Money Matters Team

How to slash the cost of being a wedding guest

By Money Matters Team 16/03/2016

The average guest spends £448 attending a wedding, with an extra £150 if they go to the hen or stag do. We share some budget ways to save (without offending the bride!)

The gift

Undercover bargain-hunter Penny Golightly gives her unique take on how to avoid gift-gate

Buy a smaller present

If you're close to the happy couple, hunt down a thoughtful gift that reflects their hobbies or interests. Sites such as notonthehighstreet.com and etsy.com have everything from personalised custom portraits to cookery courses. If you're not so close with the new Mr and Mrs, get in quick and buy a cheap wedding gift from the gift list before someone else does.

Hunt down a great deal

It's a golden rule, but one that many forget in the heat of buying a pressie: always shop around for a deal and then track the price via sites such as lovesales.com in case it drops further. If you're going down the voucher route, buy cut-price vouchers at zeek.me (often for as much as 10% cheaper). You can use Nectar points or extra promotional discounts (visit vouchercodes.co.uk) for more savings before finally buying.

Crowdfund a big gift

Join with other wedding guests to chip in for a more expensive gift such as the honeymoon by using sites such as shareagift.com or patchworkpresent.com. With both of these, you can have a lot of fun creating a beautiful, inspiring page, then select one guest to collect all the donations to give on the big day.

The outfit

Tu fashion editor Torri Mundell on how to look super stylish, no matter how many weddings you go to this year.

Suits you, sir

Men have it easy as a classic suit never goes out of style, while women's trends change all the time. Capitalise on this by snapping up a well-cut suit in a versatile mid-tone grey or blue. Make it last for a few years by mixing it up with current accessories. It's not just about getting a fancy new tie — try a pocket square, belt, cufflinks, braces and a waistcoat.

For the ladies

For a quick win, take a dress or outfit that you already own, but throw in something new to reinvent your look. Sparkly shoes are an easy fix while oversized earrings make more of a style statement. Alternatively, transform last year's dress with a sumptuous jacket (think metallic, embroidered or sparkly).

If you're the type who never wears an outfit twice, try designer dress rental sites like girlmeetsdress.com or chic-by-choice.com. I once got my hands on a Victoria Beckham dress for £70! They can be a real stress-saver, delivery times are super quick and you can order a couple of dresses to try on and just pay for the one you like.

The stopover

Blogger Emma Bradley of mumssavvysavings.com likes the good things in life, for a great price. That goes for travel too

Getting there

Travelling to weddings can become quite expensive, so car share where you can to split the cost of getting there. Consider hiring a minibus if there's a group of you going from the same area.

If no one wants the responsibility of driving, then booking cut-price train tickets well in advance — around 12 weeks is the optimum — can save you loads. If you travel regularly with a friend or partner, a shared railcard (twotogether-railcard.co.uk) can save a third on rail fares.

Don't ignore first-class tickets. On occasions, I've found these for the same price as standard. In addition to that feeling of 'luxury', you can tuck into the complimentary food and save on lunch.

Staying there

Places on airbnb.co.uk are cheaper than a hotel and can accommodate larger groups — great if you just need somewhere to get changed beforehand and crash out after the do. If your wedding calendar is really full, you could put your own place on a site like ownersdirect.co.uk to cash in while you're away.

Lots of weddings this year? Our handy budget calculator can help you save for them.

This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.

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