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It's wedding season! And while you're over the moon about celebrating the love of those near and dear to you, anxiety looms on how to afford to attend.

According to, Americans go to an average of three weddings every year and it costs a whopping $703 per person to attend each one — and even more if you're in the wedding party.

While you could decline attending altogether, you don't want to come off as impolite or tactless. Here's how to stick to your budget while maintaining proper wedding etiquette.

1. Budget Ahead of Time

Aim to sock away money each month so you can afford attire, travel and gifts for the special affair. Create a budget as soon as you can. If you were asked to be in the wedding party, don't be shy about asking the bride or groom what expenses you're expected to cover. While it may feel awkward to bring up the topic, frame it so they know you want to make sure you aren't blindsided by unexpected costs.

2. Turn It Into a Vacation

If it's a destination wedding, consider tacking on a few days to your trip and turn it into a mini-vacation. That way, you can kill two birds with one stone. If you can spare the time, boost your travel savings even further by road tripping to the wedding or taking the train. It'll add some adventure and you'll get the chance to experience new sights.

3. Find Attire for Less

There's no shame in purchasing simple yet classy garb at a discount. Look for finds at your favorite discount retailers or consignment shops. Also consider putting a fresh spin on a dress or suit you've worn at a previous engagement with a shawl, inexpensive shoes, tie or shirt. You can also shop in your closet to find something fun and suitable to wear to the fancy occasion.

4. Keep an Eye Out for Travel Deals

If you need to fly and book accommodations for the wedding, scope out travel promotions to the destination. So when's the best time to snag a deal on airfare? While you've likely heard different tactics, Expedia says you can purchase the lowest fares on a Sunday at least 21 days in advance of your travel date.

5. Get Creative With Gifts

Friends of the bride and groom shell out an average of $99 on gifts per wedding, and family members spend $127, according to To save money on a wedding gift, make sure you check out the couple's wedding registry as soon as possible. That way you'll have the best chance at finding gifts that fit your budget. By shopping early, you can also do some comparison shopping for the best deals. Just remember to check off the item on the registry if you've purchased it elsewhere.

If you know the couple well and have a solid idea of their preferences and tastes, consider buying something from the registry that's a little below your budget and tossing in a few smaller, off-registry items they'll like. You can also offer to help with the wedding in lieu of purchasing a gift.

6. Say “No” Respectfully

If you have more wedding invitations than you can afford to attend, send in your RSVP as soon as possible. Include a handwritten note genuinely expressing your regrets and your reason for not attending. If you can swing it, purchase a small gift from their wedding registry.

By keeping these tips in mind and planning ahead, you can practice proper wedding etiquette without derailing your finances.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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