Attending a wedding got cheaper in the past year, but it is still going to cost you on average $339. That number, down from $490 in 2011, takes into account the amount that guests can expect to spend on gifts, travel, clothing and wedding preparations, according to a survey.
Although guests were expecting to spend $339 overall on weddings, respondents said they were planning to spend $166 on gifts for close family, down $30 from last year. Guests expected to spend $105 on gifts for close friends and $56 for co-workers.
There was, however, some wiggle room in those numbers with 41 percent of guests saying they would make the determination of how much to spend based on their relationship with the couple. One-third of respondents said their budget would dictate their spending. Guests prefer to give the couple gifts off their registry, but a majority of couples would rather receive money for their gift.
Even though guests can't agree on how much to spend or what to buy, they are in agreement on what the future bride and groom should be spending on. More than 60 percent of respondents listed food as the most important part of the wedding. Food was followed by the venue, entertainment and the wedding cake in importance. Guests thought that money spent on save the dates, transportation for the wedding party or guests and party favors was wasted.
"Saying 'I do,' isn’t just an investment for those getting married, guests have to consider their costs as well," Claire Bennett, executive vice president of loyalty and membership benefits at American Express, said. "From the suit to the suite to the sitter, the expenses for attending a wedding add up and we’re seeing consumers cutting back a bit this year to manage the cost."
The information in the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker was based on a random sample of 1,500 adults. The research was conducted online.