Think weddings are expensive for the bride and the groom? Well, even as a wedding guest, your bill just to set foot in the venue and watch your friends say "I do" will cost you a pretty penny. The average cost of a wedding for a guest in 2016 was over $700, according to recent research. Wondering what makes a wedding weekend that expensive? Here are the six things wedding guests are paying for.
1. Car Service
With the convenience of having a car pull up at your doorstep within minutes with apps like Uber, renting a car or even filling up a gas tank is something that people aren't doing as much of anymore. Rides to and from the airport, or to and from the wedding venue, can easily add up, so it's best to split these rides with other guests attending.
2. A Pre-Wedding Gift
Heading to the engagement party or even the bridal shower? You'll need to carry a gift with you. But don't worry about splurging on something that'll break the bank; a pre-wedding gift should be something not too expensive, whether it's off the couple's registry, a bottle of bubbly, or even something homemade.
3. An Actual Wedding Gift
Thought you were one and done with the gifts? You'll need to get another gift for the actual wedding, but don't feel like you need to give a gift that night, even if it's cash or a check. You have a full year after the wedding to send a congratulatory present.
4. A Place to Crash
It might be a good idea to book a hotel room for the night before and the night of the wedding, especially if you're traveling from far away. That way, you don't have to worry about rushing to get to the wedding on the day of or be concerned with driving home late at night after the celebration ends. If getting a hotel is just too big a strain on your wallet, check out AirBnB or get a group of friends together and split a hotel room for the weekend.
5. A Way to Get There
Here's where you'll find yourself spending the most cash. Whether you're flying, taking a train, or renting a car and driving cross-country, aim to book your travel plans in advance to avoid hiked up fees and last-minute stress.
6. Something to Wear
With the presence of social media, you can't dare wear the same outfit to two weddings in a row, right? Wrong. Especially if you can't afford to buy a new dress for your eighth wedding of the year. Pro tip: Wear the same go-to gown or suit, but pair it with new or different accessories to make the old dress look brand new on the 'Gram.
Jen Glantz is a "professional bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaids' dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.