We're Shocked by How Much It Actually Costs to Attend a Wedding in 2019
For better or worse, the numbers are in.
Everyone loves a wedding. Whether you're excited to watch a close friend say "I do" or in need of an excuse to dress up and dance, there's a reason we're willing to save the date months in advance. Who turns down a free dinner and open bar anyway?
Well, free might be a stretch. While those late-night snacks on the dance floor may not come with a bill, wedding guests in 2019 spend an average of $430 to attend a wedding, according to a new WeddingWire study. This fluctuates depending on the wedding's location, of course. Flying to the event? Destination weddings requiring airfare cost guests a whopping $1,320 for travel, accommodations, and food, according to the survey. Those within driving distance to an out-of-town affair still spend $480 on average. Locals aren't totally spared either–attending a wedding in town still puts you out an average of $65 for gas and food.
It doesn't stop there. Guests still have gifts to buy and outfits to plan, and apparently we're willing to shell out more dough for our dearest friends (even if we weren't asked to be in the wedding party). The study found that half of guests purchase a new outfit for the Big Day, spending an average of $160 on attire for a close friend's wedding and $95 for an acquaintance. Gift costs ranged too, with close friends and family members spending an average of $130, members of the wedding party spending $115, and casual friends investing $80 in a gift.
Seem high? There are a few ways to save yourself (both financially and emotionally if you've got a calendar full of wedding dates).
First, your Facebook friends won't unfriend you if a repeat outfit pops up in a picture. Cut costs by shopping in your own closet instead of buying something new. If you don't have something quite in tune with the dress code, consider renting. It's still more cost effective. Truth be told, all eyes will be on the bride anyway, so there's no reason to bust your budget.
If you want to keep your friendship (and your dignity), a gift is a must. But you don't have to go it alone. Consider going in on a nice group gift. Even if the couple registered for some lower cost items to provide options, no one really wants a can opener from their sorority sister. Grab a few friends and contribute to something meaningful together.WATCH: Southern Wedding Etiquette You Need To Know Before The Big Day
One of the most important things you can do? Don't be afraid to decline the invite if you can't afford it, especially destination weddings where you're not particularly close to the couple. While you may miss out on some of the fun, scheduling a dinner date with the couple post-wedding might get you more quality one-on-one time than dancing to "Shout" in a ballroom full of their entire family.