The Real Cost of Attending a Wedding

Published by: Jean Dousset Published on: November 22, 2020
The Real Cost of Attending a Wedding

It’s exciting to receive a wedding invitation in the mail, but the cost of attending a wedding quickly adds up. The average guest spends $220 on everything from gifts to attire, and that’s all without having to leave town. For those guests traveling to another city or state, the average spend jumps to a staggering $825. It’s no wonder that half of Americans say the thought of attending a wedding has caused them financial stress.

It made us wonder, how do guests handle the financial pressures that come with attending a friend’s dream wedding? And how much is too much to bear? We surveyed 2,035 people to find out.


Committing to a wedding out of town, out of state, or even out of the country can add an entirely new layer of financial burden. When guests factor in expensive travel costs and accommodation, the average attendee spends 300% more than they would if they attended local nuptials. In fact, an out of town wedding costs guests much more than the $479 they feel is “acceptable” to have to spend. It comes as no surprise then, that almost half of guests say they spend less on a couple’s wedding present when they’re coming from out of town.


Being asked to be a member of a wedding party may feel like an honor, but it often comes with major financial commitments.

Bridesmaids and groomsmen are often expected to attend, and buy gifts, for events leading up to the big day. Bridal showers and bachelor parties can quickly add up when people factor in the additional gifts, wardrobes, and travel expenses required to participate. While it costs $80 more on average for women than men, the majority of respondents -- 60 percent -- said they’ve felt financial pressure when asked to be in the wedding party. The biggest causes of that stress? Spending money on clothing (27%), multiple events or outings (19%), and travel (16%).




From February 10 to February 11, 2020, we surveyed 2,035 people to learn about their experience attending weddings. Survey respondents were an average of 36 years old; 60% were female, 40% were male. Of respondents, 49% were married, 37% were single, and 14% identified as engaged or divorced.

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Tags: Lifestyle