You Won’t Believe How Expensive it is to be a Wedding Guest in 2017

Wedding guests
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Weddings — as beautiful, magical, emotional and wonderful as they are — are so freaking expensive.

And not just for the bride and groom — or their parents — throwing the shindig, but for guests, as well. According to wedding registry website Tendr, the average wedding guest nationwide shells out $160 as a cash gift.

Wedding gift amounts tend to spike in the summer, CNBC says, and where you live might impact how much you give.

Keep in mind, that’s just the cash gift. Factoring in other costs to attend a wedding, such as travel, lodging, attire and pre- or post-wedding celebrations, the average wedding guest spends about $703, CNBC reports. Millennials are spending more like $893.

If you’re attending more than one wedding a year, it’s possible you’ll exceed a thousand bucks just to sit in on the big day of your favorite couples. If you’re in a wedding party, you can expect to pay much more.

“Being a guest at a wedding is a financial obligation,” Rosemary Caligiuri, managing director of United Capital, told CNBC. “When you say yes, you are saying yes to a lot of additional costs, especially if it’s far away.”

The cost to attend weddings have some passing up the opportunity. According to a Bankrate survey, 21% of wedding invitees have RSVP-ed “no” because they couldn’t afford it, CNBC reported.

But attending your loved ones’ nuptials doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are a few ways you can save on the cost of attending a wedding without having to, say, crowdfund your way there.

DIY the Wedding Gift

Sure, choosing a blender or china set from a registry is nice, but also a little… impersonal. A DIY gift may tug on the heartstrings of a bride and groom for years to come — and have them thinking of you each time.

Plus it can be so much better on your wallet.

Try photo collage letters, a relationship map, a personalized recipe book or any of the other gift options in this post on 10 cheap and easy DIY wedding gifts.

Budget for the Wedding in Advance

These days many couples plan long engagements. If you’re in their inner circle — and know you’ll likely be getting a wedding invite — use the time to start saving up and thinking of ways you can reduce your costs.

Penny Hoarder senior writer Dana Sitar recommends these six strategies, which include skipping pre- and post-wedding events, taking a frugal road trip to the wedding and scheduling your regular haircuts and manicures to align with the wedding date.

Penny Hoarder contributor Susan Shain and seven of her friends collectively attended over 100 weddings during the course of a few years and shared their advice on how to attend them affordably.

Smart tips include creating a special bank account to save up, setting up flight alerts to snag good travel deals, sharing an Airbnb rental with other wedding guests and renting your dress. Read more here.

Make Bank on the Big Day

To offset the costs of attending a wedding, some guests offer up their services to the bride and groom. The couple might be relieved to have someone they know and trust stepping in to replace a pricy vendor, and that guest may be able to make some money in return.

Talk about a win-win situation.

This post suggests nine ways to make money from a friend’s wedding. In many cases, you’ll have to have a certain skill set already, like calligraphy or hair and makeup expertise. But you can also collect cash serving as a sober driver — all you’ll need are a driver’s license and car!

And who knows — your experiences just may launch you into your next career or side gig as a wedding singer, wedding officiant, live-event artist or professional bridesmaid!

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She is perpetually amazed over how expensive weddings are for everyone involved.

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