How Much Did I Spend As a Wedding Guest?

Trust me, it’s worth the planning

Wedding season is back in action, and we are all absolutely thrilled. Right guys?

C’mon, it’s not that bad. You get to wear a nice outfit, sip on delicious (sometimes overpriced) cocktails, and bathe in the beautiful love story of well, someone else.

It’s expensive to have a wedding. I should know. I had one of my own, and at just 35 guests I still spent more than most people try to. However, it’s also expensive to be in a wedding party, and equally as expensive just to attend. I think.

I’ll be the first one ever (probably not, but still) to budget out how much it cost me to attend a wedding as purely, a guest.

According to this very scientific article, the average person will attend 15 weddings across their lifetime, and will spend an average of $11,135.46 attending those weddings. Yeah, you read that right. $11 grand to watch other people say "I do" and dance to a corny love song. It’s kind of crazy.

I mean, you should consider how many of those are close friends, family, and just acquaintances, but still. It’s not a cheap life expense. In fact, it's the latter.

Just two short days ago I was at one myself. My brother in law got married. And it was adorable. Everything about their wedding screamed “WE CAN’T GET ANY CUTER THAN THIS FOLKS”. So, if you two happen to stumble upon this blog post, congratulations on being the hottest new married couple around.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop stalling and get to my point. Here is how much I spent as a wedding guest:

Attire - $245

This is always my worst nightmare. What is appropriate wedding attire after all? Some require more casual, some require more fancy, and for this one I just didn’t want to wear the wrong color and look out of place in family photos. I opted for a navy blue jumpsuit (so that I could dance like a fool), and also that I could wear again either casually or professionally. It rang in at $194. I also had to buy some shoes because I didn’t own any that matched very well (or that weren’t scuffed beyond belief). Those rang in at $51.

Media - $40

Here comes the worlds most unusual category, and something that most people wouldn’t need to consider in their budget. Although, they might require something else strange that no one else understands either. I spent $40 on some software to create the bride & grooms' wedding slideshow, and I also spent my time (which cannot be valued realistically) filming and editing a small wedding video to help them cut back on expenses.

Accommodations - $301

As the wedding was a short drive out of town, we didn’t have to worry about paying for a flight, which isn’t always avoidable. We did however, require booking a hotel room for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. This rang in at $602, but I am lucky enough to have a husband to split this expense with, meaning a small-ish $301.

Events and Gifts - $362.60

As you know, wedding events leading up to the big day can also add up quickly. I attended a bridal shower and bachelorette to celebrate the beautiful bride to be. I purchased a gift for the bridal shower, a small gift for the bachelorette, and spent money on the evening of the bachelorette on dinner and drinks. We also opted to give cash as a wedding gift (because that’s literally the best gift ever), and I purchased a super cute wedding card online. Sometimes I can justify spending money on a good wedding card because people actually like to keep those ones. Or is that just me?

Day of Costs – $40

If you know me, you’ll know I love a good couple (10) cocktails at a wedding. What’s the point in celebrating each others love if you can remember every second of it? Drink tickets were $5 a pop (to control hooligans like me), and I purchased, well, you can do the math. I justified this because I did my own hair and makeup. Look how pretty I am, everyone.

Total cost as a wedding guest: $948.60

Did I have to spend as much as I did? Absolutely not. I didn't need to buy a new outfit, spend as much on gifts, or buy as many drinks.


The thing about weddings is that although they can be quite costly to have and to attend, they can also provide us with some of the best memories of our lives. Money isn’t always easy to avoid spending when you’re having a good time and investing in the company of new people you never would have met otherwise. So for me, it felt justified. Which is something we spend a lot of time doing when it comes to our financial decisions.

For those of you expecting to attend a few weddings this summer (like me), then try to set a budget now to prepare for the times you’ll need to book flights, accommodations, and buy outfits. Trust me, it’s worth the planning. In fact, putting away $20 a week at the start of each year for "events" and "weddings" might be the budget saver you never knew you needed.

What's the most you've spent as a guest at a wedding? Let me know in the comments!