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Press release from Business Wire

Wedding Season: What You'll Spend to Attend

<p class='bwalignc'> 69 Million Americans to attend at least one wedding this year; Expect to spend $539 per wedding, up 59% from 2012 </p>

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wedding Season: What You'll Spend to Attend

12:08 EDT Monday, April 29, 2013

NEW YORK (Business Wire) -- Sixty-nine million Americans will attend one or more weddings this year, and they expect to spend 59% more than last year, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Guests are anticipating a cost of $539 per wedding, and most of that budget will go towards travel ($167), treating themselves to some new apparel and accessories ($161), and the couple's wedding gift ($108).

Infographic: Average Cost of a Wedding

Gifting: Registry vs. Cash

Wedding guests say they'll spend an average of $108 on gifts, up 15% from 2012. Not all gifts are created equal, however, and consumers will weigh factors like relationship to the bride or groom (45%) and budget at the time of the wedding (33%) before deciding how much to spend. For close family members, the average cost for a gift shoots up to $179, while co-workers will only reap $66 on average.

Thirty-five percent of guests prefer to purchase gifts from the couple's registry, while another 32% will give cash, and 14% will give gift cards. Although most Americans prefer to choose a gift from the registry, the majority of consumers(52%) say they'd actually prefer to receive cash (52%) if receiving a wedding gift.

Shorten it and Wear it Again?

Following “will you marry me?,” couples pop another important question – “will you be a bridesmaid/groomsmen?” For those who answer yes, they can expect to spend an average of $577, up from $377 in 2012, on everything from pre-wedding festivities to gifts and wedding party attire.

But what really happens to the bridesmaid gowns post-nuptials? Only about a third (34%)of former bridesmaids have or plan to wear the dress a second time. Slightly more (38%) have or plan to give away their dresses, either to a second hand store (31%) or to a friend or family member (7%).

Brides Simplify and DIY

When it comes to prioritizing the wedding budget, 67% of Americans agree the food, followed by the reception venue (56%), cake (55%), wedding dress (55%) and entertainment (55%) are most important to invest in to create the ultimate wedding experience.

With budgets in mind, 36% of married couples say they opted to pare down or even eliminate the reception itself. Others cut costs by foregoing a wedding planner (32%), selecting a less expensive venue (27%), cutting down the guest list (24%), selecting less expensive stationery (23%) or downgrading the décor (19%).

Seventy percent of married couples said they got crafty and opted for a DIY approach to save on wedding costs:

  • 24% assembled their own guest favors
  • 19% created their own centerpieces
  • 18% designed and printed their own invitations or save the date cards
  • 17% opted for a homemade wedding album
  • 12% ditched the DJ in favor of a homemade playlist

A few brave brides made their own wedding dress (6%) or baked and decorated their own cake (6%).

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research on the average cost of a wedding was completed online among a random sample of 1,518 adults, including the general U.S. population, an affluent demographic, defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000, and homeowners . Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between February 27 and March 1, 2013. These findings have a margin of error of ± 2.5 (total respondents) percentage points at the 95% 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 and connect with us on,,,, and

Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business travel, and corporate card.

American Express
Melanie Backs, 212-640-2164

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