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What Does It Really Cost to Be a Wedding Guest?

A gift isn't the only thing the average big-day attendee spends money on. Here, other factors that most guests will have to shell out for in order to be part of your celebration.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Anna Delores Photography

Whether you're planning your own wedding or are planning to attend a wedding this season, it's important to know what expenses the average guest faces. While most people assume attendees will only have to purchase a gift, there are a number of other wedding-related expenses that need to be accounted for. From time away from work and travel expenses to personal grooming and childcare, we're covering all of the potential expenses that come with attending a wedding. Luckily, most wedding guests are thrilled to receive an invitation, especially when it's for the wedding of two people they adore, and are happy to set aside funds in order to be part of the day. But if you're looking for a guilt-free reason to cut down your guest list, knowing that you're helping others save their hard-earned funds might be it.

 

Ultimately, while there are many expenses associated with attending a wedding, the joy of supporting the start of a new family easily justifies the costs. Even so, it's important to be mindful of what you're asking of your nearest and dearest.

 

Related: Ways You Can Help Your Guests Spend Less Money on Your Wedding

 

Time Out of the Office

Depending on the wedding day and location, guests may need to take a day (or even a few days!) off of work in order to attend a wedding. While some jobs are more flexible than others in this regard, sacrificing vacation days might easier for some guests while others might be saving up those days for their own wedding or a much-needed vacation.

 

Travel Expenses

Airfare, accommodations, and transportation costs are all financial expenses to be covered by wedding guests. While a couple may be able to help with some of these costs (for example, by providing shuttles to and from the reception), guests have to be realistic about which expenses they can afford to take on. If attending a wedding is going to cause financial hardship, there are other ways to support a couple's decision to marry and celebrate with them without taking on the expenses.

 

Babysitting Services

Children and babies are sometimes invited to the wedding, but for those weddings that are kid-free events, parents will have to find caretakers for the evening. Some couples opt to have childcare available on-site at their wedding venue or main hotel, which provides a helpful alternative for parents.

 

Attire and Self-Care

Weddings are usually more formal occasions, offering guests a chance to get out of their everyday attire and dress up. As such, many guests will take the opportunity to purchase a new outfit, get a haircut or style, stop into the nail salon, or have their makeup done professionally. These expenses add up, though they're certainly not required for attending a wedding.

 

Pre-Wedding Events

Engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelor or bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, and more pre-wedding events often require guests' time, energy, and budget. Some guests may find that opting to attend the wedding only is the most affordable approach for them.

 

Time Away from Everyday Tasks

In a society that praises busyness, taking time out to attend a dear friend or family member's wedding is a treat. Some may consider the time an expense, but they tend to forget that mentality as soon as they hit the dance floor.