Wedding Guest: How to Budget for the Big Day

Posted on 05/23/2013

We all dread it when bills show up in the mailbox, and we may start hoping that wedding invitations don't arrive either. Wedding spending is on the rise for guests. According to, spending is up $200 for wedding guests this year compared to last, reaching $539. While weddings are happy occasions they can cause an upset in your finances if you don't budget properly for the big day.

Buy Your Gift Early
Don't procrastinate when it comes to buying a wedding gift. The longer you wait the fewer choices and price point options you'll have. By being one of the first guests to buy a wedding gift you'll be able to find one that fits your budget.

Consider the Relationship
According to an American Express survey on wedding guest spending, the amount you fork over for a gift should depend on how close you are to the bride and groom. Close family members spend the most, an average of $179 on a gift while co-workers spend the least, an average of $66. So if you're not in the couple's inner circle, don't feel like you have to spend as much on the gift.

Take the Early Flight
If you can fly into the wedding destination on Saturday morning as opposed to Friday night you'll not only save one night of hotel expenses, you'll also pay less for a plane ticket. Most airlines offer reduced fares for Saturday flights.

Skip Standard Car Rentals
You'll save a lot of money off your wedding travel budget if you skip the car rental and instead use a car sharing service like or a ride sharing service such as They're affordable ways to get from point A to point B when you're away from home.

Shop Your Friend's Closets
Other than airfare, a big part of wedding spending is on the outfit. Try shopping in a similarly sized friend's closet instead. The new-to-you outfit will feel special, but won't cost a thing.

Factor the Cost Before You RSVP
Of course you want to be there for your loved one's big day, but before you RSVP consider the costs. If it doesn't fit into your budget politely decline the invitation. You'll still want to send a gift, but that will cost a fraction of what you would spend attending the event.

By Alison Storm

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