Guess How Much It Now Costs, On Average, to Attend Someone's Wedding?

It's getting crazy out there. SPECIAL BONUS!! Other random things that can be bothersome when attending other people's weddings (especially as a single lady).

May 4, 2014 at 1:00pm | Leave a comment

What Jane mentioned yesterday is true: Reportedly, the average wedding guest now coughs up almost $600 every time a buddy decides to join their beloved in holy (eternal?) matrimony. Wait … what?

Arghhh -- it's true, at least according to a survey via American Express, which found that "the collective cost of bachelor and bachelorette parties, transportation, hotels, clothing and personal grooming has soared by 75 percent in the past two years."

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Oh, and if you're wondering? No, that number doesn't include the price of a wedding gift, which, for me, generally runs between $100 - $175 per wedding (I don't want to seem stingy, but I also don't want to fork over my entire paycheck for a zillion-dollar Le Creuset baking pan thingey that may or may not survive the possibly ensuing post-divorce move-out).

The survey also showed that marrying couples are currently spending an average of $220 per wedding guest (including entertainment and food).

Wedding-planning lovebugs: I get it, I really do. It's your Big Adventure, you think/hope it'll be a once in a lifetime occasion, and you understandably want the whole she-bang to be gorgeously memorable and maybe slightly envy-inducing. But it's kind of annoying when betrothed pairs don't think a teeeeeeny bit more about the potential expenses their potential guests are potentially racking up in order to make a very special appearance at their very special day.

Aside from sometimes-exorbitant fees, here are few other random nuptial-ish things that have troubled me as a wedding-goer. I apologize if it seems like I'm raining on the blissful bridal love parade, but ... I guess that's what I'm doing?

  • When they don't let single guests bring a date. Once, because I was utterly single at the time, my friend (the bride) said I couldn't bring a friend-date to her wedding (I'd been hoping to bring a girl friend). The justification was saving money, which I understand, but it was a backyard affair catered by her mom, so there was already some skimping going on. I ended up going alone, and though it was a gorgeous ceremony and I was excited for my friend, the wedding ended up being profoundly uncomfortable for me. Why? Because I knew almost no one there AND I was, it seemed, the only person among 100+ guests to be sober or non-imbibing. The combination of having no social lube; being naturally shy and socially dumb; AND not having many friends at the wedding translated into, well, some torture.
  • When weddings don't have a well-executed transportation or shuttle situation. At the wedding I mentioned above -- which, torture aside, was the most aesthetically adorable one I've ever been to -- the couple arranged a free shuttle bus to drive DC hotel guests the 30-minute-ish ride out to the Maryland suburbs for the wedding and ceremony. That was a helpful, sensible thing to do, especially for guests who were drinking. Even though my mom lived in DC  and I could have borrowed her car for the evening, I stupidly opted to take advantage of the shuttle; I assumed it would be making several return trips back to the city at night, so I could choose when I wanted to flee. I was wrong. So, so wrong. The shuttle made precisely ONE trip back to the DC hotels: at midnight, when the whole celebration was over. I stayed at that wedding from 5pm until midnight, painfully sober and feeling like a caged animal, I tell you. Yeah, I totally should have just called a taxi -- I just kept thinking a shuttle was bound to be leaving at any moment ...
  • When weddings have oddly-assigned seating and instead of seating single friends with other friends (even if those friends are coupled), the planner decides to put them at a designated "single sideshow freak" table full of strangers. (Kidding about the sideshow-freak thing, kind of.) Again, I get the reasoning behind this -- let the single people meet other single people, I guess? But what would be even better would be if unpartnered guests were mixed in with other singletons AND with their friends. Go ahead, get crazy! Of course I want to meet your older uncoupled writer cousin Ben -- but I also want the sweet, sweet social balm of knowing that my childhood friend Annie is seated to my left and I can cry into her bosom as needed!

What do you think of guests' wedding expenses rising so insanely high recently? What's the most you've ever spent on someone else's wedding? What wedding-related Things bug you?

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