The world is getting green again. Everywhere, people are lining up at garden centers, shopping carts loaded with spring flowers. Suburban neighborhoods are full of the buzzing of lawn mowers, and everywhere are signs of new life. And one rite of spring is already happening as the mailman brings wedding invitations for the summer wedding season.
According to The Wedding Report, which compiles statistics on weddings and the wedding industry, the number of weddings in the U.S. has climbed each year since bottoming out after the 2008 recession. The website pulled statistics from a number of sources to report that 2.21 million couples got married in 2016. The average cost of a wedding: just under $27,000. All that activity supported a growing industry which brought in more than $59 billion that year.
Weddings are a symbol of hope and anticipation for most people and bring the excitement of seeing a couple in love start their lives together. But it also means there is travel to arrange, as well as gifts and clothing to buy, functions to attend, and all kinds of decisions to make.
While the bride and groom and their families will bear most of the cost, for some attendees — especially those in the wedding party — it could get expensive. According to a new report from Bankrate.com, the average wedding-party member can expect to spend an average of $728 when it’s all said and done.
Members of the wedding party not only have dresses and tuxes to consider, they also are expected to attend bachelor/bachelorette parties, wedding shower, gifts and more. And that cost escalates if the wedding requires distant travel. But even guests who are not part of the wedding party can expect to spend an average of $628, Bankrate says, with more-distant friends and family members paying about half that. All that expense can break a budget if not anticipated. In previous studies, Bankrate reported that only 39 percent of people have enough savings to cover an unexpected expense of $1,000.
“Wedding season can be a stressful time, and not just for the bride and groom,” noted Bankrate.com analyst Robert Barba. “While it’s fun to celebrate with friends and loved ones, the associated costs add up fast and can wreak havoc on your budget if you’re not prepared. It’s imperative to start planning early — open a dedicated savings account to start your own wedding fund. However, you shouldn’t go into debt to celebrate others. If you feel you can’t afford the financial burden of attending, think twice before RSVPing.”
There are some ways to avoid a financial catastrophe if you’re about to attend a wedding. One of the best suggestions is to begin setting aside $100 a month the moment your friend or family member announces their engagement on social media. That’s well before the invitations and save-the-date cards go out, giving you extra notice. Since the average engagement lasts about 15 months, that should give you plenty of time to build up savings. And putting money away in savings is something we all need more of, anyway.
For more tips on how to save money when attending a wedding, Forbes’ Jennifer Calonia has an excellent article at https://bit.ly/2pQ7sld.