Wedding Guest Debt Is Officially A Thing — This Survey Shows Why

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If you’ve ever attended a wedding, you know how pricey being a guest can be. Between the gift, travel expenses, and other miscellaneous wedding costs, it turns out that some people are spending thousands of dollars celebrating other people’s big day. While being with your friends and family is often worth it, is it worth going into debt over?

According to a new report by Credit Karma, 20 percent of Americans are actually going into debt due to these staggering costs. Of the people surveyed, 21 percent have racked up between $500 and $1,000 in debt while 5 percent have accrued more than $5,000.

The breakdown of the priciest expenses for guests aren’t shocking either: Credit Karma reports that 58 percent said gifts, 44 percent said pre-wedding events and showers, 43 percent said outfits, and 42 percent said travel. Being in the bridal party is an even larger financial burden, as 23 percent of those surveyed said they’ve gone into debt due for a bachelor or bachelorette party.

Matters are made worse by the fact that friend groups tend to get married within a few years of each other, resulting in various wedding expenses piling up on top of each other with no time to recover.

Increasing market costs and extravagant wedding choices aside, the main reason for accruing wedding guest debt is simply not knowing how to say no. Almost half of the survey takers said they felt obliged to attend a bachelorette party, 34 percent said they wanted to avoid offending a friend with a “no” RSVP, and sadly, 27 percent admitted they didn’t want their friends to know they were struggling financially.

While we understand turning things down can be tough, for a number of reasons, it’s important to choose your commitments so that you don’t take on burdensome obligations. Before committing to an RSVP, take a good look at your finances to decide if it’s doable. If it’s not, speak to your friend directly and explain your situation. If he or she gets angry at you for being honest about your situation, is that really someone you want to be your friend anyway?
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