Weddings are the most costly events that the average person will attend. It is not just an expense for the bride, groom and their parents. The price tag for guests has gone way up, too.
According to an online survey by American Expresss, nearly 79 million Americans plan to attend a wedding this year, and they plan to spend a whopping $673 on each one — up 13 percent from last year and 21 percent from 2013.
Travel and hotels is what drives up the prices, topping $400 per person. And then there’s dressing up, dining out, buying gifts and other miscellaneous expenses. And in a growing number of cases, the big day has morphed into a series of days — engagement parties, bridal showers and bachelor or bachelorette parties — and gifts.
Have Multiple Outfits
“Having a game plan for wedding season can help you manage your expenses over the whole year,” according to Jed Scala, a senior vice president at American Express. “It’s important to know what you can spend and to prioritize based on the events you want to attend.”
What you will wear is one of the big variables for wedding guests. Multiday affairs require several different outfits, and extra days in a hotel. And if the wedding itself is a formal affair, men may have to rent a tuxedo. You should expect to pay a minimum of $50 for a conventional tux, and $200 for top-notch designer formalwear, according to askmen.com.
If you predict that you will attend more than two formal weddings, it may make sense to buy the tux. That will be $200 to more than $1,000.
For women, costs are often higher. When going shopping for something new, think about buying something that you can wear again. That little black dress can work wonders.
Keep Those Gifts In Check
The old rule of thumb was that the gift should equal the cost of the price-per-plate at the wedding reception. However times are changing and that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. The gift should reflect your own budget and your relationship to the bride and groom: $75 to $100 for a co-worker, $100 to $125 for a relative or friend and upwards of $150 for some you are very close to. It is understood that not everyone has the same budget.
If you need to buy multiple gifts for multiple events, make a game plan. Divide 20 percent on an engagement present, 20 percent for the shower and 60 percent for the wedding gift itself. Pooling all that money will let you make a big impression by getting one of the pricier items on the couple’s wedding registry.