Wedding Finance

All the expenses you face as a guest and how to spend less

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After a particularly quiet 2020, the wedding season is officially in full swing. If you’re on the guest list for at least one wedding, while honored and excited to be included, you’re probably not trying to spend a fortune on someone else’s nuptials.

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This may be easier said than done, as the average cost of being invited to a wedding in 2019 was $ 430, according to The Knot. However, this number varied widely depending on factors such as location and closeness, type of marriage, and relationship with the couple.

If you’re on the guest list for multiple weddings this season, you might consider turning down at least one invitation to cut costs.

“You don’t need to say ‘yes’ to every invitation, and you don’t need to explain [when you can’t make it]”said Bobbi Rebell, certified financial planner and personal finance expert at the Tally debt repayment app.” That said, don’t miss a celebration you will regret.

Here’s a look at three common categories wedding guests spend money in, along with tips for cutting costs in each.

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Travel and accommodation

The location of the wedding largely dictates how much you will spend to attend. The average guest spent a total of $ 185 on a wedding in their hometown – that is, with no travel or accommodation required – $ 600 for a wedding that required them to drive out of town and $ 1,440 to catch a plane to a wedding, according to The Knot.

If you need to travel and pay for accommodation, Rebell suggested finding other clients to share hotel rooms or Airbnbs with.

“Chances are, if you say you’re willing to share the costs, others in the same situation will escalate quickly,” she said.

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If private accommodation is more your style, Anna Coats, founder and editor of online wedding publication Marry Me Tampa Bay, suggested not staying at the official wedding hotel – the couple probably put a block on. pending rooms at a special rate, which is usually included with the invitation.

“Typically, the wedding takes place at a higher-quality, full-service hotel, but if you stay somewhere less upscale nearby, you can usually save on the price of the night,” she said. “Just factor in the travel costs, because those $ 20 Uber rides can add up. “

If a distant family member or friend is getting married out of town and you don’t want to spend the money to attend, Coats suggested asking if they are streaming the wedding online.

“That way you can still be there for the most important part, but without having to bear all the costs,” she said. “Of course, you should always send a gift. “


In 2019, the average wedding guest spent $ 120 on a gift – included in the overall cost of attendance listed above – according to The Knot. This number varied according to the relations of the guests with the newlyweds.

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For example, the couple’s close guests spent around $ 130 on a wedding gift, while wedding party members spent around $ 115, and casual friends spent around $ 80.

However, if you don’t have the money to spend that much, Coats recommended that you give a sentimental gift.

“If they’re greedy, consider inviting the newlyweds over for a homemade Italian meal with a DIY gift basket filled with wine, cheese and cured meats or maybe sign up for a short time at the club. beer of the month. ” she said. “They’ll appreciate the thoughtful gift, even if it didn’t cost as much as the china set they signed up for.”

Alternatively, Rebell suggested teaming up with other guests to purchase a group gift.

“Group gifts can be very profitable because you can give the couple something they probably can’t afford on their own,” she said. “The key is to make sure you’re the one in charge and that you make sure you collect money from everyone who contributes before you make the purchase.”

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If even that’s too much money at the moment, she said to consider chatting with the couple.

“Let them know that you are at your end of the line, but that you will find a way to be where your gift might need to be your presence,” she said. “No one wants someone they love to miss their wedding because of the costs.”

Ceremonial dress

A wedding is an occasion to dress to impress, so guests who buy a new outfit for the occasion spend an average of $ 155, according to The Knot. It varies depending on the relationship with the couple, as close friends spend around $ 165 while casual friends spend around $ 95.

If you don’t want to incur that expense, just wear something you already have in your closet, Rebell said. She also suggested swapping dresses with friends, buying something from before, or renting an outfit for the occasion as economical ways to wear something new for yourself.

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Attending someone else’s wedding should never put you in debt, so budget for this wedding season and let it guide your spending. This will allow you to enjoy the festivities even more because you will not be stressed about going into debt.

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Last updated: July 6, 2021

This article originally appeared on Wedding Season: All the Expenses You Face as a Guest and How to Spend Less

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