How To Make Your Wedding More Budget-Friendly For Your Guests

February 19, 2018  |  
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After having attended many, many weddings in the last few years and spending the money I thought I’d put aside for my retirement on attending these events, instead, I’ve come to a conclusion: one of my priorities for my big day will be to make it affordable for my guests. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve enjoyed every wedding I’ve attended. They’ve been lovely, magical, heart-warming events. They’ve also been way out of my budget. I’ve made sure to take advantage of the open bar just to try to make some of my money back, and to become so buzzed I’d stop worrying about my bank account. Since I try to live by the rule, “Treat others the way you’d like to be treated” then I’d be a hypocrite if I, too, threw a wedding that required people to buy expensive plane tickets, purchase travel visas, and take weeks off work. So, here are ways to make your wedding more affordable for your guests.

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Have a camping wedding

I’m not joking! These are wonderfully fun. Renting out a campground, or simply renting a house with an enormous backyard, is much cheaper than using any upscale venue. And it provides everyone a place to sleep: all they need to bring is a tent and a sleeping bag. You’ll save them the cost of a hotel.

Bigstockphoto.com/Young couple waving goodbye to their friends on the bus at bus station

Rent a bus

Your guests do not care if they arrive at your wedding in style—save the limousine for you and your honey. Rent a totally standard, corporate, plain old bus to make a few stops around town and pick up your guests so they don’t need to pay for taxis. Send out the schedule and the locations of the bus stops a couple of weeks in advance.

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Choose registry items on clearance

I’m serious! So long as you love the items, who cares if they were on sale? And opt for registering at places like Target, rather than Neiman Marcus. Remember many of these department stores carry the same items, but at vastly different prices.

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Have it near a major airport

Don’t require that your guests get on a big plane, then a small plane, then a taxi, then a boat, and then a camel to get to your wedding. Keep it near a major airport, for goodness sake.

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Help them coordinate large AirBnb’s

If several couples or families split large AirBnb’s, everyone can save a lot of money. Start a Google spread document, find some links to five and six-bedroom AirBnb’s, and help guests coordinate their accommodations.

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Give them to-go boxes

Is it the most sophisticated, vogue thing to do? No. But all of that food you ordered for the buffet is just going to go to waste anyways. So give your guests to-go boxes, and let them grab lunch for tomorrow.

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Keep it casual

When you put “Black tie” or “White tie” (the ultimate in formal wear) on the invitation, you just cost a lot of people a few hundred dollars. We don’t live in an era where people really need ball gowns and four-piece tuxedos. So they’re probably forced to buy or rent one just for your wedding. Don’t do that to them. Keep it casual, like “Cocktail party attire.”

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Don’t have it near major holidays

Don’t have your wedding near major holidays because flight prices will skyrocket then. A lot of couples intentionally have weddings near major holidays, thinking people will already be taking those days off of work. But seriously, airline tickets are so high during this time.

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But do have it on a weekend

Do have your wedding on a weekend. Otherwise, your guests need to take several days off of work to attend.

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It’s a one-day event

Please, please take this the right way: your guests are so excited for your wedding, but they aren’t so excited for it that they’re willing to devote several days to it. A wedding day is just that: a wedding day. So enough with these five-day extravaganzas. You can have your close relatives and best friends stay for the extra days.

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Host a dinner for early guests

If you know a handful of guests will be flying into town a day before your wedding, host a dinner for them so they can save money on one meal. You can keep it simple—do family style at a BBQ place, or even ask a relative to host it at their home with simple delivery. It’s a nice gesture that saves your guests a few bucks.

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Or a brunch for late guests

You can also host a brunch for guests staying a day after your wedding, to save them the cost of that meal, too. Again, you don’t need to do anything extravagant. You can get your favorite local diner to make platters of eggs, pancakes, and bacon, and buy cheap champagne and orange juice from the grocery store.

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Coordinate carpools

Should you have some guests driving from nearby cities, put them in touch with other friends coming from the same area so they can carpool. This should save them some money on gas. You can simply start a Facebook group called “Carpools for My Wedding” and let your guests get in touch on there.

Todd Dulaney and Kenya and kids, Image by Marc Anthony

Have childcare

For many guests, the expense of childcare they need to attend your wedding is too much. If you have a lot of guests who will be traveling for your wedding, get a group rate at a family-friendly hotel, and hire a few babysitters to stay at the hotel with the kids during the big event. If many guests live in town, you can hire childcare to be at the venue, so the parents can enjoy themselves.

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Get them a group rate at an affordable hotel

If you’re getting your guests a group rate, then you’re already thinking about saving them money. So don’t do what most couples do, and get a group rate at an expensive hotel—that’s still expensive. Get a group rate at what is already an affordable hotel. The wealthier guests can stay at a more upscale place if they’d like.

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