How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Wedding?

See averages on how much being a guest at a wedding.

Weddings are known to cost a lot for the host; however, even simply attending a wedding can end up putting quite the dent in one’s wallet. Find out what to expect!

real wedding photo by tessa lyn events at bel air bay club wedding cocktail hour guests around bar
Photo: Laurie Bailey Photography

No matter where you turn, money is involved in wedding celebrations. We all know it costs a lot of money to host a reception, and anyone who has been a bridesmaid or a groomsman knows how expensive that can be. However, even simply attending a wedding can end up putting quite the dent in one’s wallet. LendEDU, which provides services to help people with their student loans and credit card debt, conducted a survey of 1,000 people to find out what it really costs to celebrate the marriage of your loved ones. 

lendedu wedding guest cost survey, what people spend money on at weddings

Graph by LendEDU

Based on the poll, the average wedding attendee in the United States spends $1,386.22 per celebration. Considering that Millennials are in the current age bracket that attends the most weddings, often going to several events a year, that number really adds up. In the pie chart below, it is clear that travel makes up the bulk of the expense, so if the majority of your loved ones choose to wed where you live, you can count yourself as one of the lucky ones. Though clothing is the lowest amount on the graph, it can still offer savings with smart choices. Consider wearing outfits you already have, and don’t be afraid to repeat looks at weddings without an overlap of guests from previous events. Both men and women can also rent high-quality clothing in order to look sharp without breaking the bank. 

lendedu bar graph wedding gift, registry, how people gift at weddings

Graph by LendEDU

While gifts are not technically required when attending a wedding, they’re certainly considered an important part of the social contract. A third of guests choose to stick to the registry while 60% go with money – be it through cash or check, a gift card, or a contribution to a honeymoon. While sites such as HoneyFund seem to be on the rise, only 9% of those polled said they helped to fund the honeymoon as their wedding gift. Brides and grooms will be relieved that only 3% gave no gift at all. 

For more, read Suze Orman's advice on sticking to your spending limit and what not to forget when deciding on your wedding budget.