Being invited to a destination wedding tends to elicit a two-part reaction. First, there is the excitement of visiting a new place and attending a glamorous event there. Then the dread sets in: how much will it cost me?
Destination weddings can be a blast, but they usually require extra time and money from guests. Still, there are ways to make the experience cheaper.
Below, personal finance experts share their tips for minimizing the costs associated with attending a destination wedding.
Join a group
“Find travel companions!” suggests Pamela Capalad, founder and CEO of Brunch & Budget. “If you have friends or other people you know who are also attending the wedding, often renting a larger Airbnb with more bedrooms can significantly reduce accommodation costs, especially if you’re willing to take the pullout couch. ”
In addition to sharing a room or house with other wedding guests, you may also consider doing other expenses together, such as sharing a rental car.
Combine the event with other holidays
“If the destination is somewhere you’d like to vacation, it might make financial sense to extend the wedding trip for additional days to save money on round-trip flights, as well as travel days and the PTO,” says Capalad.
Extending the tour into a full vacation also allows you to fly roundtrip on weekdays when flight costs are lower than peak weekend prices.
“Generally, hotels and vacation rentals offer better rates for extended stays,” says Gina McKague, owner and founder of McKague Financial. “So if you like the location, stay a few days after the wedding and enjoy cheaper accommodation rates.”
“Most destination weddings are held in great vacation areas,” says McKague. “If you know you are going to attend a destination wedding, be sure to book your travel and accommodations early. This will allow you to take advantage of the block of discounted rooms and cheaper airfares.
Capalad suggests looking for flights and accommodation as early as six months before the wedding, if possible.
“That way you’ll have the most accommodation options at places like Airbnb (with generous cancellation policies) and you can watch the prices of airfare for a few weeks,” she says.
Don’t splurge on your outfit
“Since you’re the guest and not part of the wedding party, there’s no need to spend money buying a new outfit to attend the wedding,” says Kara Stevens, founder of The Frugal Feminista and author of “Heal Your Relationship with Money”. .” “Look in your wardrobe before going online or to the store for an outfit suitable for the wedding.”
If you want to wear something you’ve never worn before without paying a lot, consider buying used through websites like Ebay or Vinted or borrowing an outfit from a friend or a clothing rental service. .
“Check out rental sites like Rent the Runway and The Black Tux, which allow you to borrow designer dresses and beautiful suits for a fraction of the purchase cost,” says McKague.
make a budget
“Budgeting for a destination wedding should be done like any other budgeting — write down your needs versus your wants,” says McKague.
She recommended determining what you will need to attend the wedding in terms of accommodations, travel, food, clothing and gifts.
“Start budgeting as early as possible,” adds McKague. “That way you can know how much to set aside each paycheck so you can comfortably attend the wedding. Weddings are meant to be a time of love and laughter. You wouldn’t want to attend a destination wedding worrying about how much you owe when you get home.
Book alternative accommodation
Remember that you don’t have to stay at the same hotel as the wedding party. Even with room block discounts, accommodation can get expensive, so consider other options.
“You can research nearby hotels that are cheaper (after thinking about how you’ll get to the wedding) and see if it makes sense to book there,” Stevens says.
Compare travel options
Just as you compare accommodations, be sure to do your research when it comes to transit to and from the destination. Take a look at the monetary and time costs of each option.
If the destination wedding is in the UK or Europe and you can drive there, you may want to weigh the pros and cons of driving or taking the train versus flying, especially with the cost current gasoline prices.
Many companies are still offering hybrid and remote working arrangements, which means you may not have to request a lot of time off to travel to a destination wedding.
“With employees opting to work from home, attending a destination wedding in another country may not require you to take as many personal days as working from the office arrangements, which will also save you money. long-term,” says Stevens.
Don’t waste your gift
Couples know they are asking a lot of their guests when they choose to get married in a faraway place. In this sense, your presence can literally be a gift.
Stevens thinks you should consider the extra time, airfare and hotel costs needed to get to the celebration as part of your contribution. In many cases, the couple may even explicitly say that they are not expecting gifts.
However, if you still want to give them something, you might consider spending a little less on the wedding gift than you normally would.
Revenge trips might be all the rage at this point in the pandemic, but the fact that they’re coinciding with an economic downturn means there might not be room in your budget for a wedding at expensive destination.
“I know it can be hard to say no to a wedding, but if it puts you in a tough financial spot, you can say no and send a gift,” Capalad says. “You can find other ways to celebrate with the couple when they’re back in town.”