Mini-Vacation Financials: Wedding in Los Angeles

Kyle and I attended the wedding of a college friend in Los Angeles last weekend.  We hadn’t been to LA, Kyle’s childhood home and where we attended college, in 10 months!  10 months!  Earlier in grad school it seemed we were flying out there 2-3 times per year for weddings and holidays.  But the first wave of weddings in our life seems to be over and we were with my family for last Christmas so we haven’t had any reason to be out there since Kyle’s grandfather’s funeral last April.


As I’ve done several times before for our quick trips, I’ll go through what we paid for this trip and what we got out of it!




This one is easy whenever we visit LA – we stay with Kyle’s parents.






We flew out Thursday evening and back Sunday afternoon.  Our flights cost $746, but we only paid $321 out of pocket because we used one of the sign-up bonuses we earned with our Barclaycard World Arrival MasterCards.  We also paid $48 for airport parking over the four days.


Around Town


This is also an easy one.  Kyle’s parents own two cars but only drive one so they let us borrow their second car when we’re in town.  We usually fill up the gas tank, but we weren’t driving the long distances this time that we usually do and we forgot to top up the tank.  So no cost to us here.




Nearly of our food for the weekend was event-related and some was provided by Kyle’s parents in their home.  We didn’t contribute to the grocery bill at all so that was great of them to provide us with a couple random meals and snacks.  They also took us out for a brunch buffet on Sunday.


We had two dinners provided to us at the wedding and the rehearsal dinner.


We paid for meals out to socialize with our family and friends:

  • $27.74 for lunch with friends at Eureka Burger near our college
  • $23 for breakfast with two of Kyle’s cousins at Anapalco’s Cafe
  • $9.30 for Kyle’s In-N-Out fix post-wedding with our friends (Kyle needed his fix!)


Eureka burger






Most of the entertainment for this weekend was just the opportunity to see family and friends and attend the wedding.  It was so, so much fun to celebrate our friend’s new marriage with many of our friends from college.


avocado roll


dance floor pic


We flew out on Thursday night specifically so that we could spend Friday with Kyle’s BFF (thankfully he and his wife were able to take the day off!).  We visited our college campus to explore the newly constructed learning center and just enjoyed being outside, wandering the campuses on a beautiful day.


looking over amphitheater


On Saturday afternoon we also stopped by Kyle’s cousin’s kid’s first T-ball game, so that was a super cute hour spent.




We didn’t have to buy any new attire for this wedding, thank goodness!  So the only cost to us is for the gift (in our usual amount).  The bride and groom requested money so we plan to buy them a card and send a check right (haven’t gotten to it yet – probably this weekend).


group seated at wedding


Total Cost:


For the amount of fun we had this weekend, it was really quite low-cost to us.  I can’t believe we only spent $429.04 out of pocket (excluding the gift)!  I’m super happy we got to use the credit card sign-up bonus to defray a major portion of what we would have spent getting to CA.  And of course we need to credit Kyle’s parents for being so generous to us by allowing us to stay with them and for sharing their things with us.


LA wedding Feb2014


When you visit your parents’ city, do you mooch off them all weekend like we do or pay for your own lodging, transportation, and food?  When you get together with old friends, do you spend money on entertainment or food or just enjoy each other’s company?


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21 Responses to "Mini-Vacation Financials: Wedding in Los Angeles"

  1. moneystepper says:

    Good choice for featured pic. I clicked on this instantly as the saliva was running down my chin!! 🙂

    Looks like you had a great time – an experience most definitely worth the cost!!
    moneystepper recently posted..FTSE 100 NOT at a new high. And, if it was, I really would not care…

    1. Emily says:

      It was my best meal of the weekend. Amaaaaaazing.

  2. Mrs. PoP says:

    Visits to family and friends seem to be so different depending on their situations. With Mr PoP’s folks, we’d happily stay there and mooch, but with mine we’d book a hotel and need a rental car. Some friends we can visit and spend the entire time hanging out in their rec room or backyard, while others want to go out and show off their newly adopted home cities. Mostly we just try to adapt to whatever makes our hosts the most comfortable. =)
    Mrs. PoP recently posted..He Said She Said: Hustling Or Hassling?

    1. Emily says:

      What is the difference between your parents and your husband’s parents? Did your downsize when the kids left?

      I haven’t visited friends in new cities expressly for that purpose (always with other events that brought us there) but I think I would like to explore a new city with old friends!

  3. […] next months, so if you have an idea about a subject that you would like me to cover on your blog (I know a bit about travel, packing light, living abroad, working abroad, learning languages, cooking and saving money!) […]

  4. Sara says:

    We are always treated by my family and always treat his. As for friends, it depends on their lifestyle. We have some very low key friends who enjoy cooking and watching movies together, whereas with others we’re closing down bars. We are at an odd point in our social circle right now because we are the only childless couple so we are really the only two who still fit well in both lifestyles.

    1. Emily says:

      Only childless couple in your friend group?? That must be hard.

  5. When I go home, we crash at my parents house (that’s what abandoned childhood bedrooms are for, right?) They feed us very well, and drive us around if we’re going somewhere together because we just road-tripped 5 hours to get there. Our trips are generally whirlwind weekends, and there are a lot of people to visit.

    When I visit friends who have moved, we generally have a mix of hanging out, and going to a few places. I’m not big on crowds, and I hate using my vacation to run everywhere – I like to relax a bit. So we generally have some good food, and do a few big things. Otherwise, it’s just catch-up time.
    Alicia @ Financial Diffraction recently posted..Payroll Isn’t Rocket Science.

    1. Emily says:

      For these quick weekend trips, I think we have no option but to go go go and pack our schedules to see everyone. But I think it is nice when seeing someone is just hanging out and talking.

  6. That’s a frugal trip! We drive up to LA when we visit and the gas alone is a pretty good chunk of your costs. 😉
    Done by Forty recently posted..The Psychology of a Tax Return

    1. Emily says:

      Too bad you can’t apply the Barclaycard rewards to gas! We use a couple tanks whenever we go to see my parents, too.

  7. Sounds like you had a great time! We stay with the parents too whenever we travel home; that’s a nice chunk of savings and it’s nice to spend time with the family, too. And the awesome home-cooked food is always a bonus. 😀
    Deia @ Nomad Wallet recently posted..How do regular people afford to travel the world?

    1. Emily says:

      After eating out almost every meal, normal food from home is a very welcome opportunity!

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  10. That is a nice, cheap trip! Coincidentally we flew out to a wedding this past weekend in Columbus, OH, but the cost was much more since we were staying in hotels… ugh. When we do travel back to see family, we mooch quite a bit… we always stay with them, and usually eat most of our meals there as well. If we don’t have a car, they always let us borrow one… that is definitely another nice thing about visiting family!!
    Jon @ Our Fine Adventure recently posted..February 2014 Financial Update

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