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Personal Finance Reports

The Average Cost of Going to a Wedding in 2017

At the time of the publishing of this article, wedding season continues to move full-speed ahead .

According to the personal wedding planning website The Knot, the most popular months for getting hitched are June, August, September, and October. 

If you are a fan of attending weddings that aren’t yours, than this is the best time of year. Attending a hitching ceremony involves getting loose, dancing, eating too much, absorbing the vibes of romance, and having a downright good time.

However, being a guest at a wedding is not a free-ride by any means. Weddings are not only expensive for the bridge, groom, and their families (sometimes leading to the need for wedding loans), they are also a costly good time for the guests in attendance as well.

According to LendEDU’s poll of 1,000 Americans that have attended a wedding in 2017, the average price per wedding for a guest is $1,386.22 when all expenses are considered.

The Most Costly Expense of Attending a Wedding? Travel

LendEDU found that the average wedding-attending American spends $1,386 per wedding. We got this figure by summing together the costs of various wedding expenses, including travel, wedding gifts, clothing, and other miscellaneous expenses. 

Our poll revealed that traveling accounted for the costliest expense. 

Poll-participants were asked to answer the following question: “How much did you spend or do you expect to spend on travel-related expenses for a wedding in 2017? (i.e. plane tickets, gas, hotel)” 

Respondents were only asked to come up with an average figure for a single wedding, not their combined travel expenses from each wedding they have attended in 2017. LendEDU found that the average American that has attended a wedding in 2017 has spent $529.38 per wedding on travel-related expenses including flight tickets, gas, and hotel rates. 

The second biggest expense for the wedding attendees of 2017 was purchasing a wedding gift. According to our poll, the average American spends $329.55 on a wedding gift for each wedding they attend. 

Following the purchasing of a wedding gift was miscellaneous expenses, something that the average respondent was spending $303.62 per wedding on. 

Finally, LendEDU’s poll revealed that money spent on clothing was the cheapest of all wedding-related expenses. Clothing expenses could include buying a new suit or dress, having a suit or dress professionally cleaned, or buying any new clothing item like some spiffy new shoes or a flashy new watch. The average wedding attendant spent $223.67 on clothing-related expenses. 

Amanda Spence, a New York City-based wedding planner, had the following to say when it came to budgeting for various wedding expenses: “When attending a wedding, there are so many expenses that can add up quickly. If you are traveling, look into if the bride and groom have set up a hotel block. Hotel blocks offer less expensive rates to anyone who books a reservation within the block. Don’t delay in making your flight and/or hotel reservation as other guests also need to book and these rates will go up the longer you wait. For clothing, look into renting an outfit, such as a tux/suit rental for men and a dress rental for the ladies. Rent the Runway is a a personal favorite of mine and a great service for women that provides high quality dresses/gowns/accessories for a fraction of the regular cost.”

How Do People Handle Wedding Gifts?

As a wedding guest, your obligations are quite limited. To name a few: Follow the dress-code, have a good time, and don’t knock over the bride when you are dancing.

But seriously, perhaps your most important duty is to purchase the newlywed couple a wedding gift. Wedding gifts are the best way to tell those getting married that you appreciate them and their invitation, and that you are more than willing to help them succeed in the life they will be sharing together.

Plus, weddings are also a serious expenditure for the bride and groom. After all, they do have to feed each and every guest in attendance. A wedding gift is the best way to return the favor and provide the married couple some much-need financial relief after breaking the bank for their dream wedding. 

To get a feel for how wedding gifts are handled by invitees, LendEDU asked our 1,000 respondents the following question: “How did you give, or are planning to give, a wedding gift in 2017?”

As the accompanying infographic displays, 33 percent of respondents, or the plurality, get a wedding gift by purchasing something directly from the registry. 32 percent of poll participants skip the stress of deciding on a gift and simply give cash or a check. Another 19 percent show their gratitude through a gift card, while 9 percent contribute to the newlywed’s honeymoon. 4 percent contribute a gift by some other option not included in the choices. Meanwhile, 3 percent of respondents stated that they do not get a gift for the bride and groom; this is simply not in good taste, and likely something that will be remembered by the bridge and groom. 

Spence offered the following regarding deciding on a wedding gift for the married couple: “Do not spend above your means on a wedding gift. That being said, if you buy a couple the least expensive or most expensive gift on their registry, they will appreciate it all the same- it is really the thought that counts. If a couple has a wedding registry, this is the best place to get ideas for gifts, but otherwise, base your gift around the needs of the couple. There is always cash as an option, which all newlyweds are very happy and thankful to receive.”


All data that was used in this report came from a poll that was commissioned by LendEDU and conducted online by polling company OnePoll. In total 1,000 American consumers ages 18 and up were polled. All respondents were screened using the following question: “Have you gone, or are planning to go, to a wedding in 2017?” Respondents were given the opportunity to enter in an exact number when they were asked to answer how much money they spend per wedding on various expenses. All respondents were asked to answer each question truthfully and to the best of their ability. The poll was conducted from September 26th, 2017 to September 29th, 2017. 

See more of LendEDU’s Research