Cheap Wedding Gifts
How to Be a Frugal Wedding Guest
Weddings are expensive -- and not just for the bride and groom (and their families). What we're getting at here is the cost of attending a wedding as a guest. As Engagement Experts points out, the average wedding guest spends roughly $565 to $686 to attend just one wedding. Imagine how the costs pile up if you attend multiple weddings over a short period of time.
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Outlays for a wedding that isn't yours include your outfit, jewelry, hotel accommodations, travel expenses, child/pet care, food, drinks, pre-wedding parties (think showers, bachelor party, etc.), and the wedding gift. On average, if you're family of the bride or groom, you'll spend more on the gift than friends. But you can't put a price on happiness, and if you're invited to celebrate the big day, it's an honor you really can't turn down. So here are some ways to save the next time you attend a wedding.
Travel and Accommodations.Getting there can easily send your budget into a tailspin. If you're planning to drive, consider traveling with another guest and share the gas costs. As for accommodations, scour your address book for someone you know in the city where the wedding will be held and ask if you might bunk there for a night or two. Lacking an alternative to getting a hotel room, arrange to share the room with another wedding guest. If you're good friends with the bride or groom, chances are you have some mutual friends. It doesn't hurt to ask around about room sharing.
Wedding Attire.Weddings are an opportunity to get glammed up, but you don't have to break the bank on a wedding outfit. If you're merely a guest (and not part of the wedding party), feel free to wear whatever is appropriate for the occasion. There's no need to run out and buy a new outfit -- wear something you already own. If you have multiple weddings coming up that call for different attire, try buying one good outfit or a separate and mix and match those pieces with items you already own. For example, a new skirt can be paired with a different assortment of shoes, jewelry, and tops for each wedding; likewise with a new dinner jacket, which just needs shoes, a tie, a shirt, and dress slacks to complete the look. You can also look for wedding wear on sale or at discount and vintage stores.
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Wedding Gifts.After spending on clothing, travel, accommodations, and miscellaneous expenses, you're still expected, as a wedding guest, to buy the couple a gift. This can be pricey. Forbes reports that newlyweds expect a gift worth no less than $50-$70 from good friends and $129 from family. Don't forget that the wedding gift is often given in addition to a shower gift you bought earlier. Eek!
But take heart, there are several ways to avoid showing up empty-handed while staying solvent. First, join forces with mutual friends and buy a group gift for the bride and groom. This strategy lets you purchase a much more expensive item while spending far less than you would by going it alone. With enough people chipping in, you can buy a big-ticket item, like a grill, for less than the $50 minimum expected of you.
Another option is to make a gift yourself. For example, a handmade, personalized quilt is a unique wedding gift that will mean a lot to the new couple; so, too, a black-and-white photo of the wedding chapel that's mounted and framed. If you're not particularly artsy, consider getting a set of wine glasses or champagne flutes engraved with the wedding date or the couple's initials.
Remember the gift registry. The bride and groom register for a reason: they actually need and want the listed items. Many times you can find store coupons for registry items so you don't need to spend the full price. Just be sure to shop early so you aren't left to choose among higher-priced options.
And lastly ... a popular practice involves writing a check or giving cash to the newlyweds. This may be easy but it virtually shouts exactly how much you're pouring into the wedding gift. Truly a last resort if you're determined to be a frugal wedding guest.