Part of the wedding party? Here's how to save money

Brides and grooms aren't the only ones scrambling to prepare for the big day. Their wedding parties are also bracing for exorbitant expenses. Learn how you can keep the expenses under control.

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June is one of the most popular months to get married, according to a survey by TodaysBride.com. Yet brides and grooms aren't the only ones scrambling to prepare for the big day. Their wedding parties are also bracing for the onslaught of events, photos and, yes, exorbitant expenses.

Groomsmen and bridesmaids spend over $1,000, individually, to participate in pre-wedding events and necessities for the wedding day, according to a new 2016 GOBankingRates survey. On average, bridesmaids spend an average $386.89 on bachelorette party costs alone. Surprisingly, groomsmen splurge even more, spending an average $445.92 on bachelor party events.

Party costs spike for the best man and maid of honor, who open their wallets to the tune of $998.78 and $552.33, respectively. Add expenses like day-of outfits and gifts, and blowing a tight budget becomes that much more likely.

But if you have limited funds, contributing to the bride and groom's wedding bliss can still be possible with these five tips.

1. Borrow Accessories and Clothing From Friends

Although the bridesmaids don't always get a say in what they wear to the wedding, their attire for special events, like the bridal shower and bachelorette party is more flexible. If the maid of honor requested for everyone wear a black dress to the bachelorette so the bride can shine in white, for example, you can save money by borrowing a black cocktail dress from a friend outside the wedding circuit instead of buying a new outfit.

The same goes for accessories, like jewelry, shoes or a clutch. Groomsmen can also save money by borrowing rarely used accessories, like cuff links from a close friend or family member.

2. DIY Hair, Makeup and Nails

As a bridesmaid on a budget, talk to the bride to see how she feels about you styling your own hair and doing your own makeup to cut costs. If she's open to it, curbing these services can save you an average of $89, according to wedding marketplace website Weddington Way.

You can even lead the charge for other bridesmaids looking to save money by bringing everyone together a few days before the event for a DIY spa day, manicures included.

3. Give the Gift of Your Time

GOBankingRates' survey found that 19.7% of bridesmaids and 31% of groomsmen surveyed spent $200 or more on a wedding gift. Instead of buying a gift for life after the wedding, contribute your talent and time to the wedding planning or day-of process.

A few budget-friendly gift ideas for the happy couple include:

  • Crafting the save-the-date cards, wedding invitations or thank you cards
  • Volunteering to assemble the couple's DIY wedding favors
  • Offering to be the day-of designated driver, so the couple doesn’t have to spend money booking a ride service
  • Providing entertainment for wedding guests, if you're particularly talented (make sure the newlyweds-to-be agree to this in advance)
  • Acting as videographer for the day—and if you're technically inclined, editing the footage into a montage
  • There are a number of ways to lend a hand, without digging into your wallet for a material gift.

4. Know When to Book Travel Plans

Like any planned trip, timing is essential to getting the best travel deals. Once you know where the bachelor or wedding destinations are, start comparing rates for airfare to find the lowest plane tickets. Procrastination is a surefire way to pay a premium price for economy-class seating, and planning too far in advance will cause you to miss out on lowered rates.

To secure the best discounts, travelers should book domestic flights closer to 57 days before departure, and plan 171 days ahead of departure for off-and-away destination weddings, said travel expert Kwin Mosby of TravelChannel.com.

5. Don't Be Shy about Asking for Help

Wedding party costs skyrocket if you play a bigger role in the festivities. On average, the best man spends as much as $999 on the bachelor party alone, nearly double what the maid of honor typically spends for the same event type, GOBankingRates reported.

When all eyes turn to you for planning events, don't feel pressured to shoulder all the expenses. Reach out to your fellow groomsmen and bridesmaids for ideas that are not only fun, but also at a price point everyone is comfortable splitting equal ways.

At the end of the day, the wedding party is ultimately there to support—and celebrate—the bride and groom.

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This article was written by Jennifer Calonia from Forbes and was licensed as an article reprint from May 28, 2016. Article copyright 2016 by Forbes.
The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Fidelity Investments cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any statements or data.
This reprint is supplied by Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC.
The third-party provider of the reprint permission and Fidelity Investments are independent entities and not legally affiliated.
The images, graphs, tools, and videos are for illustrative purposes only.
Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917.
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