The wedding boom of 2022 comes at a time when many Americans are trying to make ends meet, especially with the high cost of gas, travel, and other expenses.

According to The Wedding Report, 2.5 million weddings are expected to happen this year, the most since 1984.

Meanwhile, a new Bankrate.com survey shows that nearly a quarter of U.S. adults feel pressured to spend more on gifts than they are comfortable doing.

But there are ways to save money and still give a nice wedding gift to the happy couple.

Kim Forrest, senior editor at Wedding Wire, said guests spent on average $160 on wedding gifts in 2021. That’s a $20 increase from 2019. Keep in mind, that the average cost of attending a wedding overall in 2021 was $460, which is up from $430 in 2019.

What is your relationship to the couple?

Forrest said how much a guest should give depends on their relationship with the couple.

Family and close friends can spend more than the average $160 but she said acquaintances and co-workers who don’t have that close-knit relationship can get away with giving less than that.

Forrest also said members of the wedding party may also spend a little less on the actual wedding gift because they are already spending so much on the “overall wedding experience.” That would include the dress, tuxedo, accessories, the bridal shower, and the bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Do I need to cover the plate?

She also said a wedding is not a pay-to-play experience, meaning, don’t get caught up in the notion of trying to “cover the plate.”

“It’s not so much how much you think the couple is spending on you, but rather it is about your relationship to the couple,” Forrest said.

That’s why wedding registries are so important because couples are providing options for the guests of the gifts that they would like.

Just by choosing something from the wedding registry, you’re giving the couple what they want, making it a positive gift-giving experience overall, she added.

How can couples and guests help each other save some money?

Inflation has certainly put a squeeze on people’s wallets, so Forrest said the bride and groom should think about what their guests will be spending overall to celebrate their happy day. A big part of that is accommodations, she said.

If guests have to travel for the wedding, it’s no surprise that travel costs are on the rise. So, if the couple books a block of rooms at a hotel near the wedding venue, they can help pass on cost savings to guests, which is helpful, Forrest said.

For guests, trying to book those travel and accommodations as early as possible can help save money in the long run.

She said to think about attire. There is no need to buy a new suit or dress to attend the wedding. Look for something lovely in your closet or think about renting a suit.

How about choosing something off the gift registry?

The couple would be wise to provide guests with a wide range of gifts on the wedding registry with a wide range of prices because there are going to be guests with different financial circumstances. Plus, giving guests a plethora of options, is really helpful, she said.

Group gifting is a great way for guests to save money on the wedding gift, too.
“Many times couples will put larger ticket items on their registry. Luggage, for example, which can be quite expensive,” Forrest said.

But then, guests can go in with other friends or family members to purchase that group gift and spend less overall.

The best part is that everyone can chip in what they can afford, but everyone’s name goes on the card and the newlyweds never have to know who contributed what amount.

Not attending the wedding? Forrest said it would still be nice to send a small gift to the bride and groom. In this particular instance, look at the couple’s registry and choose something from there.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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