Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Wedding guests need to watch their spending too


No doubt about it, spending on a wedding can easily get out of control for the bride and groom, their families, the wedding party and even guests.

That’s something for your kids to keep in mind if their social calendar is filled with invitations for the wedding season next spring and fall.

My kids have lamented more than once about the cost of going to a wedding and the impact on their budget, especially when the invitations from friends seem to come in batches. Expenses included wedding gifts, shower parties, new dresses or suits and potential travel costs.

Recently, the LendEDU financial services firm looked at how much people tend to spend if they’re going to a wedding. The company interviewed 1,000 people in the U.S. ages 18 and up earlier this year, and asked respondents the following questions: Have you gone or are you planning to go to a wedding? And if so, how much money were you spending per wedding on expenses?

The results: The average price per wedding for a guest was $ 1,386.22, when all expenses were considered. LendEDU said that included wedding gifts, clothes, miscellaneous expenses and travel.

Article Continued Below

I suspected a big chunk was on travel — and that’s what the survey found too. Indeed, plane tickets, rental cars, gas and hotel rates amounted to an average of $ 529.38 per wedding, making it the biggest overall expense. The survey did not specify whether these travel expenses involved any destination weddings atop a mountain or on a sandy beach.

Guests also said they spent $ 329.55 on average on a wedding gift, and $ 303.62 went towards miscellaneous expenses, including hair, manicures and pedicures.

Clothing was the cheapest of all wedding-related expenses, at $ 223.67 per wedding guest. That covered everything from a new suit or dress to dry-cleaning, new shoes or a new watch.

This was the first year for this survey by LendEDU, so there were no comparable numbers to review. But the results mirror the spending trend from other surveys I found from past years.

At the very least, these numbers can serve as a guide for your kids’ spending.

But your kids don’t have to take a financial hit to watch their friends get married. There are plenty of ways to minimize the spending without spoiling a good time.

For example, skip the traditional gift registry. If a couple is honeymooning at a resort, a gift of plain old cash or a cheque could be used by the newlyweds for a dinner, an excursion or other activity, such as snorkeling or a whale watch.

That’s exactly what my daughter did for a friend who married last summer. The bride and groom didn’t want fancy china, sheet sets or kitchen supplies. Instead, they asked for cash to spend on their Hawaiian honeymoon.

For another approach, try gift cards. At Honeyfund.com, for example, you can buy a gift card redeemable with partners such as Amazon, Delta Air Lines, Uber, Hotels.com and other travel companies, restaurants and retailers.

LendEDU’s survey found that 32 per cent of the respondents opted to give cash or a cheque, while 19 bought gift cards.

If purchasing from a wedding registry — and 33 per cent of the survey participants did exactly that — buy your gift early to get a wider range of choices and prices. Better yet, use the registry to get ideas for gifts, but purchase it elsewhere if you can save some money. I doubt that the happy couple will care where the gift was purchased.

Other practical savings tips:

  • If travelling, check if a hotel block of rooms has been set up to get a less expensive rate on a reservation. Or look for alternatives to hotels through rental options on HomeAway and Airbnb with multiple rooms and kitchens to share with friends.
  • With clothing, consider renting a dress or suit. If you have a staple suit or sport coat, consider just changing the shirt and tie.
  • For gifts, go in with a group, especially if the purchase involves the traditional china, silver and crystal.

Keep in mind that many millennials tying the knot aren’t interested so much in household stuff or a fine table setting, according to TheKnot.com. For them, it’s the experiences that matter most

TORONTO STAR