When you hear wedding bells, do you feel your wallet start to shudder? We’re not talking about your own wedding bells, either: Simply attending the wedding of a family member, friend or work colleague as a wedding guest can cost you big bucks, too.
How much does it actually cost to take part in a wedding? A recent study by The Knot — a site dedicated to weddings — revealed just how pricy it can be to attend a wedding.
You’ll Spend About …
According to the study, a wedding guest spends $888 on average per wedding. Again, this figure represents wedding guests, full stop: Members of the bridal party will likely shell out a cool $1,000 to buy the wardrobe on top of the normal expenses.
So, What Are the Expenses?
You might be thinking about the last wedding you attended and wondering how the costs could have possibly added up to a figure that high. You’ll have to rack your brain to really calculate everything — the price tag includes more than just the wedding gift you bought.
Wardrobe: Approximately $81
You can’t just wear anything to a wedding, and some weddings require a specific level of fanciness depending on the setting. That’s why it’s likely you’ve spent quite a bit of cash buying a brand new outfit to wear to the wedding(s) you’ve attended. The study found that the average cost of purchasing a new outfit appropriate for nuptials cost $81 on average.
Before you start gasp at that bottom line, consider how much the wedding party will spend on their attire: The Knot found groomsmen and bridesmaids spent around $200 apiece to get the required suit or gown for the ceremony.
Travel: Approximately $321
Some wedding guests are lucky enough to attend weddings locally or within driving distance, but most aren’t so lucky. If you have to hop on a plane, grab a train or fill your car with gas, it’ll cost you — and, sometimes, it’ll cost you big bucks.
You can save money on travel, though, by carpooling with other guests attending the same wedding. You can use budget travel sites to track flight prices and buy yours when it’s at its cheapest. You can also consider budget-friendlier alternatives to flying, including buses and trains, depending on the distance you have to cover.
Accommodation: Approximately $322
Once you arrive at the wedding destination, you likely don’t have a free place to stay. Instead, you’ll have to shell out for a bed in a hotel for at least one night, though some wedding festivities require you to stay in town for a few days, spiking the bill even higher. Oftentimes, the bride- and groom-to-be will choose a hotel where everyone can stay for a discount, but it still incurs a cost for you that adds to your bottom line.
The same budget flight sites mentioned above will often provide you with budget hotel options, too. Much like carpooling, you can share your hotel room with other guests to slash prices. Just remember that if you stay in budget lodgings far from the wedding festivities, you’ll have to pay extra costs for transportation — the bride-and-groom-selected hotel is typically the most convenient and may even come with free transit to and from the ceremony.
Wedding Gift: Approximately $118
Finally, The Knot found that wedding guests spend more than $100 per gift, per wedding. That number can go up or down, too, depending on how well you know the couple and how much you’re able to splash out for a gift.
Your first place to search for potential gifts will likely be the couple’s registry, which shows exactly what they want. You can try coming up with a more budget-friendly, heartfelt gift on your own. Another option is to get a group of friends or family members to chip in for one extra-large gift so you don’t spend as much but still give the couple just what they want on their big day.
Remember Why You’re There
The amount of money you spend on a wedding may be tough to swallow, but you have to remember why you’re there and who you’re celebrating. Sure, it’s pricy, but it’s worth it to see people you love proclaim their love for one another. At some point down the line, they will return the favor by attending your nuptials — and, chances are, they’ll have no problem splashing out after you’ve been such a good friend to them on their big day.