- Nearly a quarter of Gen Z and Millenials are losing friends and family over the financial cost associated with attending a wedding or wedding-related event (23%)
- 42% of Gen Z and millennials feel obligated to attend weddings or wedding-related events, even if they can’t afford it
- 31% of Gen Z and millennials have regretted attending a wedding or wedding-related event because the cost to attend was more than they could afford
The impact of the 2021 “wedding boom” has resulted in continued demand, driving up costs across the industry. Regardless, some brides and grooms feel an increased pressure to keep up with appearances, planning elaborate weddings among the likes of influencers and celebrities – hello, Sofia Richie – or even random people on social media thanks to the rise of “Wedding Tok.” The race to the most elaborate altar has raised costs for not only the couple getting married, but also guests—and it’s taking a toll on peoples’ friendships.
According to a recent study by Qualtrics on behalf of Intuit Credit Karma, nearly a quarter of Gen Z and Millenials (23%) are losing friends and family over the financial costs associated with attending a wedding or wedding-related event (bachelor/bachelorette party, wedding shower, etc.).
The evolution of the stag/hen party
What started as a night out on the eve of a wedding has turned into days-long vacations at destinations all around the world. The problem: not everyone can afford it and it’s starting to drive a wedge between some wedding hosts and their guests.
This was especially common among younger generations who also admitted feelings of financial instability (36% of millennials and Gen Z). Despite this, many young people still feel obligated to attend certain nuptial related events, often leading to feelings of regret. According to the study, 42% of Gen Z and millennials feel obligated to attend weddings or wedding-related events.
As a result, many are left with feelings of regret. Nearly one-third of Gen Z and millennials (30%) say they regretted attending a wedding or wedding-related event because the cost to attend was more than they could afford.
My presence is a present
Travel costs are up 9% in the past year and 20% since 2019. For those with far and away wedding-related events on the books, the cost of traveling could add up quickly if they’re not planful.
Zooming out, 23% of Americans who plan to attend a wedding this year estimate they’ll spend more than $1,001 per wedding. On top of that, 38% of those attending a wedding or wedding related event plan to spend the same amount on bachelor/bachelorette parties, with another 13% anticipating they’ll spend north of $2,000.
Budgeting could be more manageable for those attending just one wedding or wedding-related event this year, which is the case for 20% of Americans with travel plans or who are unsure if they will travel this summer. However, not so much for the 27% of the aforementioned group who plan to attend 3 or more weddings or the 41% who plan on attending 3 or more bachelor/bachelorette parties in the same time frame.
To offset the cost, Gen Z who plan to attend a wedding or bachelor/bachelorette party are down to bail on gifts if it means they’re able to attend the wedding and related events, with 31% of Gen Z respondents saying they will give less of a gift and another 11% saying they will skip the gift altogether. This is less true for older generations who seem to place a lot of emphasis on gift giving at weddings.
Regretfully, I am unable to attend
Still, a large group of wedding guests are dismissing the feeling of obligation altogether and opting for financial stability over friendships. According to the survey, 38% of Gen Z and millennials are skipping a wedding and/or wedding-related events entirely because they can’t afford it.
“The expectations of wedding guests have expanded over the years. What was once an isolated event has turned into multiple events, trips and celebrations spanning over a year or possibly more,” said Courtney Alev, consumer financial advocate for Credit Karma. “While this can be a really exciting time, it can become costly and even unaffordable for many people. That’s why it’s important to have conversations about money with friends and family before the event. While these conversations can be uncomfortable, it’s important to open that line of communication to avoid causing a rift in a friendship. Try to have a conversation early about what events are most important to the bride and groom, and be open about what you can and cannot afford. From there create a budget that works for you so that you’re still able to celebrate the people you love in a way that doesn’t put stress on your finances. It’s not worth going into debt to attend events you cannot afford, especially if it leads to resentment.”
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma between May 8, 2023 and May 9, 2023 among 1,009 adults ages 18 and older.