To be invited to witness a couple say their vows is great, but what if it came with a financial cost? Research from ING DIRECT revealed that attending a wedding burns a hole in a guest’s pocket with an average Australian paying $694 to attend and even going as far as $1,300 before they consider skipping the nuptials altogether.
More than half (56%) of those who participated in the research say they believe the cost of being a wedding guest has gone up while over a quarter (26%) admit having not attended a wedding to save themselves from the financial pinch.
A major contributor to this increase in cost is the rise in popularity of destination weddings. On average, Australians fork out nearly $300 on wedding-related travel and accommodation. Despite the draw cards of weddings held on tropical islands or other exotic locations, almost half (46%) of people think it’s somewhat selfish for couples to expect guests to spend a significant amount of money just to attend their wedding.
Spending on actually going to the event is one thing. The gift that guests bring to the wedding is another. The research found that when it comes to wedding gifts, those in Western Australia are the most generous, averaging at $184 per gift. However, one in three (32%) Western Australians say they’ve skipped a wedding because the cost was too expensive—the highest percentage of all the states.
Other than taking a financial toll, psychologist Amanda Gordon also explained that the monetary burden have an adverse psychological effect.
“We all love a wedding and want the best for the bride and groom. However, our love for our friends and family can make us behave in a manner that is to our own detriment. We celebrate so well, and so expensively, that we risk reducing our own happiness in the future.
Australians’ generosity with gifts and the added pressure of high travel costs is causing stress which can manifest itself in other areas of our lives. Weddings should be a joyous occasion, so practicing ‘money mindfulness’ - being aware and in control of where your money is going - is the best way to ensure you enjoy yourself without the worry,” said Gordon.
Of course, especially if the couple being wed is close to our hearts, we go the extra mile despite the financial costs. But, we don’t have to burn a hole in our pockets to be part of the celebration!
Here are five tips for being a money-savvy wedding guest:
1. Budget ahead of time: If you know you have a lot of weddings coming up, don’t just plan your outfit, plan your finances. Figure out what you can afford and how much you need to save before wedding season to avoid debt dramas.
2. Be selective: Think about how you manage multiple weddings - you don’t have to attend the engagement party, hens/bucks and kitchen tea for every wedding you’re invited to. Pick and choose wedding events based on your budget. And don’t be afraid to respectfully decline an invitation if you simply can’t afford it.
3. Embrace group discounts: Getting your hair done with friends, buying a wedding present with others or getting a jumbo taxi are all nifty ways to cut costs as a group.
4. Hack the outfit: Instead of buying a new dress, you can rent designer outfits from companies like Glam Corner or Your Closet from as little as $50. If you’re set on buying something, pick an outfit that is versatile and can be accessorised to look different so you can wear it to multiple weddings.
5. Pay back any credit expenses ASAP: If you need a short-term credit solution to cover your amazing limo arrival be sure to pay it back quickly.
The next time you’re invited to a wedding, think about these five things first so you don’t leave a hole in your wallet after the celebration.
ABOUT THE EXPERT
ING DIRECT changed the way Australians bank 16 years ago by launching the country’s first high interest, fee free online savings account. Since then, they’ve brought this low fee value to home loans, transactional banking and superannuation. With over 1.5 million customers – and $34 billion in savings and $38 billion in mortgages – ING DIRECT has the highest Net Promoter Score (advocacy) of any bank in Australia.