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How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Wedding? — Dollars and Sense

Wedding Guests

Weddings are often expensive affairs — and we don’t just mean for the couple tying the knot. Guests often have a considerable cash layout as well, but the dip in the economy has lead many revelers to cut back on just how much money they’re willing to spend.

In 2011, people polled by American Express reported spending almost $500 on gifts, travel, clothing and the preparations necessary to attend a wedding. But this year, that’s dropped to $340.

As for wedding gifts specifically, respondents said their spending would be reliant on their relationship to the couple, with family members getting a gift worth about $170 and close friends getting one worth $100.

And if you’re planning an upcoming wedding, ditch the money you might spend on save-the-dates or party favors — the survey found guests don’t care about them. More than 60 percent said the food at the event is what matters most, followed by the venue, entertainment and the wedding cake.

“Saying ‘I do,’ isn’t just an investment for those getting married, guests have to consider their costs as well,” said Claire Bennett, executive vice president of loyalty and membership benefits at American Express. “From the suit to the suite to the sitter, the expenses for attending a wedding add up and we’re seeing consumers cutting back a bit this year to manage the cost.”


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