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Wedding guests must navigate rising costs

A wedding isn't just a huge financial commitment for those getting married. It can even be a pricey event for those on the guest list.

While guests shouldn't be taking out loans to attend upcoming weddings, the cost for taking part in a wedding ceremony continues to snowball. The average wedding guest is expected to spend $673 per wedding in 2015. That's a major climb from the last two years, with prices escalating 13 percent from 2014 and 21 percent from 2013, according to new data from a financial institution.

What's driving the cost?
The average wedding guest isn't doling out $600-plus on wedding gifts. Most of the cost comes from traveling to a destination wedding or spending the weekend in a hotel if the wedding is out of town.

CNBC reported the average wedding guest will spend roughly $225 on airfare and another $170 on a hotel [1].

And that's just for the average guest. Those who have been asked to be in the bridal party will have to spend even more because they'll need to rent a tuxedo or purchase a gown.

Thinking about the guests
Lizze Post, co-host of the "Awesome Etiquette" podcast, told CNBC it's not necessarily up to the bride and groom to consider all of the costs that guests might amass when attending the wedding. The marrying couple has enough on their plate as it is.

"We really talk to brides and grooms … about how you have these three, sometimes four factors that are really paramount to making the decisions about your wedding," Post said. "After that, you have to let the chips fall where they may."

Post said every couple is different, but if a bride and groom puts emphasis on having all of their friends and family attend, their choices for a wedding venue might be much closer to home than marrying couples who are considering a smaller ceremony and wedding party.

How to limit the costs associated with attending a wedding
Money Crashers recommended guests should get the details of a wedding as soon as possible so they can plan accordingly [2]. In some cases, guests might be able to split hotel and travel costs in order to save some coin. If guests are familiar with other attendees, they might consider sharing a hotel room or splitting the cost on a housing rental if it is an out-of-town event.

Real Simple reported its best to book a flight as soon as the date is set. Many airlines charge an additional $30 for traveling at peak times or not booking far enough in advance [3].

A study from Expedia reported travelers tend to find the best deals booking 50 to 100 days in advance for domestic flights and up to 171 days in advance for international flights [4].

Wedding guests also shouldn't be afraid to say no. If the destination is too far or if the guest simply doesn't have enough cash to be involved in the wedding party, there is no shame in saying no.

Saving on a gift
While the cost of attending a wedding continues to climb, it's not because of rising expenditures toward wedding gifts. CNBC reported the average person who is friends with the couple spends $106 on a gift, a $3 decline from the previous year. The average family member of the bride and groom spends $142 on gifts, which is down from $150 in 2014.

"A gift should always be what's in your budget," Post said. "You can always find something that is simple and meaningful."

Post said it can be a smart move to team up with other guests when buying a gift.

[1]. Wedding guests face big bills to dance, eat cake

[2]. 6 Tips to Save on Wedding Expenses as a Guest

[3]. Simple Money-Saving Tips for Wedding Guests

[4]. Best Days to Book Flights are Tuesdays, 50-100 Days Before Travel, Expedia Study Concludes

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