7 Tips to Lower the Cost of Attending a Wedding

Last summer,  I’ve been to more weddings than I have in my life up to this point (combined).  These weddings have involved some amount of travel, wether it was a 2 hour drive or a long flight.  It goes without saying that the costs of attending a wedding (and being there for your friends) adds up quickly. There is the obvious costs like tux rental and gifts for the couple,  and there is also the costs not directly associated with the wedding, such as lodging and the like.   I’m obviously no expert, but I was looking to save money anywhere I could.  I’ve got a wedding of my own to pay for too.

  1. Split the hotel – If  it’s an out of town wedding, you may need a hotel.  Find one of your friends who is also attending the wedding and offer to share.  Most of the weddings that I went to this summer were out of town, and I was able to do this for all but one of them.  Even better than splitting the hotel is staying with friends in the area (or family)!
  2. Watch your wayside costs – These are costs that are not directly related to the wedding, but are related to getting there.  This includes everything from food at the airport to extra drinks after the wedding.  Keeping these low will help you stay focused on the reason that you’re there, which is to celebrate with your friends or family members.
  3. Travel Cheap - While you may not have all the time in the world to plan for wedding travel, usually you get plenty of advance notice.  Set up a reminder with your favorite airline for a cheap fare to your destination, so they can email you when a price drops.
  4. Don’t go overboard on the gift – Most couples set up a wedding registry, and you dont get a prize for buying the most expensive thing on there, nor does it display your name next to the “fulfilled” box on the registry website. Buy within your means, or better yet, make something.
  5. Wear what You’ve got – you dont have to have new clothing to go to a wedding – if you’ve got some formal or semi clothing on hand that you like, then simply wear that.  I know this is much easier for guy than it is for gals, but who is going to remember if you wore the same dress to a wedding last year?
  6. Take advantage of what’s offered – there’s no reason to save 20 bucks on a hotel by not booking at the wedding hotel and staying at some place a few miles away.  The wedding hotel may have a shuttle from the reception, or it may be the reception location.  You could save a few bucks on the hotel cost, but pay it back in cab fees.
  7. Find free activities in the area - Typically weddings are a weekend event if you’ve got to travel to them, so take advantage of the area.  When I went to a wedding in Iowa this summer, we spent a morning at the farmers market the day of the wedding.  It was a great time, and I didnt spend anything.
There are a few things that I was able to compile during my summer of extensive travel.  Hopefully you can use one or all of these tips at your next wedding.  Remember, the last thing that the wedding couple wants is for you to go into debt to attend their wedding – so keep your budget in mind when planning your travel.
Readers: Do you have any tips to share for cutting cost while traveling to weddings?
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Jeff is the founder of sustainable life blog and has been interested in sustainability for most of his life. After realizing in 2007 that his finances were a total wreck, he started reading financial blogs and quickly realized that what is best for your wallet is typically better for the earth, and is usually healthier. On sustainable life blog Jeff shares his journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. For updates, subscribe by email or like us on facebook.


  1. I’ll add 2 more: don’t go to weddings of people whose weddings you really don’t want to go, and don’t go to weddings when it’s not really in your budget or you can’t make room in your budget. You still have to send a gift, but you wouldn’t have to incur all the travel costs.

  2. My gf and I got an $80 hotel for $54 a night using priceline’s name your own price for a wedding next week. I highly recommend that for travel plans.

  3. We have skipped weddings when we hardly knew the people & they were very distant relatives. Since we lived pretty far away we thought it was just a bid for a gift. So we just sent them a congratulations card!

    I even wore the same mother-of-the-groom dress for 2 weddings because i couldn’t find another one I liked as well. Only a handful of people went to both weddings & I didn’t care.

  4. I suppose you could also just refuse the invitation :) That would save all the money!

  5. Was reading it and remembering “The hang over” movie. Friends can share a ride/rental car too to save cost. Basically all the things bloggers would do in Fincon, can be done in the wedding as well.

  6. Going to weddings can be really expensive. One summer my husband and I had five weddings to attend, all within two months. It was hectic, and could have been incredibly expensive. Fortunately, we knew some of these tips and were able to keep the costs down.

    The biggest issue we always have is watching our wayside costs, but that’s just life.

  7. My favourite one is wearing what you got. If that is not an option that you’re willing to explore, hit the low cost stores like Ross, Marshalls etc. (even Forever 21). I remember I found a dress for $27.80 at Forever 21 for a wedding… I received so many compliments!