The cost of being a wedding guest

When couples start talking about wedding costs, the last thing on their mind is how much guests will have to spend to attend. But it’s something to consider as some weddings can get very expensive for guests – from travel costs and suit/dress hire, to gifts, accommodation, babysitting and more.

It might seem like overkill to some, but budgeting as a wedding guest can help reduce any financial anxiety so you can focus all your attention on your loved ones during their special day.

The real cost of weddings

According to The Choosi Cost of Love Report 2021, 86% of us think that the average cost of a wedding in Australia is too high – it’s no wonder some of those who get engaged are focused on keeping costs down for their wedding.

While “thorough research and planning” (49.9%) and “using a non-traditional venue” (31.6%) are common money-saving strategies, the most popular wedding hack is “having a smaller wedding” (76.7%).

Top financial considerations as a wedding guest

If money is the first thing that comes to mind when you receive a ‘Save the Date’ in the mail, it might be time to put your money-saving skills to work. Read on for the top financial considerations you may wish to consider as a wedding guest.

Travelling to and from the wedding

Did you know that going to a destination wedding can cost a significant amount just to attend the ceremony? That’s a cost that some may baulk at, and it might even make you rethink ticking ‘Yes’ on the RSVP card.

There will be travel costs associated with many weddings you attend, even those that aren’t in another country. Consider whether you can you get away with using Uber/taxis, or will you need to drive there (fuel costs) or jump on a plane (airline tickets, and potentially car-hire costs)?

Accommodation expenses

Unless you are lucky enough to have the wedded couple put you up in accommodation after the reception, you may have to pay for your own hotel stay – especially if you aren’t within driving distance from home.

Alternatively, if you live close enough to where the wedding will be held but don’t plan on driving yourself home afterwards, you’ll have to factor in the price of a cab fare or carpool with other guests.

Buying the perfect wedding gift

Has the couple shared their official wedding registry of gifts? If not, this at least allows you the freedom of setting your own gift budget and choosing the most appropriate wedding present.

If they are only doing a wishing well, you’ll need to determine for yourself how much you plan on gifting them. While some would say anywhere between $100 to $300 is typical, it can depend on your relationship with the couple. If you’re a distant relative just there to make up the numbers, you shouldn’t necessarily feel obliged to throw wads of cash into the wishing well.

Picking your outfit

Seasoned wedding veterans will likely have at least one suit or cocktail dress they can ‘re-wear’ for the big occasion, in which case you might avoid spending anything on attire – except for dry cleaning costs, of course!

However, if the wedding is themed or is a black-tie event, you may need to consider hiring or buying an outfit – and they don’t always come cheap.

Taking care of the kids

If you have young children, be aware that some Australian couples are choosing to have their weddings child-free. So, if you will be gone for most of the day or night, or if you will be travelling overnight for the wedding, you may need to factor in the cost of a babysitter.

4 tips to budget for an upcoming wedding as a guest

While this list of potential expenses is enough to make anyone anxious about attending a wedding, there are ways you can minimise the costs and ensure you – and the happy couple – have an amazing time. Here are some tips to save money as a wedding guest:

  • Plan well in advance of the big day: As soon as you receive your ‘Save the Date’, you can start planning your cost-effective wedding attendance. With so much lead time, you can wait for sales on clothing, buy cheap flights and accommodation when they pop up, and hopefully get in early on the wedding registry.
  • If you’re travelling, make the most of the trip: Rather than doubling your expenses with a wedding trip and a holiday, why not combine the two? Especially if the wedding is interstate or overseas, you could potentially save on additional travel costs later in the year by staying a few days post-wedding to enjoy the surroundings.
  • Rent your outfit: No one will be the wiser if you rent your wedding attire rather than purchasing it outright – especially if it’s a black-tie wedding or you are never likely to wear the outfit a second time.
  • Call on family to look after the kids: If you have friends or family who live close by and won’t be attending the wedding, see if they will be available to look after your kids instead of forking out for a babysitter.

Get me to the church on time

While a few simple strategies can help you save money as a wedding guest, finding a different car insurance policy can reduce your ongoing expenses. So if you’re looking for car insurance, start comparing quotes online with Choosi today.