Between wedding showers, engagement parties and ceremonies, the cost of celebrating the happy couple can put a strain on guests’ budgets during wedding season. In fact, Canadians plan to spend an average total of $776 on wedding-related gifts for each wedding they attend this year, according to

This could be why a strong majority (81%) feels the cost to attend weddings has climbed and nearly two-thirds (65%) think weddings are a financial burden for guests.

Read: Help clients plan beyond their weddings

“Seventy-seven percent of Canadians feel brides and grooms are throwing more lavish weddings to keep up with the Joneses, which puts pressure on guests to purchase impressive gifts,” says Kristen Nelson of RetailMeNot, Inc. “When shopping from a gift registry, be sure to search for coupons and sales that apply to the items on their wish list. Additionally, going in on a big gift with a couple of friends or co-workers is a great way to maximize your budget and increase the overall impact of your gift.”

It’s not just gift costs that are wearing on wedding guests’ budgets; new outfits are a major expense. Wedding guests spend an average of $325 to look their best on someone else’s big day. Men outspend women on new wedding attire by $334. Savvy ladies look for ways to save by borrowing outfits (33%) and jewelry (39%) to avoid outfit repeats and keep costs low.

Looking for additional ways to save this wedding season, 42% of Canadians plan to research online before buying a gift in-store, and 23% have searched for a coupon or promotion for wedding gifts in the past. In fact, the penny pinch is so intense that nearly half of Canadians (47%) will opt out of attending a wedding altogether if they cannot afford a gift.

Read: Wedding budgeting isn’t just for the bride and groom

More than half of the country (53%) believes brides and grooms expect too much from wedding guests; however, brides and grooms are not the only ones with great expectations. According to the survey, guests decide the value of their gift based on the expected wedding experience. For example, Canadians spend more on gifts for weddings with an open bar versus those with a cash bar ($148 versus $103). Additionally, a close family member will also receive the highest value gift at $231 per person while a casual co-worker receives an average of $80.

Other survey findings:

  • 54% of Canadians prefer to give cash, making it the most popular gift option;
  • 91% of Canadians who have had a wedding in the past believe that today’s weddings have gotten more expensive to host;
  • The average guest count for a Canadian wedding is 102 attendees;
  • The reception is the part of the wedding guests enjoy the most (83%), while the high price tag to attend weddings is the strongest dislike (72%); and
  • 55% of those who have had a wedding paid for the majority of it themselves.

Read: The price of love

Originally published on

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