This Is How Much Money Millennial Women Save To Attend Weddings

It's widely known that getting married can be expensive: For the typical wedding, there are venues to secure, DJs to pay, invitations to send out, and maybe a signature cocktail cleverly named after the newlyweds (or their wedding hashtag). In 2017, The Knot found that the average cost of a wedding in America was a staggering $33,391. But what's also staggering — and talked about a lot less — is the steep cost of simply showing up as a guest.
Attending a wedding can involve a lot of spending: There's the gift, the hotel stay, and the Ubers to and from. And, for those in the wedding, it's a whole other beast: the bachelorette party, the bridal shower, the bridesmaid dress, the hair, the makeup...the list goes on.
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According to a Credit Karma study, almost 20% of millennials say they've spent more than $1,000 on attending someone else’s wedding. Nearly 30% admitted to feeling FOMO over missing one. And for some, it's a FOMO powerful enough to make them plop down their credit cards and spend money they don't have. The moral of this story is: Maybe we all need to start saving for our friend's upcoming weddings. (My friend group hasn't started getting married yet, but when we do, god help us all.)
So how much should you be saving for wedding season? Ahead, 10 millennial women get real on how much they save and spend to attend their friend's weddings.
1 of 10
Name: Caroline
Age: 29
Location: Boston, MA
Job: Environmental HR Generalist
Salary: $70,000

How many weddings are you going to this season?

"We're attending seven weddings this season. I'm in one of the wedding parties and my boyfriend is in three of them. The added cost of staying two nights instead of one in order to attend the rehearsal dinner and the wedding has added up quick. For the weddings that my boyfriend is in, the venues are high-end resorts in Maine, New Hampshire, and Cape Cod, that require the wedding party to stay overnight on the premises. We expect to spend a minimum of $2,000-$2,500 on lodging and gifts alone. The biggest cost for my boyfriend has been the bachelor parties he's required to attend as a member of the wedding parties. We agreed that this was a cost he would take care of on his own, and he has paid for a majority of it out of his own savings. We had hoped to get engaged ourselves this year, but it has proven impossible to save for a ring on top of all of the expenses that have come with attending other people's weddings."

What part(s) of wedding attendance are you saving up for?

"I'm specifically saving for bridal showers, wedding gifts, travel, and lodging."

How much are you trying to save, and what steps are you taking in order to do so?

"The goal is to save at least $2,000. My boyfriend and I set up an account that we each transfer a minimum of $100 into each month. We started saving for the 2018 wedding season in November of last year."

Have you racked up any credit card debt as a result of attending weddings? If so, how much?

"Last year we attended five weddings and had to travel to Canada and California for two of them. We spent $1,500 altogether for the season, paid on our cards, which we took three months following the weddings to pay off. This year we really want to pay for weddings out of our savings as opposed to just putting everything on a card like we did last season."
2 of 10
Name: Mila
Age: 29
Location: Toronto
Job: Financial Service Administrator
Salary: $45,000

How many weddings are you going to this season?

"I’ve been to two already this year. One was a destination wedding where I was a bridesmaid, so that one cost me about $2,000. The other one was local. I spent about $250 on the bachelorette party, $100 on the gift, and another $200 on miscellaneous stuff like accessories and Ubers. If I have another wedding to go to this year, I'll just be a plus one, so it'll just cost me about $100 for my gift contribution."

What part(s) of wedding attendance are you saving up for?

"I'm saving my vacation days! And the travel aspect of weddings, like hotels, excursions, and sight-seeing, has been the biggest budget-eater. All my friends live far from me, and most of the weddings I'm going to will require me to fly, so I just take my travel budget for the year and use that."

How much are you trying to save, and what steps are you taking in order to do so?

"I put away $500 per month into my travel fund, which I will use for destination weddings. If it’s a local wedding, then it comes out of my fun fund ($700/month), and then I might dip into my short-term savings if it gets to be too much."

Have you racked up any credit card debt as a result of attending weddings? If so, how much?

"No, and no one is worth me going into debt for! If we're good friends and my presence means something to them, they would give me plenty of heads up. If not, then I don’t feel bad missing it."
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3 of 10
Name: Agnes
Age: 34
Location: NYC
Industry: Fashion/Consumer Goods
Salary: $78,000

How many weddings are you going to this season?

"I have 13 weddings this year and I'm the maid of honor for three of them. I'm not attending them all, though – only seven. But three of the seven are destination weddings."

What part(s) of wedding attendance are you saving up for?

"All of it. I'm willing to spend the most on gifts, given these are all special, close, dear friends of mine."

How much are you trying to save, and what steps are you taking in order to do so?

"I'm allotting $1,200 for the weddings I am maid of honor in – trying to include hotels, dresses, gifts, and miscellaneous costs, as well as bridal showers and bachelorette parties. (None of these three are destination weddings – thank goodness.) For the destination weddings, I'm allotting $750 for hotels, flights, and gifts. I'm going to wear dresses I currently own – no need to buy new, and I'm not attending the extra activities for these weddings. For the last wedding, which is local, I'm allotting the most money towards the gift."

Have you racked up any credit card debt as a result of attending weddings? If so, how much?

"No. I am a firm believer in not using what I don't have, which is how I came to attend the seven out of 13 and how I made my budget. I also saved way in advance and started a savings fund for weddings when my friends began to have more serious relationships in our late 20s."
4 of 10
Name: Abby
Age: 25
Location: Kansas City, MO
Job: Intern Architect
Salary: $47,250

How many weddings are you going to this season?

"I'm invited to seven, and one has already occurred, so I have six left, with two destination bachelorette parties on the horizon. I've already spent $1,100 on an Airbnb I paid for up front that I'm still waiting on a few people to pay me back for, a flight, a deposit on another bachelorette which will cover my lodging and activities, a bridesmaid dress, gifts, and travel. I anticipate spending another $1,400 between the remaining dress, bachelorette parties, bridal showers, travel, and gifts. Overall, I anticipate $2,500 worth of wedding-related expenses this summer."

What part(s) of wedding attendance are you saving up for?

"The pre-wedding events (bachelorettes and bridal showers). I'm maid of honor for both my best friend and my sister (whose weddings are one week apart), and am fronting a lot of the costs for things until everyone else pays me back at the events. I am also mentally preparing for hotel costs, gas, and gifts. I don't have a set savings goal. However, most of my tax return went into buying plane tickets, securing Airbnbs, and buying dresses.

"I use the Tip Yourself app and throw in $2 every time I go to yoga (five to six times per week), $10 or $20 every Pay Day, plus any other time I'm feeling like I won't miss a few dollars. I've been able to save over $400 using just that route over the past six months, so I'm hoping I won't have to touch it until after the wedding, and that will be my reward for surviving it all. If not, I know I have a little safety net of funds to dip into, should I need a little help."

How much are you trying to save, and what steps are you taking in order to do so?

"To save on lodging, I'm staying with my sister for her wedding and for the other wedding, I'm splitting hotel and transportation costs with a friend."

Have you racked up any credit card debt as a result of attending weddings? If so, how much?

"No, but things are definitely tighter than I'd appreciate them being."
5 of 10
Name: Alexa
Age: 29
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Job: Executive Assistant
Salary: $60,000

How many weddings are you going to this season?

"I was invited to eight this year, and I'm attending six – two on the same freaking day! I'll spend around $2,700 this wedding season. I feel like Katherine Heigl's character in 27 Dresses!"

What part(s) of wedding attendance are you saving up for?

"Everything! Mostly plane tickets and hotels. Half of my weddings are out of town and the others are having lavish out-of-town bachelorette parties."

How much are you trying to save, and what steps are you taking in order to do so?

"I save $100 per paycheck. I'm also eating out less and saying no to attending bachelorette parties unless I'm in the wedding."

Have you racked up any credit card debt as a result of attending weddings? If so, how much?

"Yes. $800 this year alone already."
6 of 10
Name: Alyssa
Age: 26
Location: Austin, TX
Job: Attorney
Salary: $60,000

How many weddings are you going to this season?

"Four. Probably going to spend about $3,000 total."

What part(s) of wedding attendance are you saving up for?

"I'm in two weddings this summer, and both of them are out-of-state. This means that I'll be paying for flights to bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and the weddings themselves, as well as the costs associated with each event (alcohol, hotels, etc.). I also have to purchase two bridesmaid dresses. Honestly, it is all really expensive, and seeing how much members of the wedding party are expected to pay has led me to the conclusion that, if I ever get married, I am going to do everything possible not to ask these things of my friends and family. In addition to the weddings I'm in, I am attending two others as a guest, which also are out-of-state. I already have the flights, and plan to re-wear old dresses."

How much are you trying to save, and what steps are you taking in order to do so?

"I've been saving about $300-$400 a month since January to put towards wedding costs, in addition to the $400-$500 I deposit in my savings account every month. This has meant cutting back on things like entertainment and shopping, as well as making minimum payments on my car and student loans rather than the larger amounts I'd like to pay each month."

Have you racked up any credit card debt as a result of attending weddings? If so, how much?

"Nope! Fortunately, I've been able to budget everything really well."
7 of 10
Name: Maddie
Age: 23
Location: Connecticut
Job: Fashion/Ecommerce and Creative Content Manager
Income: $15/hour

How many weddings are you going to this season?

"One so far. I'm expecting to spend $700-$1,000. It sucks, but I'll do it."

What part(s) of wedding attendance are you saving up for?

"Pretty much all of it. I'm a maid of honor in my best friend's wedding, and it's been hard. I want her to have everything she wants, but also I'm splitting the costs with just two other girls. At the beginning, we set firm limits, but those went out the window. We all agreed to spend a maximum of $100 on the bridesmaid dresses, but I ended up paying $140. We have to wear specifically nude shoes, so I had to buy those. (Thank god I work in fashion, because my boss pulled some strings and got me my shoes wholesale price AND gave them to me as a gift – score!). Plus I bought $20 earrings. The bride was supposed to pay for hair, but she just got laid off, so now we have to pay individually. I'm going to practice doing my own hair to save money, but now she's saying I have to pay to get it done since the hairdresser is doing her a favor.

"I haven't even started the bachelorette party planning. I wanted a bunch of people to go so we could split costs, but the bride only wants the three of us there. Originally I wanted an Airbnb for the weekend, but that's too pricey, so now I'm thinking a girls night in, then clubbing one night and staying at a hotel, and then brunch the next morning. It'll probably be about $300. Since I live at home still, I'm thankfully able to save most of my paychecks and do this for her. But it hurts."

How much are you trying to save, and what steps are you taking in order to do so?

"In the beginning, I budgeted $700-$1,000 for everything. I have two savings accounts: one that accrues interest, and one that doesn't. I use my interest account like a retirement account, since I'm not technically a full-time employee. And my regular savings account is my account for emergencies, trips, and bigger bills – basically savings that I can touch if I need to. And then I have my checking account for spending and smaller bills. Of my roughly $600 weekly check, $200 goes to checking, $100 to retirement, and $200 to regular savings. So I'm hoping that a) I won't have any major expenses before her wedding, and b) that I'll have enough saved if I do."

Have you racked up any credit card debt as a result of attending weddings? If so, how much?

"No. Thank god she's my only friend getting married so far. I'm not sure if I would ever be a maid of honor again. There's so many parties and clothes and shit you have to pay for that I didn't know about."
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8 of 10
Name: Marie
Age: 26
Location: Washington, D.C.
Job: Editor
Salary: $42,000

How many weddings are you going to this season?

"Five weddings, and I'm a bridesmaid in one of them. With airfare, attire, various bridesmaid things, lodging, and gifts, I expect to spend about $1,500 in wedding expenses this year."

What part(s) of wedding attendance are you saving up for?

"Mostly saving for travel, airfare, and lodging. I'm most willing to spend money on travel because I like to try to extend wedding weekends and make mini-vacations out of them when I can. It's worth it if I'm getting a break as well! I also save for formal attire and accessories, which I usually just rent from Rent the Runway, because I hate wearing the same dress to back-to-back weddings, especially if they're in the same friend group and everyone will notice."

How much are you trying to save, and what steps are you taking in order to do so?

"I try to keep $1,000 in an account for 'surprise' expenses, which includes weddings — gifts, attire, travel, etc. I obviously want to spend as little of it as possible, but sadly, $1,000 is a normal goal during wedding season once you start factoring in plane tickets."

Have you racked up any credit card debt as a result of attending weddings? If so, how much?

"I put expenses on my credit card for the points and then pay it off at the end of the month, but no — I love the people in my life, but their wedding days are not worth going into debt for!"
9 of 10
Name: Sara
Age: 28
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Job: Assistant Director of Communication
Salary: $50,000

How many weddings are you going to this season?

"I have three weddings this year. Two are out-of-state and one is in another country. It'll cost me about $4,000 total."

What part(s) of wedding attendance are you saving up for?

"I'm excited to get the chance to travel, but the plane tickets will be the most expensive since the dates aren't flexible. I'm willing to spend the most on hotels because I love nice hotels! I'll also have to get a nice dress (I've lost weight and don't have any that fit), a bathing suit for the resort wedding, gifts, and meals since I'll be traveling for all the weddings."

How much are you trying to save, and what steps are you taking in order to do so?

"One wedding is at an all inclusive resort, and I've already paid $200 towards the $2,000 stay. Those flights will also cost about $400. The other flights I'm anticipating will be about $600, plus a hotel. To save, I'm trying to budget my grocery bill and cut back on eating out. I'm an impulse shopper, so I'm trying to stop."

Have you racked up any credit card debt as a result of attending weddings? If so, how much?

"Not yet, but I'm definitely expecting to carry a balance of about $1,500 due to these weddings."
10 of 10
Name: Sarah
Age: 25
Location: Denver
Job: Consultant
Salary: $80,000

How many weddings are you going to this season?

"Four, so I think it'll cost me ~$1,500 altogether."

What part(s) of wedding attendance are you saving up for?

"I have four weddings in a three-month period, so I’m saving for everything: hosting a bridal shower, booking Airbnbs for wedding and bachelorette parties, buying clothing/shoes, and of course, gifts for all the couples. The bridal shower is what I’m willing to spend the most on – it's for my best friend and she deserves a great party."

How much are you trying to save, and what steps are you taking in order to do so?

"I’ve been putting away about $100-$200 a month from my budget towards these expenses."

Have you racked up any credit card debt as a result of attending weddings? If so, how much?

"I’m actually in the process of paying off all my current debt, and am not accumulating any new debt for these weddings. I've had to say no to a couple pre-wedding events just because I didn’t have the room in my budget."
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