Wedding Costs Climb … for Guests

wedding guestsAs someone who just recently hosted a wedding, it’s a bit disconcerting to read the latest news that, according to an American Express survey, wedding guests expected to spend an average of $539 per wedding attended this year.

That’s a whole lot of money to be a guest.

The estimate, which is up $200 from last year, includes everything from what a wedding guest would shell out for clothes and a hotel room to the costs of attending the bachelorette party.

As a bridesmaid, you may be stuck with a ugly bill in addition to an ugly dress. Members of the bridal party forecasted they will spend $577 on a wedding, nearly $40 more than the average guest, according to the survey.

The buck doesn’t stop there, though. The survey also found that affluent guests—those whose household incomes were more than $100,000—estimated they would spend around $960 per wedding this year, up from the $545 estimate in 2012.

Surveyed wedding guests admitted to spending around $179 on gifts if they were a close family member, $66 if they were a coworker and $79 if they were a friend on the outside of the couple’s close-knit group.

The American Express infographic below breaks down what you can expect to pay the next time you receive that fancy wedding invitation in the mail.


  • Ashley

    Weddings are expensive, for the couple and for guests. Especially for destination weddings!!
    I am a maid of honor in a wedding this summer which is a destination wedding. I am planning the bachelorette party & bridal shower and thankfully have two bridesmaids helping with costs of those two events. But still, I have already spent about $850 and when all is finished, I think my total spending will be at about $1500, maybe (but hopefully not) more. And thats with getting my round trip flight free!
    Not to mention, I only make about $35,000/year.

  • Michelle Z

    How has AMEX already pulled these costs together when wedding season has barely just begun??

  • GM

    When attending a destination wedding, does anyone know if you send them a gift off their registry & give them money at the wedding? If so, how much is appropriate to give?