Weddings are expensive affairs for the bride and groom, and their respective families — the average cost of a wedding in Canada is roughly $30,000 — but that doesn’t mean that guests don’t also feel the pinch of the wedding industrial complex.
According to a survey conducted by Priceline.com, millennials are spending upwards of US$600 on each wedding-related event. That means between the engagement party, shower, bachelor or bachelorette party (and/or stag and doe), and the wedding itself, guests could be shelling out in the thousands.
Unfortunately, what that means for this demographic (aged 21 to 34) is that 39 per cent of them will skip out on one or more of the events. And considering that 24 per cent say they’ll spend between US$800 and US$1,000 on a bachelor or bachelorette party, that might be a good one to sit out.
“A lot of people are making a shift towards going away for the bachelor or bachelorette party,” says Amanda Douglas, owner of Amanda Douglas Events in Winnipeg. “It’s hard to have any control over that as a guest.”
More men (60 per cent) than women (43) travel for the big send-off to the single years, and deciding on accommodations for these trips is the most stressful part of the journey.
Douglas says one way to curb the costs (and possibly circumvent the disagreements about accommodations) is to suggest something local, like going bar hopping in your own city, or going to someone’s cabin or cottage for a weekend.
There’s no shame, or offence taken, if you decide not to attend one of the events in question, either. Even if it’s the main one.
“You don’t have to attend every shower or every event related to the wedding,” Douglas says. “You can pick and choose what you want to be involved in based on how close you are to the couple.”
As for gift-giving etiquette, there’s no obligation to get the couple something if you don’t attend the wedding. You don’t have to give a wedding gift, either, if you went to the shower and brought a gift, Douglas says.
If you are attending the wedding and want to give a gift, take into consideration what your presence will cost the couple, between food, liquor and venue costs. Then tack on a little extra something.
“It’s up to you how much more you want to give,” Douglas says.
On the upside, almost 50 per cent of respondents said they’ll travel for the big day itself.
“Most people are fine with taking a trip, even a long one, for a wedding,” according to Brides. “The survey found that 47 per cent of those who travelled for a wedding did so because they wanted an excuse to travel, 67 per cent said they travelled specifically for the celebration, and 47 per cent said it was because they wanted to spend time with the couple.”
And a person’s presence at a wedding is often present enough for this generation.
“Millennials are more money conscious these days,” Douglas says. “There’s a shift in attitude around weddings that favours having guests there to celebrate and have a good time, rather than getting a big, extravagant gift.”