Wedding Costs Soar for the Guests

Wedding guests plan to spend an average of $592 to attend the special event.

Since 2012 the average cost of attending a wedding has skyrocketed by 75 percent. Most of the money goes toward travel and accommodations ($308) with attire and accessories coming in at $164. The average cost per gift has risen 16 percent since 2012, now at $109. But if the happy couple is a close family member the average cost doubles to $200 per gift.

That’s according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. On the bride and groom’s side, the study found that Do-It-Yourself methods of saving money surprisingly waned over the years – down to 65 percent from 70 percent last year. Couples did cut back on spending in other ways such as:

  • Simplified their entire wedding (34 percent)
  • Ditched their wedding planners (28 percent)
  • Pared down the guest list (27 percent)
  • Chose the buffet over a plated dinner (26 percent)
  • Values(ed a less expensive venue (25 percent)

What do guests want for their money?

Although wedding guests are prepared to shell out a small fortune, they want something in return. The guests’ top five components to a great wedding include:

  • Delicious food at 70 percent
  • Music and entertainment at 56 percent
  • The wedding cake at 56 percent
  • Reception venue at 56 percent
  • The wedding dress at 54 percent

David Rabkin, SVP of Consumer Lending Products for American Express commented…

“Weddings can be expensive, whether you’re tying the knot or attending as a guest. While careful spending continues to be the trend for 2014, consumers on both sides of the equation will shell out more, which bodes well for a variety of merchants in the service and retail sectors.”

While Gary Herman, President of Consolidated Credit, agrees that weddings can be expensive, he warns about overspending, which could ruin an otherwise special day…

“I’ve seen couples charge large portions of their weddings and damage their financial future because they could not pay off their credit card debt. Wedding guests and wedding couples have to understand this is just one day. Plan and budget for the wedding, and when it’s time to spend the money you’ll be at peace knowing you can afford it.”

If you need wedding planning advice or help building a budget or guidance on money management strategies don’t hesitate to contact one of Consolidated Credit’s certified credit counselors today.