How Much Does Attending A Wedding Cost? The Average Guest Spends Over $1,000 In 2017
Weddings are expensive. In 2016, The Knot polled 13,000 brides and grooms and found the national average cost for a wedding was $35,329. Wow. But weddings aren't pricy AF for just the bride and groom, but for the guests, too. And, if you're invited to a destination wedding, which I had (sorry, friends and family, but Mom insisted!), you're going to be dropping mad cash. So much cash, that it might even make you second-guess whether or not you want to attend. Honestly, no one can blame you or hold it against you, if you don't!
According to the results of a recent wedding-related survey by LendEDU, an online marketplace for student loans and student loan refinancing, which polled 1,000 Americans, 18 years of age and older, about how much they spent on weddings in 2017 just as guests, the average wedding attendee spent — I hope you're sitting down — $1,386.22 per wedding. Yes, per wedding; not total for all the weddings they attended this year so far, but for each wedding. This is an extraordinary amount (up from $673 in 2015, by the way) that, if you happen to find yourself in that age bracket where you're friends are getting married in droves, can totally break the bank. It can also, in some cases, break a friendship (which happened to me this past summer).
So how do wedding guests accrue such a huge amount? Well, let's break it down.
1. Travel Is The Biggest Expensive
For the 1,000 Americans polled, travel, at an average of $529.38, is the most expensive part of being a wedding guest. In fact, the only way you can avoid spending money on travel is if you live pretty much right next door to the wedding venue. I spent $12 on travel for the last wedding I attended. The wedding before that, the one I had to decline attending, would have set me back close to $800 in travel expenses. The hotel rooms the bride had blocked off alone were $250 a night, and when you travel for a wedding, you need to figure you'll be there for the rehearsal dinner and wedding night — so two nights at the very least.
2. Wedding Gifts Aren't What They Used To Be
When my sister got married 12 years ago, the individual gifts for which she registered didn't cost more than 100 bucks an item. But things have changed a lot since then, because according to the survey, wedding attendees spend an average of $329.55 on a gift for the bride and groom.
3. Wedding Gift-Giving Etiquette Isn't What It Used To Be Either
It used to be that if someone got married, you gave them a gift. End of story. But there are times when you actually don't have to give a wedding gift, and one of those times is if you're going to a destination wedding. It's understood, in these situations, that the guest attending is the gift.
The survey found that when it came to gift-giving, three percent of guests opted out of it. I mean, you showed up, so what else do they want? Also 33 percent said they chose something from the registry, while 32 percent said they gave a financial gift, with nine percent intending that money to go toward their honeymoon fund.
4. Attire Is Also Burning Holes In The Pockets Of Wedding Guests
In 2017, the average guest spent $223.67 on wedding attire. However, before you scream into the void that no friend is worth spending that much on a dress that you might only wear once when you have college loans and credit card bills and rent to pay, that figure does include things like tailoring and dry-cleaning. Neither of which, are very cheap.
5. Miscellaneous Wedding Expenses Are Even More Than Attire
Just in case you haven't officially lost your mind already, I'm going to put one more nail in the coffin for you. According to the survey, respondents spent an average of $303.62 on "miscellaneous expenses." Although what these miscellaneous expenses might be, the poll's results didn't say. But I'm guessing if you find yourself at a wedding that doesn't have an open bar, you could easily drop that much on drinks over the course of a few hours to numb the pain of all the other money you spent — not that spending more cash makes sense but, hey, we all deal with stress in different ways.
You may be thinking that wedding season is over, so it's all good now, but I have one word for you: wrong. The most popular months for people to get married are June, August, September, and October — with winter weddings actually becoming a thing, too. So before you breathe that sigh of relief, hold off. You might go to your mailbox later today and find some wedding invitations that will make you realize your 2017 spending is far from over.