Between travel, accommodations, gifts, a new dress or a tux rental, and that extra bottle of champagne for the shower — going to a wedding these days quickly gets expensive. In total, the average cost of being a wedding guest can range from almost $400 to over $1,000, according to a 2018 survey of 2,228 adults by Bankrate.com.
Members of the wedding party should expect to spend an average of $728 on a wedding, while in the northeast attendants should expect to pay even more: $1,070. Distant friends are more likely to keep costs low and spend $371 on average, according to the survey. For close family members or friends, the average is $627.
Given the high cost — $1,070 is enough to cover a month's rent in a one-bedroom apartment in Richmond, Va. — Bankrate.com analyst Robert Barba suggests you check in on your finances before agreeing to attend.
"The associated costs add up fast and can wreak havoc on your budget if you're not prepared," Barba said in a statement. "You shouldn't go into debt to celebrate others. If you feel you can't afford the financial burden of attending, think twice before RSVPing."
Indeed, most Americans can't cover a $1,000 emergency expense with savings, and a 2017 survey by GoBankingRates found 46 percent of survey respondents aged 18 to 24 had no savings in the bank at all. Relying on credit cards can be dangerous: The average American now holds a credit card balance of $6,375.
Don't let wedding season set you back. Here are four tips to approach invitations with a budget in mind.