The Cost To Wedding Guests

Statistics show that the cost to wedding guests (meaning those invited to attend a wedding) is soaring. So we thought we’d take a look to see what’s going on.  The proof is below.

Many of us just don’t have the budget for all the clothes and gifts that come along with being a part of the nuptials so we asked our resident budget expert for some tips and money saving ideas for wedding guests.

The Cost of Attending a Wedding as a Guest [infographic]

We, like many, always considered the wedding expenses of the bride and groom (and their families) but never thought about the financial aspects of being a guest.

An infographic describing all the costs associated with being a wedding guest

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The Cost of Attending a Wedding by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Wedding Cost Per Guest

Turns out it costs your wedding guests between $490 and $539 to attend your wedding. That’s just on items like hotel, dining, getting dressed up, jewelry, travel, pet and child care. Then there are all the pre-parties they attend (bachelor/bachelorette, showers, engagement parties etc…) and other small incidentals.

Then add the cost of the wedding gift to the tab.  Your wedding guests will end up forking over up to $565 if they’re a friend and $686 if they’re family, because family members usually buy more expensive gifts.

We’re totally guilty of never considering the financial burden that is put on our wedding guests. But their expenses are significant, both prior-to the wedding and on the big day itself.

Average American Attends Two Weddings Per Year

We always focus on how much a wedding is going to cost us. How much the flowers are going to be, how much the venue will charge. How much it will cost to feed our guests (per plate/head) and never once think about what it means for our guests financially to be invited to our weddings and share in our joy.

With the average American attending two weddings per year, it’s no joke!

Average Cost To Attend A Wedding In The UK

As for our friends across the pond… An article published in The Telegraph claims that the average guest in England spent an all-time high of £380 (US $515) and that was back in 2009 to attend a wedding and an average £78.67 on gifts.1  Since that time, a new survey was conducted and they report that the cost to wedding guests has now soared to £547 (US $740).2

Although this latest figure is high, it completely supports the notion that weddings have become increasingly more expensive for all those involved. Unless things change and expectations are realigned, it will be completely unaffordable for most of us to attend a wedding by 2020.

Tips for Saving Money As A Wedding Guest

What To Wear? How Much to Spend?

If there are multiple festivities (showers, bachelorettes, a rehearsal dinner, etc.) to attend prior to the wedding and you don’t have anything suitable (or enough outfits) in your wardrobe, go for classic separates (they don’t have to be expensive). Go for items you can mix and match with existing pieces in your wardrobe and dress up/down.

That way you won’t just be buying pieces for an occasion that will sit in your closet, but instead pieces that become part of your everyday wardrobe, can be worn throughout the year, and be a part of your overall clothing budget.

Need some inspiration? Think Sharon Stone at the Oscars in a Gap turtleneck or white men’s shirt. (Just Google it if you aren’t sure what we mean)

Another option is to do just the opposite—especially for the wedding itself. If you already own some classic pieces, pair them up with an eye-dazzling sequin vintage find— you can save a lot of money by going vintage and you’ll end up with a unique and show-stopping outfit.

Accessorize and Bedazzle!

Accessories are a great way to change up a new or existing piece. Depending on what you already own, put some (or even all) of your budget towards jewelry, belts, and shoes—they can completely change the look of an outfit and bring new life to older pieces, for little money.

Rent It! Yes, Rent A Wardrobe

If a friend or colleague travels in circles that are well, umm, let’s say out of your league financially, and you want to be the belle of the ball, or engagement party, or wedding then rent a wardrobe. Guys have been doing it for years with Tuxedos and now many women are jumping on board.

For those in the US, websites like Rent The Runway offer serious designer wear that you can rent for any occasion and pop it back in the mail when you’re done. They even have stylists to help you out, and it’s ideal if you’re a member of the wedding party but have to find (and pay) for your own dress. Rent the dress, accessories, handbags, you name it! It’s a great way to look like a million bucks on a beer budget!

Gift Giving On A Budget

The most important tip on saving money on gifts is that you need to set an overall gift budget and stick to it. Then, take that budget and allocate an appropriate percentage for each gift necessary (shower, engagement, wedding etc.)

We often get in trouble when we don’t think of how much they all cost when combined and view them as separate entities.

Depending on the number of gifts required, look at spending between 60% and 75% of the budget on the wedding gift itself.

Top Tips for Saving Money on Gifts

Think ahead. Look for sales and keep a gift closet (especially if you are at that age where it seems like a friend is getting married every other week) that way you will always have something on hand when that next shower or wedding invitation arrives in the mail.

Groupon, Living Social and other organizations can offer some really great deals with huge discounts. Sign up and set your preferences for deals in categories appropriate to the couple. If they live in another town, make sure to sign up for local deals in their city too as opposed to just yours. You’ll receive daily suggestions in your inbox for great gift ideas at often hugely discounted prices.

If the couple has registered somewhere but the items they chose are out of your budget, pool your resources with some friends and jointly go in on a gift. This way, you know you’re getting them something they want and not breaking your budget.

Another great tip for registries is to put your name down on something you know you can get cheaper elsewhere. That way you block other people from buying that gift and you save money. Think about it, it doesn’t matter where the gift comes from and you’ll know it’s something they want.

WWe never, ever, thought of a wedding from the financial perspective of the guests and have a new appreciation for wedding guests and what it means (and costs) for them to attend.

We hope you do too!