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Wedding season is officially upon us, and if you’re in your twenties, you’re probably going to get invited to quite a few over the next few years. Between traveling all over the country for friends who moved away, buying new outfits and accessories, and/or performing your bridesmaid duties, weddings can be expensive AF just to attend. If you don’t want to break the bank, here’s what you need to do.
Set a Budget and Stick to It
When setting your wedding-attending budget, consider travel (flights and/or gas, food, hotel, etc.), dress, shoes, accessories, wedding gifts…you get the idea.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
If you have seven weddings this year, buy 2-3 dresses and switch up the accessories. Or just create a Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress and borrow something from similarly sized friends.
Get Creative With the Gift
Buy a few of the cheapest things on the registry and toss them in a basket. The bride and groom chose these things themselves, so they very much want them — and way too many people will buy the happy couple things that aren’t on the registry. So even though you’re getting several small things, they’ll still be 100% grateful to receive the towels they picked out as opposed to the yellow, monogrammed throw pillow that won’t match any of their effing decor.
You can also go in on a bigger gift with friends. An Xbox on a gift registry might seem ridiculous at first, but if you have a few other friends (or co-workers) attending the same wedding, splitting the cost makes it super affordable.
If you know someone in the area you’re traveling to for the wedding, stay with them instead of booking a hotel room. If not, some brides and grooms get a discounted deal for friends and family — so if that’s an option, take it. You can save even more money by cramming as many people as you can into a hotel room. If the wedding is only a few hours away, drive. Gas is a lot less expensive than a flight, especially if you carpool with friends and split it. Additional road trip tip: Pack sandwiches, drinks, and snacks in a cooler so you don’t have to spend money and time on stopping at restaurants.
If it takes more than eight hours to get there, then fly. (Because time is money, money is power, power is pizza, and pizza is knowledge.) But try to get a flight on a Thursday. Weekday flights are cheaper, but keep in mind that the earlier you fly out the more nights you have to pay for a hotel room.
If you really just can’t afford to make it to all seven weddings this year, it’s okay. Your friend-of-a-friend probably won’t notice or care, especially if they’re requiring you to travel for it. If you feel really bad, send a gift with a nice note. (And remember to RSVP, otherwise the bride really will hate you.)