A couple of years back, I flew to Paris for the wedding of a dear friend. I spent untold amounts on plane tickets, staying in a little boutique hotel in the Marais, and all the obligatory gallivanting, eating, and drinking this type of trip inspires. We danced until 7 a.m. and watched the sunrise over the Seine. Emotionally, it was extremely worth it; financially, not so much. A freelancer at the time, I came home to a bright-red negative number in my bank account and immediately started hustling for gigs, any gigs.
Why am I telling this story? Because I’ve since learned that weddings — even ones where you have to fly to Paris — don’t have to be a financial burden on the guest. There’s an oft-cited survey from The Knot that found guests spending an average of $118 on a gift, $321 on travel, $322 on accommodations, and $81 on attire, with a grand total of over $800 spent per guest on each occasion. If you analyze these costs, you’ll find many avoidable expenses. Continue reading