NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Weddings are occasions to celebrate true love, but once you’ve opened up that invitation, be prepared to also open up your wallet. According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, Americans will attend an average of three weddings this year and anticipate spending an average of $703 per ‘big day,’ up 5% from last year ($673 in 2015). Millennials, as a generation, plan to spend the most on weddings ($893), significantly higher (by 27%) than the general population.
The Cost of True Friendship
Family and friends who make up a couple’s wedding party should expect to shell out even more money come wedding season: Members of the wedding party can expect to spend $743 (vs. $701 in 2015). Among the items contributing to the totals are airfare ($205), dressing up when in the wedding ($166), and childcare or pet care costs ($69). Similarly, Millennials in a wedding party expect to spend a whopping $928, the highest of any cohort.
"While being part of a wedding party is an honor, the pre-events and day-of costs can add up," said Jed Scala, Senior Vice President, Consumer Lending at American Express. "On the upside, the 'big day' itself can provide guests with a reason to indulge, enjoy a night out and even travel if it's a destination wedding."
“I Do” … Expect a Gift from You
And whether the wedding locale is far or near this year, Americans expect to spend an average of $127 on wedding gifts for relatives (vs. $142 in 2015), while the average amount to spend on a friend’s wedding is $99 (vs. $90 in 2015). Perhaps signaling the growing importance of friendships, the gap between family and friend gift spend has narrowed this year (58% vs. 28% in 2015). Popular wedding presents include registry gifts (37% vs 32% in 2015), which beat out cash (31% vs. 33% last year) for the number one preferred gift to give in 2016, and gift cards (13% vs. 14% in 2015).
Behind the Veil – Who Pays for What, and How Much Does it Cost?
Weddings can be a painstaking process to plan, especially if you’re footing the bill. Half of Americans (53%) are self-funding their weddings either through cash or paying a majority of the costs with credit and/or debit cards. On the other hand, a little more than one-third of couples (35%) receive support from the parents of the bride or groom.
Whether on a self-imposed budget or receiving parental funding, couples are applying a variety of cost-saving measures to their wedding planning. Top cost-cutting choices include:
- Simplifying the entire wedding by going to the courthouse or holding an intimate ceremony and reception (30%)
- Ditching the wedding planner (24%)
- Selecting a less expensive venue (21%)
Recently, DIY wedding projects have also become an alternative way to save money and add more of a personal touch to a wedding’s décor. The majority of married couples (55%) have completed some type of DIY wedding project such as making their own wedding album (22%), creating centerpieces (21%) or assembling guest favors (20%).
About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker
The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 1,803 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as an affluent demographic defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000. Interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity between February 19 and 24, 2016. The results have an overall margin of error of +/- 2.3 at the 95 percent level of confidence.
About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/company/american-express,twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.
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