Spring is here, which means it is wedding season. Soon, you might find invitations to wedding ceremonies in your mailbox.
Unfortunately, getting married isn't cheap -- even if you are just the guest. From the cost of traveling to the wedding to the price of gifts, attending weddings can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Here are a few ways to save on the cost of wedding attendance.
Think about driving instead of flying
Going out of town? Calculate the cost of driving versus flying. Include a reasonable estimate for wear and tear on your vehicle when you calculate driving. Also, include costs associated with flying, such as airport parking or car rental at your destination.
You may find that driving to your destination is cheaper, especially if you carpool with others who can split the cost of gas. Just make sure you are realistically estimating the final tally. For example, driving often becomes more expensive if you eat at restaurants along the road.
Consider alternate hotel arrangements
Many wedding parties make arrangements with a hotel to offer rooms to their guests at discounted rates. But you might find an even cheaper rate in another nearby hotel or motel.
For example, if your wedding party has made arrangements with a five-star hotel, you might be able to find a cheaper room rate at a nearby three-star or two-star hotel. You will sacrifice quality and proximity, of course, but you'll also save money.
Only do this if you have cheap, reliable transportation that can get you to the ceremony and reception areas.
Shop for registry gifts at discounters
Many brides and grooms set up gift registries at brand-name stores. But you might be able to find the exact same item (with the same brand name) for a cheaper price if you search at discount stores such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, outlet stores or various websites.
Shop around with a price-comparison app such as Google Shopper. When you input the name of the item (or scan the bar code), the app pulls up a list of online and local retailers that carry that item. It also shows you the price that each retailer charges, including shipping, if applicable.
Use rewards portals
If you buy wedding gifts online, use a rewards portal to make the purchase. Websites such as Upromise give you anywhere from 1 percent to 6 percent cash back on the purchases that you make. (That amount comes in addition to any rewards associated with your credit card or debit card.)
Paula Pant blogs at AffordAnything.com about creating wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns five rental units and works for herself. Follow Paula on Twitter @affordanything