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Attending a Wedding Is 59% More Expensive Than Last Year

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With the average price of attending a wedding on a steep uphill climb, there's no guarantee nuptial attendees will have enough money left in their bank account to make it home from chapel, let alone the reception hall.

The latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, released Monday, has some news on wedding invites that might induce sticker shock up and down a loving couple's guest list.

The tracker shows that 69 million Americans will attend a wedding this year, and that each can expect to spend 59% more doing so than they did last year.

The average wedding guest will pay $539 for the occasion, with the top three expenditures being:
  • $167 toward travel
  • $161 for clothes and accessories
  • $108 for the newlyweds' gift

What's more, the closer you are to the bride or groom, the more you'll spend. Family members can expect to pay $179 on average for a wedding gift, while co-workers will shell out only $66.

While most married couples want to get cash as a wedding gift (52%, according to Amex), 35% of guests will buy a gift from the newlywed's registry.

If you're actually supporting the newlyweds as a bridesmaid or best man, expect to pay about $577 to attend the ceremony -- that's way up from $377 last year. For bridesmaids, that's bad news financially. American Express (AXP - Get Report) says that 38% of bridesmaids plan to never wear their dress again, with 31% giving it away to a secondhand store and 7% foisting it upon a friend or family member.

According to the website, the groom's men-in-waiting take it in the chops too. The average cost of a decent tuxedo rental this year is $150, with quality rentals shooting up to $200 per outfit.

If you're in the camp that says you can't put a price on a friend or family member's wedding day, good for you.

But if you're with the rest of the planet in these harsh economic times, you may want to check your bank account before you check the "attending" box on that wedding invite you just got.

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