Wedding Season Is Back On. 4 Costs to Plan For if You'll Be Attending One

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You may have your share of weddings to attend this year. Here are some expenses to plan for.

The coronavirus pandemic forced a lot of people to cancel or postpone major life plans, and getting married was one of them. Chances are, you know at least one couple that had to put off a wedding. Now, as things improve on the pandemic front and the weather warms, you may land in a situation where the wedding invites keep coming. But attending a wedding can be a costly prospect, and that's something you'll need to save for accordingly. Here are a few big expenses to keep on your radar -- and how to make them more affordable.

1. Travel

You may get invited to a wedding this year that isn't local, and if so, you'll need to figure out how to get there. If you're going with a group and the wedding location is a reasonable distance away, driving and splitting the cost of fuel will almost always be more economical than flying. But if you have to fly, see if you can cash out miles or points on your credit cards to cover the cost of your trip. And even if you can't, try booking your flight on a travel rewards credit card, as that might come with perks like free checked bags that can save you some money.

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2. Lodging

If you're attending a wedding that's out of town, you'll need someplace to stay -- but you have options. You could use rewards points or hotel points for a free night of lodging. Or, if you're traveling in a group, you can look into renting a private home in the area. You might find one with a nightly rate that's comparable to that of a hotel -- only instead of fitting just two people into a room, you might fit eight people into a rental house.

3. Attire

Generally, you can't just slap on jeans and a T-shirt and show up to a wedding. But before you spend a small fortune on a new dress or suit, see if you can repurpose something you've worn before. You may, for example, be able to wear the same dress to two separate affairs this summer if you change up your accessories. And throwing on a different shirt under a suit could disguise that you wore it to a different wedding three weeks ago. Of course, this is really only an issue if you're attending several weddings with the same group of people. If not, don't hesitate to wear the same outfits over and over.

4. Gifts

As a wedding attendee, it's common practice to give a gift. But that doesn't mean you need to go overboard. People who throw weddings generally understand that between travel and lodging, being a guest is expensive, so you shouldn't feel compelled to bust your budget to come up with a gift.

In fact, a good bet is to find a gift that's meaningful to the pair tying the knot. If you know they have a favorite sports team, a book about its history and some logo-themed coasters could do the trick. Or, if it's affordable, buy them a pair of tickets to see a game. Also, don't hesitate to be honest with the happy couple. If traveling to their wedding will already cause a strain on your finances, explain that you may need to give a gift at a later time.

As expensive as it is to host a wedding, attending one can be costly in its own right. Be sure to not only gear up for these expenses, but take steps to make them as affordable as possible.

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