A member of the Engaged Marriage community recently shared the infographic below, and I found it pretty fascinating…but not surprising. It shows graphically just how much it costs to attend or be part of a wedding as a guest.

I know I’ve been part of probably a dozen weddings over the last 10 years as either a groomsman, an usher or a groom.  🙂

It is definitely an expensive honor!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments.  Do you think these average costs are accurate and, more importantly,  do you think it’s worth it?

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Cost to Wedding Guests
Via: EngagementExperts.com
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About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  1. That’s crazy. On the rare occasion I’ve bought a new dress for a wedding (I usually wear one I already have and just dress it up with different accessories or a different jacket), I wouldn’t spend more than $30 and no more than $20 for jewellery (and again rarely buy new stuff).

    Spend nothing on accomodation (for interstate weddings, I stay with family) and nothing on transport unless it’s interstate and then plane flights are unavoidable.

    Maybe $20 for a preparty. But that’s it.

    I can’t see why people would spend so much.

    As for the cost of gifts… I wish people spent that much. At my wedding 12 years ago, the average gift was around $20 – and usually that’s the total of what couples spent – some people who came to the reception didn’t give gifts at all.

    Then again, I have a lot of cheap friends and friends who turned out not to be real friends and treated it like a free feed.

    1. Thanks, J. It’s really interesting to hear different perspectives on these costs. I think the regular guest attendance costs seem high, but when I’ve actually been part of the wedding party, it really is this expensive.

  2. Sadly, that’s not so crazy! We’re fresh off a family member’s wedding this past weekend, and it was pretty expensive. My husband was in the wedding party–so we had to shoulder the costs of his rented apparel (that someone else chose). We stayed out of town for a couple of nights, and drove 300 miles at $4/gallon to be there.

    I did not have to pay some of these costs out-of-pocket, but somebody did–a family member arranged for a babysitter at the church, another family member bought wedding apparel (and $$$)shoes for my kids. And the gift! (And all the shower gifts before that!)

    I was a little surprised at the newlywed gift expectations box. Is $75 really expected for a gift from a friend? And over $100 for family? Yikes! That strikes me as high.

    1. I’m right there with you, Anne. I’m in another wedding this fall, and it’s out of town so we’ll have all those same expenses. The gift numbers did seem a bit high to me as well.

  3. Hmm, as part of the wedding party: Shower gifts: $50, Eating out with bride or groom/wedding prep/parties: $50, dress or tux: $90, wedding gift: $50, driving: $30 minimum, hair/makeup/shoes as part of bridal party: $50…so that makes…$270! Dressing the family for the occasion could add up to $150 more. Driving long distances and hotel costs could also add $200-300. This would be close family and at least one member, if not 2 or three, in the wedding party. So, if all of these items were the case, yep, their number matches mine.

    You can argue about which costs can be cut and how to be more practical all around, but I think it goes a long way when you feel like the bride and groom appreciate the expense you are going to, rather than expecting lavish gifts and financial sacrifice from their friends as an entitlement. Even the smallest of gestures helps. Instead of getting a free tux for our wedding, my husband had the tux shop split the discount across the groomsmen so they could have free shoe rental. There are plenty of wedding parties that include men in suits so they can wear them again at other occasions. I’m blessed to have an excellent seamstress for a mother, so I had her make our bridesmaid dresses, and we paid for the fabric, too. As far as expensive gifts, a bride and groom should register with that in mind–make sure to register for lots of practical things in all price ranges, so that someone who can only afford a $20 gift will have more to show for it than a 2 designer washcloths off the Macy’s registry.

    Finally, “I can’t afford to be in your wedding…do you have any suggestions on how I can make it more affordable to attend?” should be a reasonable thing to say to a bride and groom who really want you to be there.

      1. I knew you’d appreciate that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wasn’t the most extravagant gesture, but it made us feel like we weren’t profiting off of the groomsmen’s rentals. I’m also glad that most of us got married after at least one of the couple had exited college, so we could afford to hold and attend each others’ weddings. It’s definitely harder for those still in college financially, but I’m glad to see people who are ready commit to each other as soon as they can, out of college or not.

  4. My boyfriend and I attended 5 weddings together this past year (we’re at that age). We avoided the cost of a hotel for all but one by making ~3 hour drives back to one of our respective places after the reception. I was in one of the weddings (the one we needed a hotel for), and we decided to forgo gifts. Personally, I feel like the primary reason you’re invited in the first place is because the couple wants you to be there – that in itself is a gift, and it can get pretty expensive depending on how far you need to travel. Adding in the expenses of being in the wedding party (which I kind of see as another gift), and I can’t afford much beyond washcloths at that point. But maybe it’s just because I’m a poor grad student. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks for sharing, Allie. I attended (and was in) a lot of weddings as a poor grad student myself, so I get what you’re saying. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Well, I’m getting married and I HOPE the my guests don’t pay this much to attend! I do realize they are expensive, and having attended many weddings I know they can be expensive. But, I think there are practical ways to be a wedding attendee and not break your budget. Lodging can be expensive, and you don’t want to skimp on the wedding gift. But you can save money by buying food at the grocery store when possible. Clothing can be found on clearance. If you’re accounting for all the possible costs ahead of time you can decide where you want to splurge and where you can save some cash!

  6. I got married recently and the average cost here is very close to what everything would have cost us all up. I think it’s very much up to the guest how much they contribute financially. We had a gift suggestion list, but there was no expectation of how valuable a gift should be. Out of everything we received, the most expensive gifts were not always the best gifts.

    As far as the bridal party, we did ask them to pay for their own clothes and made that clear from the start. I think the best way to do things financially is to not hide anything. Honesty is always best, and things will work out in the end.

  7. We’re attending a wedding tomorrow, but luckily it’s in town. Our total expense (outside of a gift) is a bout $0. But, neither of us is in it and, again, in town so we’re lucky! The best wedding gift we got was a book about handling money. Probably cost a total of $20 at the most and it completely changed our lives!

  8. Hi Dustin,
    Oh weddings are definitely expensive but it depends on the couple and how close you are to them. My friend got married last year in NJ. I lived in CA then (ouch!) Anyway, I paid for the airfare, the dress (from David’s Bridal…another ouch! :)), and jewellry. I did live with them, and they did my own hair and makeup. Again, I was part of the bridal party so I guess it makes sense. Another friend had us sew our bridesmaids dresses so it was definitely cheaper! I feel differently about this because I feel like weddings are once in a lifetime and guests need to try to understand. A nice couple will at least ehlp you out a bit if you ARE in the bridal party. My friend offered to cover part of the airfare. I think it’s a bit rude to ask the couple to make it more affordable ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess I would say I can’t come because I can’t afford it. Then if they really want you there, they might help you ๐Ÿ™‚ This is just my take on it and I may be wrong. But yes, weddings are expensive though I love them!

  9. I’d advocate spending lots of money on your family members who are getting married — but do so in helpful ways! Don’t spend a lot on clothes and jewelry and eating out (as the infogram depicts) — spend a lot on a good practical gift! Sure, it’s expensive to go to a wedding, but in a lot of cases, newlyweds have an incredibly challenging financial situation. And money is the number one cause of divorce. So, invest in a newlywed couple in helpful ways.

  10. I just hope folks spend that much money, energy and time investing in their marriage, not just the party.

  11. Fabulous book I used as a resource when planning my wedding: Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot: How to Plan a Church Wedding for Less Than $5,000. Yes it takes hard work and a willing family!

  12. I recently got married and I felt so guilty that anyone would have to spend anything on my wedding. we didn’t have a bridal party because we felt it wouldn’t be right to make friends pay for an outfit of our choice for our day and we didnt have the money to fund it. we only set up a gift registry because certain family members demanded that we did and put gifts as low as 5 dollars on there (you can never have to few small kitchen gadgets).
    now one of my friends is getting married and asked me to be in her bridal party. she finally picked a dress that was 169 dollars for the bridesmaids. after finding out a family member is getting married the weekend before (out of state) and thinking about all the other expenses I would be faced with (hair, shoes, make up, shower gifts, bachlorette party, wedding gift, etc) , I had to tell her i couldn’t be in the party because I just couldn’t justify spending that much money. after all I only spend 200 on my own wedding dress (my dress was on sale).
    I’m more than happy to be there for her and celebrate, but it will be in a dress i already own, with DIY hair/make up, a gift within my budget means, and so on.
    I don’t think it’s fair for people to expect so much out of others. it’s a time to celebrate. not put anyone in debt.

  13. All of a sudden my friends are getting married. Our family & very close friends have a total of 5 weddings this year! Ahh!! My son and I are in two of them! The one we just had involved $165 for the dress, $82 for alterations, $25 for shoes (on sale, lol), $35 for hair, $80 for my son’s tux…we are up to $387. The trip up there is 806 miles x 2, plus a ton of driving around in town, plus a $155 gift (ok, it was a really nice gift – framed papal blessing)…I better stop, because it’s stressing me out. Pretty crazy. But, I don’t mind doing this for my very closest friends. When people are getting married and we cannot attend, we usually spend under $50 for a gift.

  14. Well it cost me $200. http://rafeeq.doomby.com/liens.html This is because in find myself attending quite a few weddings for the year.

  15. We had an out-of-town wedding to go to. The train schedule was ugly (we aren’t on the main branch), so we had to rent a car to get there. We managed to find a B&B to stay at, so we managed the whole thing for under $300. I confess, we spent more on the gift than we would have if we hadn’t been invited (the invitation was unexpected), because there is an expectation of a “minimum” gift size for guests, but not for people who weren’t invited. I confess, I don’t understand the $64 to dress up as a guest. If the average couple is attending two weddings a year, and you can normally get nice clothes if you don’t have any for $200, at the really nice end, that seems high. A dress should last you more than 10 weddings, and a suit even longer. I can see needing new shoes or stockings or etc (or maternity-friendly wedding clothes), but that still doesn’t add up.

    As for the costs for the wedding party – it’s a lovely idea to not have the wedding party have to buy new dresses, but if you’re going to do that, make sure that you don’t phrase it as something you’re giving them a choice about. Otherwise you get back n responses of “no, no, we should all be buying new dresses, and you pick them” from the bridesmaids and m responses of “what do you mean no tux?” from the groomsmen. (And the groomsmen, in this case, were having to pay for their own rental)

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