I wrote this little ditty two years ago, but it’s just as valid now as it was then (though my life has changed considerably). Weddings are expensive for everyone involved, and I feel like I’ve been hearing some extra griping across the Internetz about the inconvenience from a guest POV. So, let’s sit back and get our week going with these tips on how to do wedding guesting, Broke-Ass style.
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Not everyone can be a baller like Metro kitty.
We all know being a Broke-Ass Bride is about being wise with your green and making sure it’s spent in the right places and with the right people. But what about when you’re a guest at a broke-ass (or not) wedding and you’re still a broke-ass? Unlike when planning your own wedding, being a guest isn’t necessarily at the constant forefront of your mind, occupying all of your money- and sanity-related thoughts. Your life is no longer engulfed by the “OHEMGEEZ how are we going to afford to feed/inebriate/entertain everyone we know and love AND get my hurr did AND pay for alterations AND make sure our friends know how much we appreciate them with gifts AND … AND … AND … ” Well, you know.
But being a broke-ass wedding guest can still have its panic-inducing, curl-up-in-a-ball kind of moments. I’m attending a wedding June 16 in Louisville, Ky. It is one of two I was invited to this summer, and the other I had to respectfully turn down because, well wouldn’t ya know it, it was on the exact same day. It was really difficult for me to say no because the bride was one of the first roommates Husbandface and I had together when we began cohabitating. But the one I eagerly said ABSO-FREAKIN’-LUTELY to is one of my nearest and dearests. In fact, she was in our wedding and her mama has been like my own for many many moons.
But! Louisville is pretty far from my little neck of the woods. And since off-season hit Husbandface and I like a fastball right to the schnozz (sorry, it’s also baseball season), things got pretty tight around here in a hurry. With him getting laid off until his new job starts in June and me working full-time, but for a newspaper — which, as an industry, tend to be notorious for mediocre wages — I knew I had to be uber wise about how I spent my cash, money, yo. But there was no way in a blazing inferno I would let my lack of flow hinder my only vacation this year and my chance to hang with my girls.
In December, I thought things would be peachy-keen. I bought a baller new dress (on sale, from ModCloth) and began browsing some swank digs to lay my head for the week. Then April hit and KABLOOEY! I still have the dress, but can no longer pony up for the luxe life.
As luck would have it, I’m traveling with the bride’s mama. And she is super spending-savvy. First we camped out on Kayak.com, Orbitz.com, Priceline.com … you name it, to find the absolute cheapest airfare. Things were looking to bottom out around $500. Then, as if with a stroke of luck, the bride herself came through with the best news of all: She had vouchers from her and her fiance’s chaos-riddled journey to get to my own wedding. So, with the vouchers and a 5-hour drive to get to the nearest big airport, the round-trip tickets for both of us only cost $120. WHEW.
Next up was the hotel issue. Obviously, we wanted to stay at the hotel closest to the venue, which is the one where the block had been booked *YOU GUYS. If you don’t already know this, pay attention: Blocks often times cost money for the couple. But, if they can fill the block, they are not only saving you money (in some cases, like when we got married, HALF OFF), but sometimes they’ll even get a room for a night out of it. So really, it behooves ALL THE PEOPLE to take advantage of the couple’s legwork in setting these up.* However, it was a bit pricey to hole up there for the total of 10 days we were going to be there. So, we scoured the area for good deals. But Louisville is BIG. And we weren’t renting a car, thus we’d be relying on the bus system. And *Ta Da*!!! The bride’s Maid of Humor/Sisterface stepped in and offered up her crib AND her know-how of the city’s public transport. So, Sisterface and I are bunking down at the aforementioned hotel for two nights surrounding the wedding, and I get to play roommate with two of my fave ladies in the world for the rest of the week.
Now, I only have to scrimp and save for food, booze and other accouterments (have I mentioned it’s baseball season? Because I’m TOTES checking out the Louisville Slugger factory).
Now, I know that not everyone will luck out quite in the way I did, but between my destination wedding and attending this wedding (the first one ever I’ve had to travel for without my parents), I think I’ve racked up some tips for you:
- Camp out on travel sites. Sign up for fare-alert emails, check back daily (if not twice!) and check out surrounding airports. The town I live in is generally at least an extra $200 to fly in/out of. One an hour and a half away knocks anywhere from $50 to $150 off that price. The one we’re flying out of? It’s a fairly big airport, so it’s super cheap to fly into another major airport. The drive makes the savings worth it.
- Take advantage of hotel blocks. Even if it’s just for a night or two around the wedding. After a fantastic event, it’s so nice to go somewhere close, maybe a little more upscale than what you would normally book, and bask in the glow of what you just experienced. Chances are you’re getting a killer deal, won’t have to deal with too much in the way of transportation to and from and will most likely run into fellow revelers for nightcaps or morning coffee. You’re also helping the newlyweds out.
- Take a chance and bunk up with a fellow single traveler. You could split the cost of the room and any taxis/shuttles you take during the week. And you could make a lifelong new friend. Also, by offering this, you could be alleviating any possible whining to the bride/groom/family that may be taking place. And everyone knows a happy couple means a rockin’ event.
What are some ways you’ve found to make travel, especially traveling for weddings, a little less painful on the purse?