Piggy in the middle

How to Save Money as a Wedding Guest

Earlier this week, freelance reporter for the Irish Independent Lisa Jewell approached Bride and Joy with a pickle: How can you save money when attending a

Piggy Bank with Coins Scattered around

We’ve all thought of ways to creatively save money when having our own big day, but what about when you’re attending someone else’s? It’s a fact of life that couples who are getting married will probably get invited to friends’ or relations’ weddings. Here’s how to cut the costs without curbing the celebrations:


  • Once you know you are definitely invited, keep an eye on the group purchasing websites such as CityDeal and LivingSocial for cheap deals on hotels in the vicinity of the wedding. Make sure to read the fine print though, especially if the wedding is on a Saturday night because often there are limitations on the vouchers’ use.
  • If it’s a family wedding or you know that there will be a big group of you staying at the same hotel, ring reception directly and ask for a group discount.
  • Never assume the ‘Guest’ rate is the best rate – check the hotel’s website to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
  • B&Bs are generally more budget-friendly.


  • If you are attending a wedding abroad and decide to book hotel and flight separately, aim to book flights 6-8 weeks before the date you wish to travel, as these are generally when the best deals are on offer.
  • If it’s feasible, consider designating a driver and travel home that night. This is especially handy if there’s a pregnant lady or non-drinker in your party.
  • Alternatively, get together with other guests who live near you and price around for minibus hire to bring you to/from.


  • When choosing gifts, practical is the order of the day. No matter how big or small your budget is, a waste of money is still money wasted. Vouchers and cash are the gifts of choice, with wedding lists staying popular and honey money is a new trend which will ensure that your gift is good value for the couple.


  • When it comes to dressing for weddings, there are lots of things you can do to make sure you’re not overspending. If you have a friend that’s the same dress size as you, do a swap. If you both have weddings to go to, you both get a dress for nothing and you won’t have to face it hanging in your wardrobe waiting for the next suitable occasion for years to come.
  • Consider renting a dress from a shop like Covet who hire designer dresses and accessories from the world’s leading designers, and vintage pieces for a fraction of the retail price.
  • If you have a number of weddings in the one season, invest in a little black dress which you can accessorize differently depending on the wedding. New Look and Penneys are great for shoes and handbags to transform the look of your LBD.


  • Paint your own nails and do your own makeup instead of enlisting professional help.
  • DIY false tan is a bit trickier, but with a bit of practice you will get the hang of it. It’s actually a trend that’s on decline, so if you decide to go without tan you’ll be bang on-trend.
  • Doing your own hair will also save you money, especially if you have a set of straighteners languishing in a drawer somewhere. A decent GHD job will give the hairdressers a run for their money any day.
  • And don’t forget, YouTube is your best friend for makeup and up-style tutorials. It’s worth doing a trial run a few days before to make sure everything’s perfect.

On the Day

  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks. Not only will this help you pace yourself but it will save you money too.

Finally, if you really CAN’T afford it…

  • If you really can’t afford to go to a wedding you have been invited to – provided it’s not a close friend or family member’s big day – graciously decline with regret. Never say you are going to go and then not show up. The couple will have already paid for your meal so they will be out of pocket unnecessarily. It’s courteous to give as much notice as you can but it’s not a sin to turn down an invitation that will send you into a financial tailspin. Your friends will understand.
So there you have it. For more useful money-saving tips, check out the Lifestyle Section of today’s Irish Independent.

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  1. this is great advice!

  2. Wrapped Couture

    This was great advice!

  3. I agree…this is all really great advice!

  4. These are great tips! Attending a wedding is definitely an expensive commitment but you’ve pointed out some really good ways to save.

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  1. PR: Bride and Joy in Irish Independent’s Smart Consumer Column @ Lisa Treanor – Communications Professional

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