It’s wedding season and if you’ve been invited to a wedding, be prepared to spend quite a bit of money according to an American Express survey published by MarketWatch.

After surveying 1,500 Americans this year, the survey found the cost to attend a wedding has jumped 75 percent in the past two years, with guests doling out an average of $592 per event.  This average total factors in transportation, hotel arrangements, clothing, personal grooming, and pre-wedding activities – but not the gift.  That’s extra.  MarketWatch says guests are still spending just as much, if not slightly more, on gifts as they were two years ago.

If you are part of the wedding party, the study states your costs may be higher than the guests, averaging $618 per person.

American Express blames the correlating rise in costs on the couples throwing their wedding.  Each year the bar is raised by couples planning elaborate celebrations, including destination weddings, which heightens the expectations for their guests.   It can be argued that these “lavish” arrangements can be blamed on the increase in “celebrity weddings” and reality TV, influencing couples to create a similar event.  And don’t forget Pinterest with hundreds of pins on “Howe to Wow your Wedding Guests”.

However, MarketWatch says cash-strapped guests can find solace in knowing that couples are also spending more than ever to “make it worth the trip.”

According to this report by The Knot, released in March 2014, couples throwing a wedding spent $220 per guest on food and entertainment in 2013, up nearly 8% on the $204 they spent in 2012.

Couples are concentrating on creating an experience for guests.  From the rehearsal dinner, additional guest entertainment, after-parties and morning- after brunches = they are investing more on you, the guest.  But in return, you will most likely be spending more to attend.  And, can you afford it?

Have you ever added up what you’ve spent to attend a wedding?  How close are they to the numbers listed above?

– S.O.