When it comes to weddings, things can get pretty pricey for everyone involved. There's not just the costs incurred by the bride and groom (or bride and bride, groom and groom) to think of but also for the guests.
I've been to a relatively small number of weddings and for almost every single one, I've had to pull out quite a lot of money in order to be able to attend. However in recent years, I've really learnt how to budget accordingly for such events and I now know how to spend my money wisely when it comes to attending someone else's wedding.
1. It is only one day
First of all, its important to remember that it is only one day. One very special day. Special because two of your friends or family members are getting married and that is the main thing, that you are there to see them tie the knot. A wedding is about the love that two people share, not about how much you spend in order to be able to attend. It is not worth getting into debt over.
Online credit expert, Experian, have conducted a lot of research into the cost per wedding guest, not just for the bride and groom but for the guests themselves. They found that attending a wedding can often encourage guests to get into debt in order to be able to afford a new outfit, accommodation, drinks and many other things as part of the day. However the truth is that you don't actually need all of those things in order to enjoy yourself. In years to come, you and the bride and groom wont remember what you wore but you'll have the memories of watching them get married and they'll remember how much they appreciated you being there. If you follow some of the advice from Experian then you should be able to set realistic short term goals so that you can save up for the wedding you're going to in advance so that by the time comes, you can enjoy it without worrying about how much money you're spending.
2. Transport, Accommodation and Alcohol
This is one of the areas that seems to cost so much money and in some cases, it is unavoidable.
Usually those getting married will send out invitations with plenty of notice and that should give you time to plan ahead with regards to how you're going to get to the wedding and where you're going to stay. If the wedding is close by, you could easily save money by getting a taxi or a lift from a family member or friend to the wedding. If it is a little further away, perhaps within an hours drive, guests could club together and hire a mini bus to take them to the wedding and pick them up which will often save them a lot of money rather than travelling separately and/or staying over.
If the wedding is further away then price up the cost of petrol against the cost of public transport and taxis as there are often some great train deals available if you book in advance. Your other option, providing the wedding isn't too far away, is to drive there and back. I know that many people will want to have an alcoholic drink but do remember that you don't need alcohol to have a good time. If its a case of attending without having alcohol or not going because you can't have a drink, I know which I would pick and which the two people getting married would rather as well. The important thing is that you're there.
As far as accommodation goes, if the wedding is relatively close to home and you're on a budget then stay at home. There isn't any need to stay over night should you not have the extra funds to do so. A lot of people get married in big fancy country hotels but these often cost a lot of money to stay over in. If you comfortable have the cash, great but if not, consider staying at home or looking for cheaper accommodation in the area such as a chain hotel like Travelodge or Premier Inn or a B&B. You'll find plenty of low cost options here and here.
3. Shop Your Wardrobe
Aside from how you'll get to the wedding and where you'll stay afterwards, the other area that people tend to spend a lot of money on is their outfit. While everyone wants to look presentable, you don't need a new outfit in order to look your best at a wedding.
Shop your wardrobe if you haven't got the extra cash to be able to buy a whole new outfit. Although its not necessary, if you want to, purchase one small thing new whether its a pair of shoes or a pair or earrings but honestly, a new outfit isn't a prerequisite to attending a wedding.
I'm going to a big charity ball in a coupe of weeks time and I really don't want to pull out the money on a new gown that i'll hardly wear so I've decided to wear the dress in the photo above. It is a beautiful, statement dress that I've only worn a couple of times so I think that it would make the perfect outfit for a ball or a wedding.
I'm sure we've all got plenty of pieces in our wardrobes that we could wear to a forthcoming ball without having to purchase something new. If spending money on clothes is going to hinder your time at the wedding then head to your wardrobe first of all!
I'd love to hear your top tips for attending a wedding in the comments!
*written in collaboration with Experian, all opinions, as always, are honest and my own.