With 2022 set to be the most popular year for weddings since 1984 and inflation reaching a 40-year high, more wedding guests than ever need tips and tricks to help reduce the overwhelming cost of attending multiple nuptials. We’ve got a complete guide on getting through wedding season on a budget.

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With summer well and truly upon us, there’s no doubt that wedding season is in full swing. The invites are piling up and our calendar is pretty much full, and although we are SO ready for love, cake and dodgy dad-dancing, we’re left wondering – how much is this all going to cost?

With 47% of Brits (research from Voucher Codes) saying that the cost-of-living crisis means attending a wedding is adding to their financial woes and research suggesting that a quarter of guests can’t afford to go to the weddings they’ve been invited to, it’s no wonder that more and more invitees are looking for money-saving hacks to survive the busiest wedding season for 40 years.

Wedding Guest on a Budget – How to Save This Wedding Season

From dresses to accommodation, ethical engagement ring company Nightingale has compiled its favourite money saving hacks that may help any wedding guest to stay on budget and still make the most of the day(s)!

Change up the Gifts

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Gifts can differ greatly in price. Often, the bride and groom will set up a registry with a list of gifts for guests to choose from, which, let’s be honest, secretly leaves us hoping for a selection of price options… Why does everyone suddenly need a pizza oven!? With this in mind, Nightingale has offered some budget reduction options you can try:

  • Go for a group gift: Opting for a group gift means you can purchase one of the flashier gifts without blowing the budget.
  • Offer your services: Can you do make-up or hair? Are you a dab hand at making cakes? Can you provide lifts or babysitting services? Pitch your talents and expertise to the happy couple and see if there’s anything you can offer that doesn’t take a huge bite out of your budget.
  • Go homemade: Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Painting a beautiful picture or compiling a sweet photo album can be a lot more meaningful than a set of pasta bowls.

Consider Your Outfits

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The average cost of a wedding outfit is £136.59, and maybe a little more if you shop at the more popular dress shops – we’re looking at you Reformation! Unfortunately, outfit repeating is still seen as a wedding season no-no, but luckily we’ve got some alternative options for a wedding ensemble that won’t break the bank.

  • Rent instead: Websites like Hurr, Rotation and My Wardrobe HQ offer incredible renting options, where you can rent a Ganni dress from as little at £37 per day.
  • Swap with your friends: Did your best mate’s wedding outfit catch your eye last month? Ask them if they’d like to swap or if you can simply borrow. Seeking fashion help from your friends is a great way to rock a perfect outfit completely free.
  • Shop second-hand: Shopping second-hand is an eternal eco-friendly shopping option that’s seen a boom in the past few years, with many consumers eschewing fast-fashion for pre-loved items. If you don’t feel like trawling through the racks at your local charity shops, sites like Depop and Vinted are a treasure trove of decently priced second-hand clothing.

Think About Travel Options

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With travel firmly back in full swing, destination weddings are very much on the cards. Who hasn’t dreamed of a beach wedding in Mallorca or a castle affair overlooking Lake Como? However, travel options seem to be getting more expensive by the day, with airfare surging by 19% month-to-month in 2022.

Even if you’re not jetting off out of the country, the price of travel within the UK can be sky-high. The average price of petrol has risen to 191.05p and long-distance rail travel is 32% more expensive than it was in 2010. Here are our top money-saving tips that will get you to and from the wedding without feeling like you should have just walked…

  • Car pool: It’s likely that you’ll know a couple other guests that are also travelling to your destination. Asking if you can carpool will be cheaper for you and the people you travel with – granted you do some research on cheap petrol stations!
  • Get a railcard: If your wedding plans involve a significant amount of train travel, then a railcard can save you between a third and 50% off your travel.
  • Use travel search engines: Search engines like SkyScanner or Kayak are excellent for comparing travel options and seeking out the cheapest prices. You can even use Google Flight to receive notifications on cheap flights.

Be Savvy With Your Accommodation

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According to research, hotels were the most popular type of wedding venue in 2021, and you can be sure, if it’s a hotel fit for a wedding, the room rate will not be cheap.

Accommodation can often cost a guest up to £400, which seems a lot for a room that you likely won’t be spending much time in. Planning ahead and doing some research into accommodation options can end up saving you hundreds of pounds.

  • Book as a group: Hotels will often provide family rates for big groups, so find some other saving-savvy guests and bag a great deal. If a group rate is still out of your budget, you and your group can look at AirBnB options in the area, which are often far cheaper.
  • Use comparison websites and book in advance: One of the first things you want to do once the venue is secured, is hop on to a site like booking.com or Trivago, to compare hotel room deals. Consulting your options as early as you can will yield cheaper and further results. However, it’s often best to book directly with the hotel as you won’t have to pay booking fees.
  • Stay with relatives/friends: Quaint country village sound familiar? It’s possible you know someone who lives near the venue who may be nice enough to let you set your bags down and stay the night. Granted, this won’t be the case for every wedding you attend, but even finding free accommodation for one can leave you with more in your budget.

More Money Saving Tips

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The average guest spends £576.20 per wedding. If you are going to five weddings this year, this will amount to £2,881 or if you’re going up to eight you will have to shell out a whopping £4,609!

As always, fleshing out a succinct budget at the beginning of the year dedicated to wedding costs will help you to not overspend and determine what’s worth spending money on and what isn’t. Nightingale recommends:

  • Don’t be afraid to say no: We know that the big day is all about the bride and groom but it’s also important to prioritise yourself. Having an honest conversation with the couple about your finances can be meaningful and significant to putting yourself first. Even if you can make the big day, don’t be afraid to say no to the extra activities such as hen or stag-do’s.
  • Get all the information ASAP: Gathering all the crucial info as soon as you can save you a serious amount of your budget. Details such as time/date/location/theme and even your role in the wedding can help you plan ahead, seek out cheaper options and calculate just how much you are willing to spend.
  • Help friends and family out: Whether it’s babysitting or offering a lift, helping your friends and family with their own wedding costs will often incentivise your loved ones to help you when you need it. Being an active member of your community will always pay off in the long run.
  • Learn how to DIY: Learning a skill on free platforms like YouTube is never a bad idea. The internet is a hub of information and honing skills like make-up, hair and home-manicures can save you a huge amount of money.

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