From my Hart: Wedding Guest Costs

I was on LinkedIn the other day when I stumbled upon the article above, written for guests attending weddings. I thought it was filled with a lot of great information for guests who are trying to save on costs. Kudos to Cain for writing a unique take on wedding costs from the guest perspective; I love spinning new angles on topics!

I did think of a few things while reading that I wished Cain touched on. So, I thought… why not add my own tips? Below you will see my addendum to Cain’s article on saving money as a wedding guest.

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I try and put myself into the couple’s shoes, as they have invited guests and want them to attend. However, I’ve had to RSVP no to some weddings because of the distance and time of traveling. PTO, and the additional costs associated with traveling can really be a burden for some!

If you can, go in with other guests, as Cain mentioned, to cut costs is ideal. This could be done by going in on hotel room, get two queen beds and split the cots with four friends, or by sharing airlines miles, etc. Also, as Cain mentioned, booking early is key!

Something Cain didn’t mention in detail, is the planning of your finances. When the save the date comes out, or as soon as you get wind from the couple that travel will be involved, start budgeting! I take any expendable / extra income I have (babysitting, lunches out, etc.) and start putting that money aside for the wedding. You’d be surprised how quickly by consciously saving early, you will have enough money to make attending the wedding less stressful.

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In the realm of etiquette, I am shocked whenever I see guess breaking these two simple rules, it makes my blood boil, total pet peeve.

1. Do not wear white
2. Stick to the dress code

Please for the love of all that is good, do NOT wear white, to a wedding. White dress shirts for the men, fine, ladies- stay far far away. I’ve seen guests wear a white dress to a wedding- only the bride should be in white, unless otherwise specified.

As a footnote to the above: if you know the colors of the bridal party, don’t wear that specific color either. Let those ladies and men have their shining moment as a standout member of the bridal party. Yes- I’ve seen quite a few people be mistaken for bridesmaids at weddings.

For the dress code, please adhere to it. The couple is putting in the effort to create a magical moment for guests and having a dress code can help set the mood!

How do you know if there is a dress code? Easy!

1. It’s listed on the invitation or wedding website.
2. A night wedding is always more formal, unless otherwise specified.
3. Look to the location: barn weddings tend to be less formal & don’t wear jeans to a ballroom, etc.
4. Still unsure? Ask, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Fun Fashion Fact: The Mother of the Groom’s dress color should complement the Mother of the Bride’s dress color


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The cost of your wedding gift should, in theory and by traditional standards, offset what the Bride and Groom are spending on you as a guest per plate. Let’s say the average cost per head is $100 for dinner, you and your plus one should aim to spend $200 on your wedding gift.

Get creative! I love when guests have themed gifts. For my Big’s (big sister in the sorority) I did a “drunk in love” theme and purchased some really like drink wear, etc. for the gifts. I also always gift thank you cards. Even if the couple designs their own thank you cards post wedding, there will never be a time that these won’t come in handy.

Further, don’t forget to think outside of the box and add some smaller items to a big gift! Cute napkins and a sugar dish in addition to a Ninja Coffee Bar really pull the gift together, and let the couple know you’re thinking of them.

Do not wait until the week of the wedding to find a gift. Not only will this cause undue stress, but it will also cause your costs to go up! Rush shipping is not a fun price, neither is checking the registry and seeing everything purchased. Womp Womp.

Key factor here: Cain points out sending a gift even if you RSVP no, is proper etiquette. Don’t feel obliged to go crazy on the gift, especially if you are RSVPing no due to finances, however you should still think of the couple, as they so clearly thought of you.

Overall thoughts?

Weddings are fun. Attending weddings are fun! The celebration of love should forever remain at the forefront, even when budging and planning out gifts, etc. The article above, as well as my addendum, are tips. You should never let any of the above become more important, or all consuming than enjoying yourself with the bride & groom.

Wedding season is officially upon us! Enjoy & spread the love!


the images from this post were all free icon images from various sites: medialoot, vector guild & freepik.
The feature image is from my sister Katie R.

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