A wedding party's big spenders: groomsmen?

When it comes to shelling out big bucks for a wedding, it isn’t all about the bride. Groomsmen, surprisingly, are spending more on being in weddings than bridesmaids.

Adrees Latif/Reuters/File
Model Melissa August of District of Columbia presents a creation named 'Audrey' by designer Amber Mills ahead of the 10th annual toilet paper wedding dress contest in Midtown, New York (June 12, 2014).

When it comes to shelling out big bucks for a wedding, it isn’t just the bride and groom who are shelling out big bucks to celebrate good times. 

According to a new study from GoBankingRates.com, a personal finance and consumer banking website, bridesmaids and groomsmen are paying up to $1,000 on average just to be part of the wedding party. Surprisingly enough, it’s groomsmen who are spending more than their bridesmaid peers.

The survey, which pulled from 1,005 respondents, found that when it comes to celebrating a wedding, groomsmen tend to outspend their female counterparts on everything from bachelor party celebrations to incidental expenses. The average groomsman today spends $998.78 on a bachelor party, nearly twice as much as the typical maid of honor, who spends $552.23 to create the perfect bachelorette party.

"It does look like not only are groomsmen paying an equal share...they’re willing to pay a little bit more for their wedding duties," Cameron Huddleston, Life + Money columnist for GOBankingRates, tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview. 

Groomsmen are also spending more on looking good in the right suit than bridesmaids are for the right dress. Bridesmaids spent an average of $214.58 on a dress, but groomsmen spent $245.50, on average, for a tuxedo. 

Younger groomsmen are spending more on their tuxedos even though they don’t earn as much as older groomsmen, the survey finds. Men ages 18 to 24 are shelling out as much as $314.26, on average, for a tuxedo, compared to the $205.90 spent by adult men ages 35 to 44. The typical monthly income for college-age men is $1,311, per Census Bureau data.

Incidental costs and gift expenses also add up. Twenty-eight percent of both bridesmaids and groomsmen surveyed said they’d spent $300 or more on incidental wedding-related costs, like travel expenses, shoes, and hair and makeup. Close to that same percentage, or 30 percent, said they’d spent more than they had expected on participating in a friend or relative’s wedding. Ms. Huddleston explains that people spend more than they expect on a wedding because it's not an everyday expense, which makes it easy for many of the associated costs to add up.

Even though groomsmen tend to vastly outspend their female counterparts, bridesmaids are much more likely to say they’ve gone over budget. Approximately 32 percent of bridesmaids surveyed said they’d spent more than they expected to spend or had budgeted, compared to just 28 percent of groomsmen who said the same.

“Of course, it's an honor to be asked to be a part of a friend or family member's wedding,” Huddleston, from GoBankingRates, said in a news release. “But you should think carefully about whether you can afford the costs of being a bridesmaid or groomsman before saying yes. If you do agree to be part of someone's special day, you certainly should create a budget and stick to it.”

Financial concerns don’t stop at the altar, either. In a recent Experian survey, 31 percent of newlyweds said they didn’t know how much student loan debt their spouse had, or what their spouse’s long-term financial goals were, before they got married. A quarter of recently-married couples also said they didn’t know how much money their spouse made, even though 92 percent of respondents said that financial responsibility was important to them.

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