Invited to a Wedding in NJ? Do the Math Before You Say ‘Yes’
Weddings can be expensive, and not only for the couple getting married.
According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, the average American will attend three weddings in 2016 and spend more than $700 per event. That's up 5 percent from last year.
The analysis, which interviewed 1,803 adults, finds the final tab is even higher for invited guests who are also part of the wedding party.
The costs go beyond just a gift for the happy couple. Adding to the total are travel costs — which include airfare in some cases — as well as hotel bookings and finding something to wear.
This can be a hard hit to the wallet for people who respond "yes" to multiple weddings in one season, according to Steven Crevar, a certified financial planner with JFL Total Wealth Management in Boonton.
"It's definitely something you want to budget because it's not just a gift that you're giving," Crevar said.
Once you receive the invitation or save-the-date, and your plan is to respond "yes," Crevar said it may be smart to put a few bucks aside per month and cut back on some non-essentials so the financial hit isn't so severe when the big day comes.
A last-resort option, he said, is dipping into your emergency fund, only if you know you can replenish it afterwards.
If coming up with hundreds of dollars in a matter of months seems impossible, there's always the option of skipping the event.
"You want to really think it out. Think how close you are to the people," Crevar said.
Even if you don't attend but still send a gift, Crevar said, that could save you a significant amount of money.
In the American Express survey, Americans expect to spend an average of $127 on wedding gifts for relatives, and $99 on friends.