It's wedding season -- good news for your social calendar, bad news for your wallet. Get ready to cough up $339 per buddy walking down the aisle, says a new survey of 1,500 people from American Express Spending and Saving Tracker.
It's not just the destination weddings that'll suck you dry, either -- gifts, clothing, travel, and the babysitter aren't free anywhere. But seeing a buddy tie the knot doesn't have to leave you in the red. Here are five ways to slash costs.
Wait a Year to Gift
Low on cash? Good news: Your "I'm in med school" excuse will actually work. Per wedding etiquette, you have up to a year to gift the happy couple, says Amy Frugoli, Certified Wedding Consultant of Twitterpated Weddings.
If you need to buy a new jacket/shirt/tie, you don't need to spend hours in a store -- B-line to the back. Most retailers place big sale items in the hardest place to get to: the rear far corners of the store. Click here for a few ideas of what to wear to a summer wedding.
More from Men's Health: What to Wear to a Summer Wedding
Focus on Fabric
Summery linen can be pricey. Cotton pieces, though, are smart and affordable investment dressing, says Tom Julian, style expert and author of Nordstrom Guide to Men's Style. "The jacket and the pants can be worn/used separately after the wedding," he says. To catch her eye, look for a solid, tailored cotton suit -- khaki, cream, gray, or navy are all summer wedding-approved colors. Check out these cotton options from Express for ideas.
Give an Experience
If you've got the money -- but refuse to succumb to $100 plates on the registry -- consider gifting them yearly passes to a museum in their city, or season tickets to a sporting event, says Kellee Khalil, founder of wedding inspiration website, Lover.ly.
Do Your Hotel Research
Ah, the room blocks -- the whole bridal party on one floor of an old Holiday Inn -- sounds perfect at first, until you go broke. "It's a shock, but the room blocks are not always the best way to go," says Frugoli. "You can usually get cheaper rooms at the same hotel by using a travel website." Call beforehand or check out Hotels.com or Travelocity, Frugoli urges.
More from Men's Health: Survive Your Buddy's Wedding
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Receptions would take place near where raw sewage is processed.
We don't think this one can be topped.
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Lesson learned: don't be afraid to shake things up!
While the national average wedding cost may be $29,858, if you live in a larger city, like Manhattan where the average wedding costs $86,916, you may find yourself spending close to triple of that number! Take a look at some of the other most expensive places in America to get married.