Including the pre-wedding party, transportation, hotel, clothing, accessories, and personal grooming, guests are expected to spend almost $600 per wedding this year, excluding the cost of gifts.
Boston, MA – September 23, 2014
Nearly 40 percent of budget-conscious consumers admitted to taking on debt in order to attend a wedding, according to a recent online poll conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling. These results come as the average amount spent to attend a wedding has increased by 10 percent in the last year alone, up from $539 to $592. This marks a 75 percent jump in just two years, according to a new American Express survey.
American Consumer Credit Counseling has created an infographic to illustrate their findings and other statistics on wedding costs.
“Between travel, hotel, time off from work, and personal attire, the costs to attend a wedding can really add up,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of the Boston-based nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling. “In order to rein in spending, it’s important to budget, plan ahead and accept your financial reality. Most people know months in advance if they are invited to a wedding, which should allow enough time to set money aside. No matter the scenario, no family or friend wants to see a guest go into debt to attend their wedding.”
As the cost of attending weddings continues to rise, guests are spending less and less on the gifts, with 50 percent of people spending less than $100 on wedding gifts. This is especially evident in older generations. The ACCC poll showed that 67 percent of those aged 55 or older spend less than $100 on gifts, while 56 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 35 spend between $100 and $250 dollars.
Although couples are spending increasingly more on their guests—TheKnot.com reports that couples spend $220 per guest on food and entertainment—ACCC’s poll reported that 75 percent of guests do not feel the need to give based on what is equal to the cost of their attendance. Again, younger people are shown to spend more, as only 14 percent of those older than 55 take wedding costs into consideration when giving a gift in contrast to 33 percent of 18 to 35 year olds.
TheKnot.com recommends that in dividing up cost expenses, 20 percent should be spent on the engagement gift, 20 percent is to be spent on the bridal shower, and 60 percent of finances should be allocated toward the wedding gift.
Interestingly, 40 percent of people reported that they typically give cash or checks as a gift, with 23 percent of people reporting that they give specific gifts.
“Americans have found it necessary to become more selective about the weddings they choose to attend,” said Steve Trumble “The climbing costs required just to attend a wedding are starting to effect guests’ ability to give substantial gifts, which puts pressure on close friends and family.”
In a similar survey conducted last year by ACCC, 43 percent of people had to decline a wedding invitation due to lack of funds, while 36 percent of people have willingly gone into debt to be able to attend a wedding – 43 percent of whom are between the ages of 35 and 44.
Trumble added, “These monetary burdens call for the necessity of financial education including budgeting skills and the ability to plan ahead. Americans should not have to go into unwanted debt for unexpected expenses like attending a wedding.”
According to ACCC, there are several steps leading up to the event that attendees and wedding participants can take to avoid debt.
- Before you accept, determine what your financial commitment will be and be honest with yourself. If it’s a bridesmaid or groomsman, your financial commitment will be much larger than just attending the wedding.
- Don’t immediately agree to the dress or tux; do some research to see if you can find your outfit for less.
- Consider group gifts to save on expenses.
- Split any hotel costs by bunking up with friends.
- Hold the pre-wedding parties over the same weekend so that if you have to travel you are doing it all in one weekend and save yourself multiple trips.
- Set a savings goal specifically for this special event.
- Put that money into a separate savings account and draw as necessary.
The wedding invitation and finances poll is the latest in a series of ACCC web surveys for 2014 that focus on a variety of financial education, budgeting, and planning topics. The latest online survey can be found at https://www.consumercredit.com/
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
- For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
- For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
- For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
- Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. Each month, ACCC invites consumers to participate in a poll focused on personal finance issues. The results are conveyed in the form of infographics that act as tools to educate the community on everyday personal finance issues and problems. By learning more about financial management topics such as credit and debt management, consumers are empowered to make the best possible financial decisions to reach debt relief. As one of the nation’s leading providers of personal finance education and credit counseling services, ACCC’s certified credit advisors work with consumers to help determine the best possible debt solutions for them. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. To participate in this month’s poll, visit ConsumerCredit.com and for more financial management resources visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.