Surviving Wedding Season Without Breaking the Bank

With the arrival of summer, Wedding Season is now upon us.  According to this survey by, the average wedding in 2023 had a price tag of $35,000. And it’s not just the lucky couple doling out serious money. Wedding guests can also face steep costs between gifts and traveling to and from the big event. If you’re planning on attending a wedding or two (or three or four?) this summer, here are several ideas to help keep your wedding costs under control.

  1. Give cash instead of buying a gift off a registry. Most people want to give a wedding gift that, on some level, reflects the relationship they have with the couple. This desire to find that perfect gift can sometimes lead to overspending. Instead of buying a gift off a registry, consider giving cash. Sticking with cash can help you stick to your wedding season budget and avoid your gift being stuck in a box or closet that never gets used.
  2. Think outside the box for lodging. If traveling to a wedding, start looking at lodging options as soon as you know the date. First, check to see if you have family or friends in the area you would be comfortable staying with. Next, consider reconnecting with friends that are attending and share a room. Perhaps the wedding couple saved a block of rooms in a local hotel at a special rate. If so, compare the cost of that hotel with nearby hotels and short-term rentals. Remember to figure out your accommodations early so you don’t get stuck with just one expensive option.
  3. Share your travel expenses. It’s possible you’ll have some friends or family attending the same wedding as you. If the wedding involves traveling, split some of the costs with them. This can include carpooling, sharing a rental car, teaming up on taxi or ride-share expenses, as well as sharing hotel accommodations.
  4. Rent your attire. Going to a bunch of weddings in a short amount time can create a wardrobe challenge. Purchasing a new outfit for each one will get really expensive really quickly. If you take the one-and-done approach with your formal wear, renting a dress or suit will only set you back a fraction of the cost of buying new clothes for every wedding.
  5. Respectfully decline. Whether it’s the cost of travel, poor timing, or something else, it’s OK to decline the invitation. The wedding couple expects some people won’t be able to make it to their big event. But it’s important to let them know you won’t be there. When sending back the RSVP, include a kind greeting and the reason for your absence without going into great detail. When the wedding day comes, remember to send a card or a gift.

Wedding season is a time of fun and celebration. Knowing that you also made the best financial decisions possible makes the occasion even better.