The average wedding guest will spend $888. Here’s how you can save some dough.
Weddings can bust your budget — even if you’re just a guest.
New data from Gigmasters show that the bride and groom aren’t the only ones emptying their wallets for weddings. Between gifts, attire, accessories, travel, and lodging, wedding guests can expect to spend $888, while bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other wedding attendants shell out an average of $1,154.
But despite what the statistics say, if you’re pressed for cash, attending a wedding doesn’t need to break the bank. “Weddings get a bad reputation that they’re going to be this expensive endeavor,” said Stephanie Cain, real weddings editor of The Knot. But, she advises, “Never spend more than you feel comfortable spending. You can still celebrate with [the happy couple]. You can still honor them … without necessarily spending a lot of money.” Here’s how:
According to the study, wedding guests spend an average of $118 on a gift for the happy couple, while attendants drop up to $177. And 79% of people spend more on their gift if they are close to the couple, 59% if the couple is struggling financially, and 24% if they bring a plus one.
The Fix: Don’t feel guilty about buying one of the cheaper items on the registry. Couples often design their registries knowing that their guests are in a variety of financial situations, Cain tells Moneyish. Or, if you have your eye on something more expensive, pool resources with other attendees for a group gift. If you’re worried about gift etiquette (like 47% of Americans are, according to the study), The Knot recommends a minimum of $50-75 for co-workers and distant friends and relatives, $75-100 for moderate acquaintances, and $100-150 only for your closest friends and family.
Almost all (95%) of wedding guests have attended a pre- or post-wedding bash, such as a bachelor or bachelorette party or bridal shower. the average bachelor party guest faces a price tag of $738, with bachelorette party guests looking at $472.
The Fix: Don’t be afraid to back out: 39% of people have opted out of a wedding event because of the cost, Business Insider reports. But if you’re going to back out, let the host know as early as possible, a Knot editor told ABC News. It gives them more time to change their plans if their party is unaffordable to a lot of guests. Additionally, Cain recommends offering to take the bride and groom out for drinks on a more affordable scale, to show them you care.
More than half (53%) of wedding guests have to drive or fly a significant distance just for bachelor and bachelorette parties, Business Insider reports, and the average guest will spend $321 on travel. And the most popular wedding locations of New York, Los Angeles, and Miami are hardly budget-friendly destinations.
The Fix: If the wedding is driveable, carpools are your friend. If you have to fly, research flights that arrive the day of the wedding as well as those that arrive the night before. While you may be more rushed in getting ready, more flight options means you’re likely to find better prices. Here’s how to find the best time to book a flight for deals.
Hotels are the biggest expense for 38% of wedding guests, with the the average guest spending $322 on wedding accommodations
The Fix: Split a room with a friend or a fellow couple if you’re with a partner. You’ll probably save money, Cain says, even with the cost of a bigger room or suite. And if you don’t mind a bit more travel time, an Airbnb will give you more space at a lower cost.
The average guest spends $81 on attire, and $46 on accessories and shoes. And 77% of wedding attendants report having bought a new outfit for their appearance, according to Vogue.
The Fix: Check with friends to see if they have leftover wedding clothes you can borrow. And if you’re shopping for a one-off event, don’t be afraid to rent: Rent the Runway offers designer pieces of all types, while The Black Tux offers high-quality tuxedo rentals at low prices. If you have a number of weddings to attend, it may be worth purchasing an outfit, according to Dealnews.com. Secondhand stores and auction sites like eBay can provide affordable and only lightly used formal pieces for a fraction of the cost of something new. Just make sure you purchase something versatile that can withstand changes in trend.
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