Personal Finance

This is how much guests actually spend at weddings

Key Points
  • Wedding guests can spend hundreds, if not thousands, to be a part of the big day.
  • Yet witnessing newlyweds swap vows shouldn't derail your own financial priorities.
This is how much it costs to be a wedding guest
This is how much it costs to be a wedding guest

A wedding is an expensive proposition, and not just for the bride and groom.

Between possible travel expenses, hotel stay, special-occasion attire and, of course, the wedding gift itself, guests often shell out hundreds, if not thousands, to attend — not to mention the shower and bachelor or bachelorette parties leading up to the big day, according to a report released Wednesday.

If it's a close friend or family member, guests spend an average of $628 on the wedding and pre-parties, Bankrate said. Those in the wedding party shell out even more: $728 on average, Bankrate found.

Costs for a more distant relation still aren't cheap. Wedding guests outside of the inner circle spend an average of $372, according to the report.

Wedding spending habits also vary by region. In the Northeast, guests cough up over $1,000 to be in a wedding and partake in all of the related events — and they give more generous gifts.

Northeasterners also are more likely to give cash or a check, while those in the South and West are more likely to buy a gift off the registry, Bankrate said.

Nationwide, the average cash gift is about $160, according to a separate report by wedding-registry website Tendr, based on data from the 2016 wedding season. And wedding gift amounts tend to spike during prime summer season, Tendr found.

This couple threw a bitcoin themed wedding
This couple threw a bitcoin themed wedding

For those on the receiving end of a pricey invitation, "weigh it against your other financial priorities," said senior analyst Robert Barba, particularly if you are paying down debt or saving for a house or other large purchase.

Otherwise, start to set money aside as soon as you see the engagement post, opt for less expensive hotel accommodations or travel with reward points, he advised.

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This wedding savings strategy is easier said than done
Couples aren't the only ones overspending on weddings
Wedding debt can hurt a couple's financial future