Slash Your Spending As A Wedding Guest

Slash Your Spending as a Wedding Guest (and Best Man)

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Wedding Decor
We made our centerpieces and then rented them out before selling on Craigslist for profit!

Being in a wedding doesn’t have to be expensive! Have you have been asked to be in a wedding, and then dreaded the associated costs?


You want to support your friend and spend that time with them leading up to the wedding. Don’t worry, you can save money and support your best friends!

According to a study by the average wedding guest will spend $888/wedding! Don’t worry you can lower this cost and be a FRUGAL WEDDING GUEST!

Mr. Kiwi was recently the best man in his friend’s wedding. He was honored, and his friend was the best man in our wedding!

What you Can’t Control

When you are in or attending a wedding a lot of the day is outside of your control. Instead of challenging the bride and groom’s choices, make frugal choices for everything else! Do not just transfer the cost onto the bride and groom or guilt them (that would be cheap) for choosing a crazy expensive dress/tux! They are dealing with enough judgment now!

As a frugal wedding guest you cannot control the costs of a few things:

  • Hmm, I think you actually can control the costs of everything! Other than the fact that you plan on attending a wedding!

If you are in the wedding party, some things will cost you money, just accept that:

  • Wedding Day Attire – you have to wear what they tell you to wear
  • Wedding location – you likely will have to travel. If you want to be in the wedding, don’t challenge that.

What you Can Control

Reduce the expenses that are within your control. We could have driven home Friday and Saturday nights, but we both planned on drinking (don’t drink and drive!) and we knew we’d have more fun if we didn’t end the night with a 1.5 hour drive home.

Wedding Arch
This is the arch we made with the groom. It now resides in their backyard.

The official wedding hotel was an upscale Westin, but there was a Holiday Inn Express a short walk away (~0.4 miles), so we stayed there! And used points, so it was completely free!

First, as a frugal wedding guest:

  • Use hotel points to stay for free! (Also, consider sharing a room with friends.)
  • Buy the gift using credit card rewards/gift cards. We got married 3+ years ago and still have gift cards to Bed, Bath and Beyond from Mr. Kiwi’s generous employer. We buy things off of people’s registry (don’t get people wedding gifts they didn’t ask for, they don’t want them!) using the gift cards. We also shopped through Ebates to save extra money! Sign up here and get $10 after your first $25 purchase!
  • Carpool/get to the wedding on the cheap.
  • Don’t buy new clothing – I’ve worn one dress to ten weddings. I own a handful of other dresses, but this one is awesome for dancing. So it wins every time. Why did I buy those other ones? Mr. Kiwi bought a suit for our wedding, and now he wears it to every wedding he isn’t in.
  • Bring snacks. You will get hungry.
  • Share an Uber with another guest if there isn’t a shuttle!
  • Also, if you can’t afford to go to a wedding, then definitely just RSVP no, and send a nice card. (Most people that RSVP’d no to us didn’t send a gift, and that was fine!)
  • If you have pets, trade dog sitting with a friend, so you don’t have to pay to board them!

If you are in the wedding party:

  • Bring snacks, beer and wine! You’ll have a lot more downtime since you have to get into town early. Bring food, so you don’t have to go out to eat!
  • Budget for the clothing. The tux rental was $200, I paid $160 for a bridesmaids dress before. That stuff is expensive.
  • Do your own hair. Take time, practice, and save the $60 to pay someone else to do it.
  • Gift! Be honest with your friend if you truly can’t afford to both be in the wedding and get them a gift. Make sure you at least give a really nice card with a personalized message. We can afford to do both, so we do!

A Frugal Gift People Enjoy

Now, I know I said don’t give people things they didn’t register for, and for the most part, I stand by that. But if you are truly skilled at a craft then homemade gifts can be the most cherished ones. Here’s some homemade gifts we got and love:

All Fancy
That’s me on the right, wearing an old bridesmaids dress, shoes I already had, and a purse from the dumpster.
  • Quilts from both of our grandmas
  • A year of dates! Twelve boxes with a different date to do each month
  • Dog sitting exchange
  • Our wedding cake, made by my sister-in-law
  • My Godfather is a musician, he sang as I walked down the aisle, for our first dances, the whole day. It was so special.
  • Family Recipe cards
  • Custom framed photos

For this wedding, Mr. Kiwi and I also helped to build the wedding arch they were married under! It was awesome, looked great in photos, and was a lot of fun to build. We got to spend a handful of weekends with the groom building this over the past year, so that was great too! Time with friends, doing something productive!

Frugal Wedding Guest Wrap Up

We practice frugality every single day. That means weddings are frugal events for us too! We spent $380 for Mr. Kiwi to be in his best friend’s wedding, to attend the wedding, and on the bachelor party! And we got two full weekends of fun!

We love celebrating with our friends and try to attend as many of their weddings as possible. This year we only had two to attend!

Control the costs and plan ahead! Enjoy the wedding, they fly by so fast!


Do you have any other frugal wedding tips to share?!?

4 comments on “Slash Your Spending as a Wedding Guest (and Best Man)”

  1. Reply

    Yes, when it comes to wedding clothes, if you are not in a wedding party, all you need is a nice black dress or black suit and you can wear it as often as you want.

    1. Reply

      Glad I’m not the only one! You do not need new clothing for every occasion. It will just take up closet space 99% of the time.

  2. Reply

    I agree with all those points and would even make one of them stronger – if you’re not close friends or family with a couple, don’t travel to attend their wedding. A nice card and a small gift (optional) will be much cheaper than travel expenses and likely well received by the couple. Weddings are expensive to host and headcount for acquaintances can get expensive.

    1. Reply

      Yes! Weddings have become so expensive for the couple and guests! When I got married I was not offended/upset by anyone who RSVP’d no!

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