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% from last year and a staggering 75% jump from 2012, with most of the budget going to travel & accommodations ($308) and special attire and accessories ($164). Guests are not the only ones splurging: although most couples still vie to keep wedding costs under control (72% vs. 74% in 2013), many will spend a little more to do a little less as the DIY trend declines, down 5 percentage points from last year.
“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 MoreAs 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, on par with last year ($108) and up 16% since 2012 ($94). If the recipient is a close family member, the average cost of a gift doubles to $200, up 20% from 2012. Similar to last year, a third of consumers (33%) will purchase these gifts from the couple’s registry, while another third (33%) will give money. Cash continues to be the preferred gift to receive for 55% of couples, up from 52% in 2013.