things money, then head on over to my Facebook group. We’d love to have you!
Lots of Love,
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