How to Make the Most of Wedding Season Travel

  • Grace Lower
Jun 20, 2018

As I write this, I am gearing up for the first of three weddings I’ll be attending this summer. I’m absolutely thrilled for my friends, but what I hadn’t anticipated was just how much travel would be involved. Now that we’re done with college, my friends and I are scattered across the country: literally spanning from New York to California and from Michigan to Florida. With so many moves comes the need for wedding travel. Lots and lots of wedding travel. 

Of course, I’m thrilled that my friends are getting married, and I couldn’t be happier that they’ve found love. But with the cost of attending a close friend’s wedding averaging an eye-popping $628 per person, it’s no surprise that my travel budget has taken a serious hit. To keep costs down, I’ve decided to bundle my wedding travel with my summer travel. Here are a few ways I’m planning to make the most out of this wedding season.

Taking an extra day off

While this option depends heavily on available vacation days, there are a few reasons why I’m asking for extra time off. First, Sunday weddings are becoming an increasingly common trend.  Rather than ducking out of the party early or leaving at the crack of dawn on Monday, I’m taking an extra day for the trip home to keep stress and sleep-deprivation at bay. What’s more, weekday flights tend to be significantly cheaper than weekend flights — even on budget airlines. My Monday and Tuesday return trips have been relatively inexpensive compared to their weekend counterparts. And finally, I’m already investing a significant amount of time and money into attending out-of-state weddings. By adding an extra day to my trip, I can take a little time to be a tourist in the destination that I’m visiting. Which leads us to my next trick...

Building in additional activities

Although the weddings will be my main priority, I’m also looking forward to spending my down-time enjoying nearby attractions. The weddings I’ll be attending aren’t in particularly exotic locations, but I fully intend to make the most of the time I have there. For each wedding destination, I’ve created a mini-itinerary of local restaurants and low-cost attractions. So far, I have tentative plans to go white-water rafting, visit an art museum, stop by a famous bakery, and explore botanical gardens. I can’t wait to celebrate with my friends and loved ones, but I’ll have plenty to do when the parties wind down.

Repeating outfits

This wedding season, I’m cutting costs by wearing a few of my tried-and-true dresses. It’s tempting to buy a new outfit for the festivities, but since I’ll be in the wedding party for one of the three weddings, my dress-buying quota is maxed-out. By borrowing jewelry and accessories from a few friends, I’m reworking the dresses that I already own. I also know wedding-goers who are borrowing an outfit from a friend or using a service like Rent the Runway. Reimagining your clothing can give you a fresh look without blowing your budget.

Coordinating with other guests

One of the first things I did when I moved to Philadelphia was get rid of my car. While I don’t miss the hassles of car ownership, my new lifestyle means that traveling outside the East Coast can get tricky. For several of the weddings I’m attending, I’ve found old friends and extended family who are happy to give me a ride or share the cost of an Uber. I’ve also reached out to fellow guests for hotel recommendations and ideas on what to do before and after each wedding. Having a solid social network is essential in cutting costs, comparing strategies, and having an all-around better wedding weekend. 

Playing the budget airline game

In some instances, I’ve learned the hard way that budget airlines aren’t always cheaper than their full-price counterparts. But through a careful combination of Kayak, Google Flights, and Hopper, I’ve been able to score some serious deals for each of this summer’s weddings. By taking an extra day off for wedding travel (and being willing to travel at all hours of the day), I’ve had more flexibility to find low-cost flights. One downside of my cheap flights, of course, is that fees for carry-ons can add up. Since all my flights are nonstop, I’m forgoing my carry-on and splitting a large, checked bag with my boyfriend. The waits at the luggage carousel might be a pain, but for me, the $40 in savings is well worth the sacrifice.  

Finding the right balance for accommodations

While blocks of hotel rooms are a popular option for weddings, my accommodations will vary across all three weddings. For one wedding, I’ll be sharing an Airbnb with two of my friends — it’s just down the street from the groom’s parents’ house, so we’ll be able to walk over for pre-wedding festivities. For another, I’ll be sleeping on a loveseat in my former roommate’s apartment. The third wedding will take place in my hometown, but rather than crashing with my parents, I’ve decided to spring for a room in the hotel block. This wedding will have an after-party that will last until 2:30AM. I’m not interested in taking a late-night, 30-minute Uber ride to my parents’, so I’ll be staying at the hotel for the night. 

Ultimately, I’ve found that wedding travel is a balancing act. Planning ahead and budgeting now is an easy way to ensure that during this wedding season, I can just relax and focus on what really matters: lifelong friendship and love.

About the Author

Grace Lower

Grace Lower has a love for all things writing and travel. When she's not exploring new places, Grace enjoys teaching English as a Second Language, making terrible puns, and running incredibly long distances at incredibly slow speeds.

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