Wedding season can mean a lot of long weekends away, hotel rooms, fancy dresses and dining out — often equating to large chunk of change. Below are some tips to save on travel, clothing and even lodging, without missing out on any of the fun.
Most couples send out save-the-date cards months in advance, which means you can start looking for cheap flights early. In general, if you book earlier, you can find cheaper tickets. This also gives you time to look into other options. Amtrak will occasionally have specials, and train tickets bought on sale can be a cost-efficient way to travel. This also gives you time to look into a road trip, perhaps with other guests from your town. Four people splitting gas (and driving) can make a trip much cheaper.
Like flights, the sooner you book a hotel room, the better your chances of getting a cheap rate. But hotel rooms aren’t your only option. Don’t feel pressured to stay at the hotel where the wedding festivities are taking place. Remember, this is simply a suggestion. Even with block rates, the rooms can still be priced higher than other area lodging.
If you’re traveling to a town you’re familiar with, don’t be shy about asking to stay with friends. But be considerate about giving the family members involved in the wedding the space they need for wedding preparation. It is best to stay with another guest.
If you’re heading to unfamiliar territory, look into a service like Airbnb, which allows people to put their homes up for rent, usually for much cheaper than a hotel room. There is an advantage to having a kitchen to cook meals in ; you can save money dining out. If you’re traveling with a group, this can make for a very cheap stay.
If you can’t find an Airbnb, look into a sharing a suite with friends or another couple. Splitting the tab four ways is cheaper than shouldering it on your own. Staying at a hotel, you can often find a free continental breakfast, saving you cash in your food budget.
Thanks to Facebook and Instagram, it’s more obvious when you wear the same dress to multiple occasions, even if the crowds are different. But that doesn’t mean you can’t wear someone else’s dress. Most people have a friend their size. It’s time to start offering to share your collection, so you can borrow from theirs.
Another great place to look is Goodwill. You can get a gently worn dress for about $10. If it’s not totally ready to wear, you can take it to a tailor for some fitting fixes. Even if you spend $30-$40 at the tailor, you’re still paying less than you would for an off-the-rack dress.
Another place to look is your own closet. If you have a dress you haven’t worn in a while, you can change it up with accessories and different shoes and it’ll be like new. Just make sure to check out a picture of the last time you wore it so that you don’t clone the original look. Also, remember, the focus of the event is on the couple getting married. It’s important you look nice, but don’t trick yourself into going overboard.
Set a realistic budget ahead of time and then stick to it. Setting a budget will help you curb those impulse comfort purchases, like extra lattes, treats and drinks. Eat like you would at home and you’re more likely to keep your budget — and waistline — in check. Also, be sure to pack healthy snacks. Even if you are flying, you can still stash a few healthy snacks in your carry-on. Having a granola bar or bag of pretzels to turn to when you’re hungry can satisfy you until the next meal, and save you the cost of eating out.
There’s just one more expense: the wedding gift. Check out our ideas on thoughtful wedding gifts that don’t cost a fortune.
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