5 Ways to Save Money as a Wedding Guest

A close up- of a couple clinking champagne glasses at a wedding reception.

Wedding season is now in full swing, and you might have a backlog of invitations to weddings re- and re-rescheduled over the last couple of years. That alone can get pricey, but add this rising inflation on top of it and it’s enough to swear off going altogether. Anyone who’s attended a wedding knows how expensive they can be, and if you have 3 or 4 invitations stuck to your fridge they’re going to add up. Instead of staying home all summer and missing out on the memories, here are 5 tips to help keep the cost of being a wedding guest to a minimum.

  1. Be choosy about your RSVPs
    Even if you feel obligated, it is perfectly fine to not attend every wedding you’re invited to. If attending all of them is out of the question, decide for yourself first what your budget is and stick to it. Are you really that close to the bride? Is the groom a friend or a family friend? Make your decision and RSVP with your regrets to whichever weddings have to get cut from your calendar.
  2. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
    Try to resist the temptation to get a new outfit for each event. If you don’t already have something in your closet to wear, try checking resale sites online to get gently-used pieces at a steep discount. You can change up your look with accessories you already own or ask a tailor how much it might cost to alter something that no longer fits right. Taking in some slacks an inch at the waist will probably cost a lot less than renting or buying new pants.
  3. Go solo
    Even if you love your partner, you can go to weddings without them if there’s only room in the budget for you. The rule of thumb is that your gift to the couple should generally be equivalent to the cost of your meal at the reception. Attend on your own and instantly cut your gift cost in half.
  4. Location, location, location
    Make sure to check exactly where the venue is before sending back your RSVP. I’ve made this mistake before—I thought the venue was ~40 minutes away when it was closer to 2 hours away. But, stubborn as I am, I opted to make the drive back home instead of paying for a hotel room. With gas prices as high as they are, and inflation impacting the hospitality industry, neither one of these options are easy on your wallet. Send the couple a gift in your stead and you’ll save on potential travel, lodging, and wardrobe costs.
  5. Cash is king
    I’ve looked at registries plenty of times and thought, “Dang, all the gifts in my price range are gone!” You don’t need to reach for a more expensive item that hasn’t been bought yet – just stick with cash. And don’t worry, cash isn’t just acceptable here, it’s the norm! Set your wedding gift budget ahead of time and stick it in a greeting card.

Everyone knows that purse strings have to be tightened right now, including the couples getting married. If you’re close enough to them to be invited then they should hopefully be understanding when it comes to your financial wellbeing.


Whether it’s your grandchild, child, sibling, or friend, if there’s someone in your life getting married and planning a wedding, they’ve got money on their mind. Help ease it a bit with our free guide to Money & Marriage. Not only will it outline ways for them to save up for their wedding, it’ll also help them talk to their future spouse about their financial wants & needs, current debt, goals for the future, and more.

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About Author

Monica Parks
Monica Parks

Monica Parks is the communications specialist for Hanscom FCU. A millennial who just got her student loan debt under $40,000, she writes about what she knows. You can reach her at mparks@hfcu.org.

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