Wedding travel is the truest love-hate relationship. It’s wonderful to celebrate your friends and see their big day, but it can get expensive and inconvenient fast.
Wedding season is in full force, and you surely have one or two or 12 events requesting your presence this year. We know you want to spend those weekends enjoying yourself and supporting the bride and groom, so we put together our best tips for saving money, packing what you need, and having a great weekend. Let’s do this!
Plan Ahead for Wedding Travel
Wedding invitations and save-the-dates are sent months in advance. Chances are you opened them, stuck them on the fridge, sent in your RSVP, and promptly forgot about everything else. You have plenty of time to figure out the travel details, right? Don’t be so sure. This is a recipe for the date creeping up on you and booking flights and rooms late minute, stuck with prices that seem like a cruel joke.
But planning ahead gives you time to watch prices and consider your options. As soon as you send back your RSVP, start planning your trip by booking your flight and comparing hotel prices. You’ll save money and leave your self-worth intact.
Set fare alerts to track flight prices and use Roomkey’s “Price Alert” tool to compare prices at different hotels in the wedding area. If the bride and groom have set up a block of rooms at a nearby hotel, that’s a great place to start, but it’s possible you could find a better rate somewhere else if you’re proactive. Flights are likely to get more expensive the closer to the date they’re booked, and hotel room blocks can fill up, leaving you forced to book a room outside of the block at the normal rate.
Wedding Packing List
- Your wedding outfit: Be sure to carry this onto the plane with you. Even if you’re not in the wedding party, it’s a good idea to carry this on so it doesn’t get lost in transit.
- Travel clothes, preferably light layers that you can wear both ways.
- Wedding day shoes
- Any other accessories like belts, jewelry, pocket squares, cuff links, bags, watches, special undergarments, or purses.
- The wedding invitation, just in case you need to double check the information.
- Makeup, hair styling tools, or anything else you need to get ready for the wedding.
- Your normal toiletries
- Band-Aids for blisters
- Stain stick or Tide-to-Go
- A bathing suit
- One or two other outfits for the weekend
- A gift, maybe. More wedding registries are online nowadays and can ship the gift directly to the couple, which is often easier for you and for them. If you prefer to bring a gift to the wedding, be sure to pick something portable and to put it at the top of your packing list. You can never go wrong with a gift card or cash.
Turn the Wedding Weekend into a Mini-Vacation
It’s not always practical, but turning the wedding into a long weekend can be fun and efficient. This gives you the chance to explore the destination, and it can make you feel like you’ve gotten more for the time and money you spent traveling. While you might be reluctant to drop hundreds of dollars on a trip just for someone’s wedding, if you feel like you have a mini-vacation built in, you can justify the cost a little more. Research a few restaurants and must-see spots before you get there. By the end, you might even appreciate the chance to visit somewhere you wouldn’t have chosen yourself.
Our Top Money-Saving Tips
Flights, gifts, and hotel rooms can add up quickly, so saving money is likely to be one of your top priorities. If you can spare the vacation time, flights early in the morning (especially on Fridays) and late in the evening on Mondays are your cheapest options for a weekend trip.
If you have other friends traveling to the wedding, splitting a hotel room or a suite can be an easy way to save money. And of course, planning ahead and comparing prices will land you the best deal.
Planning ahead won’t just help you save money on a room and flight, it can also help with a gift. Buying a present early will ensure there’s an option on the registry in your price range. If you can’t abide yourself with a spatula or tea towels, go in with a friend on a more expensive gift. If your budget is eaten up by travel, no one will fault you for a handmade gift. Spending the money to be part of the day is a gift to the couple.
Another way to save money is to skip buying a new outfit. If you can’t settle on an outfit you’d like to re-wear, then options like Rent the Runway or FashionPass allow you to rent clothes so you can still look your best without having to pay full price. Bonus: it’s better for the planet, too!
The best way to afford traveling for weddings is simply to save for them in the first place. We tend to plan for financial events like Christmas or even birthday gifts for friends and family, but we don’t think about the financial cost of weddings. Committing to saving a set amount every month into a “special event” fund can prepare you for wedding season when it seems like events and costs are coming back to back.
If you’re looking to book a hotel room for a wedding a few months out and have time to shop around for the best price, we recommend our price alert tool to make your search as easy as possible. You’ll just need to create an account on roomkey.com so we know how to contact you. Then, simply click on the “Set Price Alert” button for the hotels you’re interested in, and we’ll keep an eye on the price for you. If the prices drop, we’ll notify you right away and send you a link to the hotel’s website so you can book directly with the hotel. That’s the best way to secure your room, rate, and loyalty points too.