We don't think we need to tell you that attending a wedding can quickly become an expensive endeavor. Chances are, you've been there. As joyous as it may have been to watch your college roommate say her vows, did she have to do it in a tiny inn across the country that required two flights, a rental car, and hundreds of dollars to get to?
But just how expensive is it to attend a wedding? When you add up the costs of the outfit, traveling, the hotel, the gifts, and other miscellaneous expenses, the average a guest spends per wedding is $888, according to The Knot 2016 Wedding Guest Study, which surveyed over 1,000 people.
To be an attendant is predictably even more pricey, with the average bridesmaid or groomsman spending $1,154 per wedding.
Gifts: Guests spend $118 on a wedding gift on average, according to the study; attendants spend $177. But The Knot advises (and we agree) that you can definitely curb your gift spending by sticking to the couple's registry and buying early. Since about 46% of registry items are in that sweet under-$50 range, make sure to look up their website early — before only the expensive stuff is left. Also, consider group gifting; sites like Zola make it easy to go in on a gift with other guests without doing any planning.
Travel & Hotels: The Knot reports that 25% of couples get married in a state other than where they currently live. So it makes sense that 37% of guests require travel and accommodations. On average, guests spend $321 on travel and $322 on accommodations. Of attendants, 68% require travel and hotels (and this is not including those destination bachelor and bachelorette parties — that is a whole other story), spending an average of $342 on travel and $293 on hotels. You can cut down travel costs by taking advantage of miles and rewards, and setting up a flight alert on a site like AirFareWatchdog or SkyScanner to track prices, as CNN Money suggests. As far as hotels go, remember that the wedding block is not necessarily the cheapest option. Use an app like Hotel Tonight to find cheap rates at nice hotels last-minute.
Getting Dressed: This floored us. According to The Knot, 48% of wedding guests buy new outfits for the festivities, which costs an average of $81. This seems easy to avoid when you can rent a designer dress on a site like Rent the Runway or Vow to be Chic for a fraction of the retail price. Bridesmaids and groomsmen have less leeway when it comes to their outfits; 77% buy new attire, spending an average of $207. Still, there are retailers like thredUP's The Mismatched 'Maid that help keep costs down. Also, bridesmaids: Dresses like this sparkly Badgley Mischka beauty retail for hundreds, but you can borrow many of them for under $50 on Rent the Runway. Together, we can bring that obscenely high average down next wedding season.