Be our guest for £400 - Total cost of being a wedding guest stacks up

Men are the bigger wedding spenders, splashing out £51 more on ceremony and pre-celebrations

Wedding guests are being hit with a £377 bill every time they accept an invitation, with the cost of gifts, accommodation, clothing and stag and hen dos stacking up, according to new research from Nationwide Building Society*.  But with many guests attending multiple marriages, saying yes to wedding invitations could cost significantly more.

Figures show that male wedding guests who attend stag dos part with £51 more per wedding than female guests, spending £404 compared to £353 respectively. However, spend also varies regionally**, with a difference of £176 between the area where people spend most (Northern Ireland - £476) and the least (South West - £308). See notes to editors for a regional breakdown.

Total wedding spend is broken down into two elements – pre-wedding celebrations (stag and hen do) and the wedding ceremony itself: 

Pre-wedding celebrations

The national survey, which polled 2,000 adults who have attended a wedding, shows those also take part in the stag or hen do spend an additional £157, although a quarter (25%) spend in excess of £200 on each occasion.  However, stags (£178) spend more than hens (£136) partying, possibly as they tend to go further afield, with double the amount of men (16%) celebrating abroad compared to women (8%). As might be expected, those aged 18 to 24 spend the most at £215, with the amount spent steadily declining as people reach 55 and over, where it nearly halves to an average of £109.

And perhaps in an attempt to keep the costs down, the more traditional night on the town still trumps trips abroad, with half staying local (51%) compared to just one in eight travelling overseas (12%).  People aged 18 to 24 are more likely to celebrate overseas (24%) compared to those aged 55 and over (7%) who prefer to stay local. 

The wedding ceremony

Nationwide’s research shows guests are spending an average of £221 on the wedding day itself, paying for new outfits, gifts, travel, hotel stays and drinks, although one in six (17%) spend over £300. Interestingly, men spend the most on attending the wedding day (£225) compared to women who spend £217. Younger guests, aged between 18 and 24, seem to put more importance on the pre-wedding celebrations, spending the least on the wedding day itself (£127) compared to all other age groups, whereas people aged over 55 spend the most on attending the wedding ceremony (£280). 

Phil Smith, Nationwide’s Head of Current Accounts, said: “Sharing in someone's special day is a wonderful occasion, but it can turn into a costly experience, particularly for serial guests.  But there are many ways to budget better, such as finding deals on transport and hotels in advance, travelling with other wedding guests to reduce cost and buying a present from the gift list early in order to bag a cheaper item. Putting a little money aside regularly can also make a big difference come the day.  

Nationwide current account customers can manage their money on the move easily with the Society’s mobile banking app, which includes Quick Balance, allowing customers to see their balance at a glance without logging in, and Impulse Saver, which gives customers the opportunity to save small amounts at the swipe of a finger.  These features are an ideal way for people to budget and get into the habit of saving money for those special occasions like a wedding.”

* One Poll research: total sample size was 2,000 adults, of which 1,480 said that they have attended both a wedding and a stag/hen do.  The survey ran from the 08/05/2015 to 12/05/2015.

Notes to editors

** Regional Spend Stag/Hen do Wedding Total spend 
 Northern Ireland £183 £293  £476 
 London £183 £234  £417 
 North East £173 £226  £399
 Yorkshire and the Humber £136 £260  £396
 Scotland £170 £223 £393
 North West £168 £213 £381
 West Midlands £166 £199 £365
 South East £132 £229 £361
 East Anglia £160 £196 £356
 Wales £144 £197 £341
 East Midlands £114 £223 £337
 South West £130 £178 £308
 National Average £157 £221 £378

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About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.