Attending as a guest is definitely the lowest-pressure way to be part of a wedding. You鈥檙e out of the loop on the planning chaos, you aren鈥檛 shelling out additional money for聽bachelorette weekends聽and聽bridesmaids dresses聽鈥 and you still get to show up, wish your loved ones the very best in their new romantic adventure, and go a little crazy on the dance floor. You get all of the fun without a lot of the stress that the bridal party and close family members experience. It鈥檚 not all Jordan Almonds and the Electric Slide, though. While being a guest is kind of the easy way out, it鈥檚 all relative. As the聽bridal industry grows (thanks, Pinterest!), so does the cost of attending a wedding.

wedding guests

According to a rep from聽NerdWallet, the results of a recent survey by the credit card information hub indicate that the average American spends an average of $128 on a gift alone for the聽wedding of a close friend. It鈥檚 easy to imagine just how easily all of the other expenses can rack up聽鈥 especially for weddings on the larger, fancier end of the spectrum or if you attend multiple weddings a year. We talked to NerdWallet consumer savings expert Courtney Jespersen and etiquette expert聽Jodi Smith聽for advice that will help you conserve spending as a wedding guest without crossing into tacky territory. Check out their specific tips聽below.

1. Set a wedding budget.聽If you鈥檙e not part of the wedding party, you might not think to聽plan how much you鈥檒l be spending聽鈥 but if聽that average above聽has you clutching your wallet to your chest, then a budget is probably a great place to start! Do a little mental math about how the gift,聽travel expenses, and wedding attire will add up, then work those numbers into your regular budget for the month or year. Per Jespersen, this is especially important if you have a destination wedding on your calendar or are planning on attending multiple nuptials in a short period of time.

2. Consider the big picture.聽Jespersen recommends an extra dose of intentionality for those attending weddings at particular times of the year. Weddings that take place during the holiday season or within a few weeks of a big family vacation are going to feel even more financially stressful, but if you start thinking about things in the big picture early on, you鈥檒l save yourself that 鈥渙h no!鈥 moment. Factor these time-related elements into your wedding budget from day one so you won鈥檛 blow all your disposable cash too fast.

3. Start planning travel early.聽The sooner you start exploring transportation and accommodations options, the more likely you are to get a good deal. Per Smith, you should begin researching travel costs as soon as you hang that聽Save-the-Date聽on the refrigerator. Don鈥檛 forget to look closely at the couple鈥檚 wedding website to see if there are any cost-saving options already in place for guests.

4. Don鈥檛 worry about what the hosts are spending.聽Forget any formulas you鈥檝e heard in the past about what you 鈥渙we鈥 the couple as one of their guests. 鈥淣o need to wonder or worry about how much the host is spending per plate,鈥 Smith affirms. 鈥淭he amount you spend on a gift is dependent on聽your聽budget and your relationship with the couple.鈥 Trust us 鈥 the hosts will be too busy celebrating their vows to spend any time calculating whether or not the price tag of your gift is equal to what they paid聽for you to attend their special day.

5. Consider a group gift.聽Take some pressure off of your own bank account by inviting a few friends or family members who are also attending the wedding to share the cost of a pricier present from the couple鈥檚 registry. Sometimes, it鈥檚 better to get one big gift than several small ones!

6. Use credit cards wisely when gifting.聽There鈥檚 a time and place to use plastic, but keep in mind that when you buy wedding gifts on a credit card, you鈥檙e paying for the cost of the gift聽and聽interest. Find out if any of the stores that you typically frequent offer rewards programs or credit cards that will help you with the cost of gifts. Jespersen also suggests shopping for gifts using your credit card鈥檚聽bonus mall, 鈥淎n online portal that offers cardholders discounts and extra rewards points for shopping.鈥 If you shop on聽credit a lot, there very well might be rewards and cash back just waiting to be used. Why not cash in on them to buy your loved ones an amazing wedding gift?

7. Use the registry as a guideline.聽If the price points of the items on the registry are making you nervous, Smith suggests using it as more of a jumping-off point than a shopping list. View the registry to get a sense of the couple鈥檚 tastes, then look elsewhere for a present that will fit your budget聽and聽their aesthetic.

8. Give a gift card.聽There are multiple schools of thought on whether or not a gift card is an appropriate present for a newly married couple, but if you fall on the 鈥減ro鈥 side of that argument, you may want to check out聽gift card exchange sites聽to see if you can buy a certificate for less than face value. No one will have to know that you got a deal! Jespersen notes that a gift card is an especially good, budget-friendly solution for you when there are no affordable gifts left on the registry, since it allows you to choose your own price range.

9. Borrow your attire.聽An upcoming wedding might seem like a great opportunity to treat yourself to a new outfit, but when you consider the fact that formalwear is part of the much longer list of expenses you need to cover as a wedding guest, you might be less likely to shop. Smith suggests scoping out friends鈥 closets for fashion options that might fit or visiting local consignment shops for gently worn alternatives.

How do you save money (gracefully!) as a wedding guest? Tweet us聽@BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)