Do any of you budget for future weddings (friends’ weddings, not your own)? I’m specifically thinking about ones that will require air travel, hotel, etc. Any tips are appreciated.
Thanks for your questions! I’ll do my best to answer them, and I hope readers will add their own ideas in the comments section.
Not many of my friends or family members are getting married in the near future. The last wedding I attended (that wasn’t my own) was in December 2006. The next one for us is in May (in Florida!), and as of now, that’s the last one we’ll be attending for some time, as far as I can tell.
I’ve written about my Florida trip plans (see links below), and while it’s looking to be cheaper than I first thought, it’s still going to be quite expensive for us. In fact, it’s probably going to be around 1/3 of the cost of our own wedding!
I think in a few years, more of my friends will be getting married, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead for those happy times so they won’t have a negative effect on our budget. Once our emergency fund is completed, we’ll start a separate savings sub-account, where we can earmark money for gifts in general, and also wedding travel.
I don’t know how much we’ll put in the general gifts/wedding travel fund just yet, but I’m guessing it’ll be somewhere around $25-50 per month or so until we’re up to about $1,000. Since we don’t have single/engaged friends in Pittsburgh, we’ll have to travel to the next wedding we attend–whenever that is. Dunno for sure on that, though.
If you sense that you’ll be attending some weddings in the future, it’s a good idea to start saving. How much should you sock away? Consider some costs of standard items I’ve listed below. There’s lots of room to be frugal here, of course.
And, if you know you’ll need to travel to attend someone’s wedding, the sooner you can start planning, the better it will be on your budget.
Costs many wedding guests can expect to incur:
- Gift for the bride and groom. I’ll post on this soon! Stay tuned.
- New outfit including shoes if the guest doesn’t have something appropriate. If you’re a recent college grad or tend to have a basic wash ‘n wear wardrobe like me, then you might not have something to wear. Look through your closet to be sure, and if you’ll need a new outfit, keep your eyes out for sales (the clearance rack is your friend!) as well as checking thrift stores for possibilities. Choose a classic outfit that will work for plenty of weddings or nicer events, of course. If you wait until the last minute, you’ll likely end up paying more, so start shopping well in advance.
If you’re traveling far enough that you’ll need to spend the night, you can also expect:
- Transportation expenses. This can include gas money, train fare, bus fare, or airplane tickets. When you fly, you’ll also have to consider the costs of getting to and from an airport, which can include taxis, shuttle services, airport parking, and a rental car at your destination.
- Food. Sure, you’d be eating whether you were home or away. But it’s still a cost to consider. Maybe you’re like me, and like to get a snack at the airport. Or maybe you’ll turn the whole event into a vacation, and might eat out at a few restaurants.
- Lodging. Can you stay with friends or family? Either see if you can stay at their home, or if several friends/family are traveling to the wedding destination, perhaps you can get a group rate on a hotel room. If you’ll be in the area for more than a few days, look into renting a vacation home to keep costs down.
Whenever you fly, consider signing up for frequent flier programs, and use them for all of your travels. Perhaps eventually, you’ll be able to score a free flight–maybe to someone’s wedding.
The worst-case scenario: Don’t attend. Just send a gift with your warmest regards. If someone you’re not super-close to anymore is getting married and it’s absolutely not in your budget to travel to attend their wedding, really consider not going. Sure, it’s a bummer to miss out, but if you’re in debt and will have to go further into debt to attend, that’s something really worth weighing out.
And, check out all the posts I’ve written about lowering wedding costs.
(Photo credit: Aaron Bernstein, who took this at my wedding)