Hey, Brides: Weddings Are Hideously Expensive for Guests, Too


Weddings aren’t just painfully expensive for the people who throw them. No, they’re increasingly burdensome for the guests, too. Many invites are basically a request to spend a luxurious weekend getaway’s worth of time and money on someone else’s event.

So the brides out there better be wearing BIG SMILES when it’s time to make the rounds and thank everyone for coming.

MarketWatch reports that AmEx recently surveyed 1,500 Americans and found that guests will likely spend, on average, $592 per wedding this year. That doesn’t even include gifts, just hotels, flight, outfits and the like. That’s a 10 percent increase from last year—and a 75 percent increase from two years ago. Guess the Great Recession was good for one thing, at least.

That’s a lot of money. And if you plan to attend more than one, well, it’s gonna hurt. Take 26-year-old Andrew Alberg, who plans to attend nine weddings and two bachelor parties:

He will crisscross the country from D.C., where he works as an attorney, to Laguna Beach, Calif., over Memorial Day weekend, and to Lake Michigan over July 4. The weddings will cost him up to $10,000 in total, depending on where they end up being held. “I don’t want to think about the total cost,” he says. “I can drive to New York, but still have to get a hotel. To get to California, I still have to get a flight and hotel.” An upcoming bachelor party in Las Vegas, Alberg says, will cost around $1,500.

No doubt this man loves his friends and family, but there must be a distant cousin somewhere in there whose invitation he can decline with a minimum of drama. Because God damn. But more people are getting married: Marketwatch cites Census data, saying the number of American couples marrying jumped from 4.21 to 4.32 million between 2011 and 2012.

An AmEx SVP attributes the increased bill to the rising cost of weddings: “Americans are getting more comfortable with having an expensive wedding, which does put the onus on guests to spend more too.” But I wonder whether it isn’t more of a feedback loop. Many Americans have friends and family scattered all over the country, which makes it harder to tie the knot on the cheap. If someone is spending several hundred dollars to fly in, you want to offer more than a couple coolers full of Bud Lite. It’s an argument for favors at the very least.

But this can’t get too much more extreme before the whole damn bubble pops and everyone starts getting married in the church basement or its budgetary equivalent once more.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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