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Tips to be the perfect wedding guest without going broke

If the gift registry is above your pay

If the gift registry is above your pay grade, recognize it's a suggestion, not a requirement. Photo Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Angel_a

Wedding season is nearly here. It can get expensive, and not just for the hosts. According to a Bankrate.com survey of 1,000 people, folks in the Northeast go big, spending more than twice as much as the rest of the country on wedding gifts, shelling out at least $200 for a close friend or family member. Similarly, for gifts given to colleagues, acquaintances and distant relatives, 46 percent in the Northeast spend at least $100, compared to 24 percent of the rest of the country.

Remember it’s not the size of the gift but the giver’s heart. With creativity, you can be the perfect wedding guest and mind your money.

Shop smart: Snap up moderately priced registry gifts early. “If you want to get an expensive gift, go in on it as part of a group,” says Ivy Jacobson, planning editor of The Knot in Manhattan. If the registry is above your pay grade, recognize it’s a suggestion, not a requirement. “Go off book and buy something you can afford that the couple will like,” says Manhattan relationship expert April Masini.

Make that destination wedding more affordable: “Booking accommodations through Airbnb or VRBO can save money compared to hotels. Consider traveling with a group and sharing costs like car rentals,” says Leah Weinberg, owner of Color Pop Events in Manhattan.

Cut clothing costs: Compromise. Says Melville financial attorney Leslie Tayne, “If you have a few weddings, buy one dress and accessorize it differently with jewelry, belts, shoes. There are a ton of great options for renting wedding-perfect attire, too, from Rent the Runway and Vow to be Chic for ladies, to The BLK Tux and Xedo for men.”

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