Wedding season is upon us, and if you’re gearing up to toast the nuptials of a friend or relative, chances are you’ll be dreading the considerable expense that being a guest brings.
Of course everyone wants to give the newly-weds a gift, but then there’s accommodation to think about, a new outfit, transport and often a costly hen or stag do.
The expense can quickly mount up, but fortunately there are ways to cut costs and still enjoy the day. Here we take a look.
Save save save!
With many currently finding their household purse strings stretched to the limit, saving isn’t a top priority. But thinking ahead and putting away even a small amount will mean you are more prepared when the wedding approaches.
Considering an easy access account such as the Santander e-Saver issue will allow you to earn a generous interest rate of 3.20% and can be opened with as little as £1. You can choose to receive monthly or annual interest and the account can be managed online or by telephone.
If you have invitations to weddings next year and want to be really organised, then regular savings accounts give more competitive rates of interest. However, these accounts require regular deposits and restrict how many withdrawals you can make. They are also often fixed for a set term, usually of around a year.
The West Bromwich BS Fixed Rate Regular Saver account, for example, offers a substantial interest rate of 4.10%. The term is fixed for one year and you are allowed to miss up to two monthly payments. If you’re confident you can be strict with yourself and are able to lock your money away, than regular savings accounts are definitely worth considering.
If you need to put it on the plastic…
However, those of us not quite as organised might be in need of more of a short-term finance fix for wedding expenses.
If this is the case, applying for a 0% purchase credit card could be an option. This will allow you to borrow what you need, then pay back what you owe over a number of months without having to pay a penny of interest.
The M&S Credit Card, for example, offers a generous 15 months interest-free. However, once the 0% period ends you will be charged the representative APR of 15.9% (variable), so make sure you have cleared your balance before the 15 months is up.
Alternatively, the Halifax All In One credit card offers 15 months interest free on both purchases and balance transfers. Therefore, if you have a debt that is steadily increasing with mounting interest, this could be one way to get it under control, as well as having the freedom to make purchases interest-free. The representative APR on this card, however, is steep at 17.9% so make sure you take advantage of the 0% period and clear your balance.
Inspiration for your wardrobe
What to wear for a wedding can cause considerable panic but there are ways to keep costs down. If you are going to more than one wedding with different sets of people, then there is no need to buy a new outfit for each one, just vary your accessories and shoes.
Keep your eyes peeled for mid-season sales and plan ahead. If the wedding is later in the year, just make sure the outfit will be suitable for the season.
For a real ‘wow’ dress, there are a number of websites where you can hire designer dresses at a fraction of the price they would be to buy. For example, Girlmeetsdress.com and Wishwantwear.com are just two of the many out there.
And don’t forget to raid your friends’ wardrobes! If you are lucky enough to be a similar size, see if there is anything you can borrow. It will feel like a new outfit and can repay the favour when they go to a wedding.
Many couples now request cash for their wedding present and while this is convenient, it can also be expensive. And some of the most impressive gifts are those which have had thought and time put into them.
Although it’s likely the couple will have a photographer on the day, often the best photos are non-professional ones that really capture the moment. Putting them together in a lovely album could be one option. Or you could see if you could get a framed picture or photo of the venue for the couple to remember their big day or even order the music score of the tune the bride walked down the aisle too as an unusual gift.
You could also consider organising a treat for the couple when they get back from their honeymoon such as restaurant vouchers or an experience day. Have a look at MoneySupermarket’s deals and vouchers channel for inspiration.
Accommodation and travel
Accommodation and travel expenses can be one of the most expensive aspects of being a wedding guest.
If you are travelling by train, the earlier you book, the more likely you are to find discounts, and tickets tend to be released around 12 weeks in advance. TravelSupermarket’s train tickets channel will allow you to compare deals and offers and get the best price for your journey.
Make sure you shop around for hotels and don’t forget to consider B&B’s and even camp sites if you’re really trying to cut costs. Chances are you’ll be spending most of the evening at the wedding and won’t mind where you rest your head at the end of the night.