Thursday, July 28, 2011

The full cost of attending a wedding

There's plenty of talk about how much it costs to put on a wedding (hint: think five figures) and how the bridal/wedding industry is out of control with extra services, expenses and markups.  But I'm not getting married this summer so let's talk about how expensive it is to be a guest at one of these weddings.  Now don't get me wrong, it's great fun and a privilege to be invited to and attend the wedding of good friends or family tying the knot, but it's pricey! Call me cheap, sure, but think about the total cost:
  • Card - $5
  • Clothes - $0-$200 depending on what's in your wardrobe
  • Gift - $50-$150 is what I'm seeing these days
  • Wrapping for the gift - $10
  • Hotel - $100-$300 per night if it's not local
  • Transportation $20-$1000 plane tickets for a destination wedding or a cab/parking for a local one
So you're looking at a minimum of $75 if you're cheap and your hosts are too to $2,000 or more.  We attended a wedding last weekend with a total cost to us of $375.  Ouch! That's half a month's rent for us! 

Have you been to a wedding this summer?  How much did it cost you?  Are you paying for a wedding?  Tell me that my costs are miniscule or how you're saving your guests money!

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    1. Great post.
      We actually had to decline a wedding invite for this fall, just because of the expense (it wasn't anywhere near local)
      While I would love to go, it just wasn't feasible or practical given the cost. We are also facing some uncertainty with job security and I just couldn't justify the expense when we need to be saving for just in case.

    2. I definitely hear you ND MBA. I'm in my early twenties and it seems that people are getting married every other weekend. Like you say, I know it's a privilege, but sometimes you just want a weekend to relax and maybe catch up on a few summer chores. Instead it gets harder and harder to stay under budget.

    3. This can actually be much higher if you factor in some of the indirect costs like going to a shower or a bachelor/bachelorette party, which are all certainly in the realm of reason even if you're not in the wedding.

    4. Me and my SO spent about $1K to attend my brother's wedding in Vegas. That includes flight (SF-LV and back), hotel for 5 days, gift, outfit, food and incidentals when we got there, car rental, the works. If I think of it as attend-the-wedding/ vacation in one trip, it's not really that bad. Although, I hear you when you say it's costly to attend a wedding.

    5. We're attending a wedding next month. Accommodations are free since my parents live 5 minutes from the venue but I need a dress, hubby needs a suit, plus a gift and gas and tolls to get there. We're looking at about $500-$600. I don't even want to discuss the cost of the wedding I'm a bridesmaid in this fall. That's closer to the neighborhood of $1K, not including the bridal shower and bachelorette party.

      Weddings are crazy expensive. It's partly why we usually decline to go, especially if it's not for a close friend or family.

    6. Hah ... for this reason I'm glad that I didn't have many good friends in high school / college (or at least ones that talk to me on any regular basis outside of Facebook).

      There isn't much good about it, but this is one thing. No feeling guilty or going destitute running across the country for a wedding.

    7. That's exactly the reason my honey and I just went by ourselves to Vegas. After trying to plan a wedding and realizing the costs to us and guests, it just didn't seem worth it. We had a reception when we got back and called the out-of-town friends and family. Easy peasy and it was amazing!

    8. Nikki - I though about declining, but this was important to my SO so we went, but carpooled and split a hotel room.

      My University Money - True! I didn't even over the time cost of attending and it's big!

      Money Beagle - True. Showers mean yet another gift and even more time.

      Ciawy - Looking at it as a vacation definitely eases the pain.

      Jana - I hope you can enjoy the weddings you do attend. I think politely declining to attend is one of the few acceptable ways to keep costs down unfortunately

      mbhunter - We haven't been invited to many either which is actually kind of nice. It's mostly because our friends are committed to staying single, but I won't complain if it's easy on my wallet.

      Jen - That sounds like a great compromise.

    9. We're attended a wedding this week that cost us at least $1,500 - flights for four, rental car, hotel, meals, clothes (luckily we had some, but the kids had outgrown their "nice" outfits), family activities planned while we're in town (it's a family wedding), a gift... They've had a weekend of events, so we were at the hotel from Friday night through Tuesday morning with family events the whole time. At least breakfast was included and they provided dinner twice.

      Fortunately my husband has a small family and this is the first wedding in a decade. Still, we saved for 6 months for this, and I've spent the whole trip with crazy morning sickness so it's been hard to even enjoy.

      We declined a wedding on the opposite coast from a friend. We just couldn't afford two in one year and the family one had to come first.

    10. Oh, the hotel was $86/night and included a very full breakfast, which was handy. We gave $100 cash (the same thing they gave us at our wedding.)

      We planned a vacation around this trip, but ended up staying at a relative's while I suffered through morning sickness from hell and skipped the rest of the itinerary - that did make the rest of the trip very inexpensive, if not very fun for the kids!

    11. I have a wedding to go to in two weeks, we have to take the ferry over and back ($70 per person about), pay for a hotel (maybe $80 a night), do a gift ($100 cash).

      We also went to the said wine country for her stagette ($108 hotel plus dinner for her $90 and indulgence in wine $150). But it was fun.

      It definitely adds up, makes you want to not have friends! Or perhaps hermit it up until your mid-30's when everyone is married off already lol.

    12. You wouldn't even believe how much we have forked out for my sisters wedding. I put on two bridal showers for her at my expense plus gifts. Then i flew out of town to another bridal shower her future mother in law put on for her. That was plane ticket and weekend away expense. I am the maid of honor which requires dress for 200, hair, shoes, nail apts. Then new suit for bf. our daughter is flower girl which is another dress and alterations. The wedding is out of town so it is 2 nights hotel for rehearsal and wedding plus transportation costs. Then we have gift. I also made guest book by hand which was over 100.. I actually started losing track of how much we have spent..It is upwards of crazy.

    13. TSQ - Ouch.

      youngandthrifty - I'd never heard of a stagette. I always hear bachelorette parties.

      Anonymous - Three bridal showers! Wow, you can be my sister any time ;)

    14. I went to one this year, declined 2 others and I'm still pissed about the cost. Lost Saturday, $200 on gift, $20 on gas, $30 on hair $5 on a dang card and I REFUSED to buy a new dress. Let's not forget $20 for parking. When I got an invitation to the Dominican Republic for a wedding, I declined so fast I left skid marks.

    15. The average wedding in the US costs $26k! That's a HUGE expense. If you live in San Francisco area, that number is about double. I know it's a once in a life time event and it's important but isn't the couple better off having a less expensive wedding and saving for the future instead?

    16. Whew. I never thought about it that way. Fortunately, we have an unspoken agreement with most of my friends and relatives that we would never go for too much glamor and extravagance on any occasion. (I remember my cousin's wedding specifically asked us to omit gifts and just bring whatever we can spare for the victims of a recent typhoon in Asia)