It seems that every time we think that our calendar is clear there is yet another birthday party, baby shower or wedding that we must attend – and while we love spending time with family and friends – each event that we attend comes with a cost.  This March, released the results of a survey/report titled, “The Average Cost of Being a Wedding Guest”.  The survey was conducted with 2,228 18yrs+ adults in the US and when I saw the results I was a little perplexed, to say the least.  Sidebar – do you know anyone that has ever participated in these surveys?  Seriously – who are they surveying?

According to the report, on average, members of the bridal party spend $728, which includes attire, travel, gifts and the wedding related events (bridal shower, bachelorette, etc.).  Oh, my apologies, people who live in the northeast region of the US can expect to spend an additional $348 for a grand total of $1,070.  If you are a guest attending the wedding of a close friend or family member, expect to spend around $628, on average.

So, I took to my Coordinated Bride sisterhood on Instagram for their thoughts on the survey results and 130 real brides and wedding guests SOUNDED OFF!

@c.shepp_ absolutely disagreed with the results saying that “…distant friends/family and maybe some close family members don’t event buy gifts other than a card.  They come to the wedding events to show face.  They (they’re) def (definitely) not spending more than $50.”

Can the church say amen?  Do close family members feel exempt from buying a gift or leaving dollars in the wedding card box?  They still partake in libations and party like rock stars though!

@covesakellyevents made a valid point in her comment. “Are we assuming everyone is in the city of the wedding? No travel and accommodations?  If so, this is a fair average.”

While @jou0329 begged to differ. “Wow as a bridesmaid we spent way more last year, had to have the best for THE BEST”

So does that means that it depends on your relationship to the bride and groom?  Are you willing to spend more if you have a close relationship? Uhm…as a bridal party member shouldn’t you have a close relationship with the bride and groom?  It really doesn’t matter how long you’ve know the bride.  True friendship can’t be measured by time.

@ri_ri_jasckson84 was reading my mind when she commented “I think these numbers are pretty accurate, for a distant friend we spent about that and that was for a hotel and Uber plus the gift and not including our clothes.  But for the other two categories I would say you spend at least that much if you’re (a) committed party member. So(some) people join and aren’t fully committed to what it takes to be in the role of a bridesmaid.”  She hit the nail on the head with this one.

@cynquinetta said “I put $1K on the side for the last wedding when I accepted the invite to be a bridesmaid.  It was worth EVERY damn penny from beginning to end.”

Smart bridesmaid!  The bride usually pops the question to her bridal party 8 months to a year in advance.  Plan to SAVE money for the wedding and related festivities.  This way you are not bombarded with expenses once you ACCEPT the proposal.  Start planning and saving early!

@fallenpages__ offered a reminder, “This is all pennies compared to what the couple actually spend(s) on the wedding anyways.”

Here I go playing devil’s advocate again – Isn’t it their wedding?  The couple definitely gets to dictate the amount that they spend and can afford on their own wedding so shouldn’t a guest be able to dictate how much they can spend and afford on a gift?  Just because the couple paid $200 per plate and place setting, does that mean I have to put $200 in the wedding card box?   If as a guest I am underwhelmed by the food and centerpeices, can I take $50 out of the card? #IJS

And what about destination weddings?

@houseofflores says, “This is why I’m cutting the shower and bachelorette party. I don’t want guests spending too much but it’s a also a destination wedding.”

You can have a wedding weekend full of festivities for your guests and bridal party.  Maybe have them come out a day or two early to enjoy the wedding destination/location and make sure that you have welcome bags and activities planned.

According to the report millennials (ages 18-37) give the least, spending an average of $57 on wedding gifts when in the wedding party, $47 for close friends/family when not in the wedding party, and $48 for more distant relationships.  Uhm – millennials are too busy paying their school loans – hello!

On the more serious side, don’t cringe the next time you receive a wedding invitation or even a bridesmaid proposal.  It is absolutely okay to decline the invitation and the proposal.  The bride and groom invited you to join in their happiness, if you cannot afford to do so, please just say “No”.  This will save you and the couple some stress, sleepless nights and in the end saying “no” can possibly save your friendship.

XOXO, Jules