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Weddings get too costly — for guests

43% say they’ve declined invitations because of the expense
By Quentin Fottrell MarketWatch

Throwing a wedding costs a fortune. Going to one isn’t a bargain either. As guests struggle to afford to attend, the bride and the groom both could end up left at the altar, a new survey suggests.

As the cost of attending weddings increases, so does the volume of RSVPs marked “Declines with regret.” Some 43% of Americans say they’ve declined to attend a wedding for financial reasons, according to a new poll by the American of Consumer Credit Counseling. The average cost of attending a wedding — including expenses like hotel stays, bachelor and bachelorette parties, child care, and party attire — reached roughly $539 this year, up 60% from 2012, according to anAmerican Express survey. Of course, that pales in comparison to the cost of hosting a wedding: $28,400 on average last year, according to wedding website

Even so, the pressure to attend the wedding of a close friend or family member can be so strong that guests will go into debt to be there: 36% of people say they’ve gone into debt to attend a friend’s wedding, according to the American Consumer Credit Counseling, a non-profit financial advisory in Auburndale, Mass.

Regrets (and acceptances, for that matter) should be sent as soon as possible, experts say, to allow the bride and groom time to plan accordingly and possibly even send invites to friends they thought they didn’t have room for.

Etiquette experts are divided over whether an invitee who sends regrets still needs to give a gift. “Although it used to be considered obligatory to send a wedding gift, it’s not necessary now to do so if you are not good friends or close relatives to the bride and groom — especially if you live far away from where the wedding is taking place,” says Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder and director of The Etiquette School of New York.  ...more


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