Here’s why it costs so much to celebrate the newlyweds.

By Maggie Seaver
Updated October 18, 2019

As amazing as it is to celebrate a friend or relative’s nuptials, sadly the fun doesn’t often come cheap. With the WeddingWire 2019 Guest Study hot off the presses, we finally know exactly how much it can cost, on average, to be a wedding guest—and which expenses make it so pricey.

The results are in, and on average, a wedding guest will spend $430 to attend a wedding, including the gift. (By the way, this doesn’t even get into how much members of the wedding party spend). This is an average total, so guest spend will vary depending on factors like how far they live from the venue and their relationship to the couple. Here’s a quick breakdown of what that $430 is going toward.

Travel and Accommodations: Guests living locally will only spend an average total of $180, while attendees flying in to make the wedding will shell out an average of $1,440 due to plane and hotel fares (or property rentals).

Wedding Gifts: Another hefty expense is the wedding gift. According to WeddingWire, guests spend an average of $120 on a gift. That price tag could be higher for a close pal or relative or lower for a more distant acquaintance or coworker. Remember, too, that many guests gift the couple multiple wedding presents, including engagement gifts and shower gifts.

Attire: Per the survey, “roughly half of guests purchased a new outfit for the most recent wedding they attended and spent, on average, $155.”

Not to be dramatic, but in some cases, being a wedding guest is downright financially irresponsible: According to a recent Credit Karma survey, 20 percent of Americans have gone into debt to attend a wedding, citing gifts (58 percent), accommodations (44 percent), pre-wedding events and showers (43 percent), outfits (43 percent), and to-and-from travel (42 percent), as the top five debt-inducing expenses. (But hopefully your wedding guest experience never comes to this!)

Of course, much of the time these wedding guest expenses are more than worth it in order to witness a loved one’s “I dos,” toast to their new union, and dance all night. But even still, to save a little dough come wedding season, you might want to consider renting an outfit, splitting a wedding gift, and booking travel early next time you’re on the guest list. And if you haven't spoken to the couple in years, it's probably OK to (politely) RSVP "no."