Average cost for wedding guests surges to $592 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Average cost for wedding guests surges to $592

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More than 67 million Americans  plan to attend at least one wedding this year, and they expect to pony up more money to attend, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker.  

This year, guests expect to spend an average of $592, up 10 percent from last year and a staggering 75 percent jump from 2012, with most of the budget going to travel & accommodations ($308) and special attire and accessories ($164). 

"Weddings can be expensive, whether you're tying the knot or attending as a guest," said David Rabkin, SVP of Consumer Lending Products for American Express.  "While careful spending continues to be the trend for 2014, consumers on both sides of the equation will shell out more, which bodes well for a variety of merchants in the service and retail sectors."

From Attendees to Attendants: All Expect to Pay More

As the cost to attend weddings rises, spending on wedding gifts is also climbing. Most guests will spend an average of $109 per gift this year. If the recipient is a close family member, the average cost of a gift doubles to $200, up 20 percent from 2012.  

A third of consumers will purchase these gifts from the couple's registry, while another third will give money. Cash continues to be the preferred gift to receive for 55 percent of couples.

Wedding party attendants will spend even more, shelling out $618 on average, up 64 percent since 2012. For bridesmaids, 78 percent will purchase a new dress, though nearly three quarters say they won't wear it again. 

Food: The Way to A Guest's Heart

Wedding guests have high expectations for the celebrations, agreeing that delicious food is the most important component to a great wedding. 

Consistent with last year, guests agree that music and entertainment, cake, reception venue and wedding dress round out the top five most important wedding investments.

Passing on DIY, While Minding the Bottom Line

For betrothed couples, saying "I Do" to DIY is on the decline from 2013, down to 65 percent from 70 percent last year as fewer couples have or will assemble guest favors, create their own centerpieces  or print their own invitations or save the dates.

Though they weren't keen to do it themselves, most couples did try to mind their wallets and save money in certain areas, including:
  • Simplified their entire wedding 
  • Ditched their wedding planners
  • Pared down the guest list 
  • Chose the buffet over a plated dinner 
  • Selected a less expensive venue 

Couples were less willing to compromise on a trip away after the big day, with only 14 percent of couples planned to push back or alter honeymoon plans.

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