Saving money on your wedding day is easy. The courthouse couldn't be a cheaper venue. But how do you save on the weddings of friends and colleagues? The costs add up quickly.
"We found that gifts, on average, run around over $100, and the cost is higher if it's a close friend's wedding," said Kristin Koch, senior editor of the theknot.com. "On average, people spend $75 on attire and over $300 on travel. Destination weddings can run close to $1,000."
Theknot.com estimates that 40 percent of wedding guests are from out of town, and almost a quarter of weddings are destination weddings, making costs of attending even higher.
People are also spending more on wedding wardrobes. "It is amazing how much people spend to attend weddings," said Jennifer Hyman, co-founder and chief executive of Rent the Runway, a website that rents designer dresses and accessories. "You used to be able to buy one outfit and wear it to a few weddings. But now that photos are instantly on Facebook, you can't do that anymore."
Experts weigh in on how to keep costs down on your friends' big days.
Rent your attire: Much like the bride, women often want new dresses for the occasion. But why buy when you can rent for as low as 10 percent of the cost of buying? Renting dresses and accessories saves time and money.
Accessorize: Dress up something in your closet with vintage or rented accessories. The same goes for men: Most own a suit they can wear, but investing in vintage ties or using a service such as Tie Society, a Netflix-style company that rents ties for a monthly fee, will defray costs during wedding season.
Plan ahead: Don't wait for the save the dates to arrive. Look for flights and hotels the minute the Facebook announcement goes up. And don't wait for the bridal party to supply information on where to stay or how to get there.
Avoid expensive lodging: It might be tempting to stay with the bridal party, but you can almost always find a less expensive alternative a few miles away.
Car rental alternatives: If you need to rent a car, consider peer-to-peer car-rental alternatives such as relayrides.com. For singles, Koch recommends finding a friend or acquaintance before the wedding willing to share the rental.
Know when to splurge: According to theknot.com, the average cost of a gift for a family member is $146. Gifts for friends average $79. "Spend 60 percent on wedding, 20 percent on shower and 20 percent on engagement party," Koch said. Theknot.com recommends $75 to $100 for a co-worker, $100 to $120 for a friend and $100 to $150 for a close friend or family. But the value of what you buy isn't the same as the cost.
game the registry: Be first to sign up for items on a registry, and be strategic. Choose an item you know you can find cheaper elsewhere. Just because you sign up for something on a registry doesn't mean that you have to buy it there. Get the brand and size details, and find it online for less.