19 June 2017

How much does it cost to be a wedding guest?

A recent Nationwide survey* asked adults who attended a wedding how much it cost them, including the stag or hen party, buying gifts and clothes, and attending the ceremony. The figure came in at a whopping £400 each.

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of an upcoming wedding but with many guests attending multiple ceremonies a year, saying yes could cost them much more. The significant cost is given as the reason why a quarter of people have declined a wedding invitation, while around one in six (16%) have become overdrawn or borrowed money to be able to attend.

We've taken a look at the costs involved, before the big day, for the ceremony itself and what you can do to prepare in advance.

Before the big day

The survey reveled that those who attend the stag or hen do spend an additional £153, with over a quarter (27%) spending more than £200. However, stags still tend to spend more than hens (£171 vs £134) partying, possibly as they tend to go further afield, with double the amount of men celebrating abroad compared to women (12% vs 6%).

Although, the traditional local night out on the town (41%) remains the most popular choice.

25 to 34 year olds are the age group spending the most, at £217 with the amount still steadily declining as people reach 55 and over, where it more than halves to an average of £104.

The stag or hen party

When it comes to what stag and hens spend on each element of the pre-wedding celebrations, hens only spend more than stags on the outfit, where stags tend to spend more on everything else.

Combined Hens Stags
Outfit £40 £25 £15
Drink £88 £36 £52
Food £64 £30 £34
Travel £66 £30 £36
Spending Money £76 £34 £42
Activity £40 £20 £20
Hotel £58 £27 £31

With all the fun of the party it's easy to forget about the actual wedding day coming up too. Is it time to dust off the cuff links and the fascinator or buy new ones? 

The wedding

We found that guests are spending an average of £249 on the wedding day itself. This includes paying for new outfits, gifts, travel, hotel stays and drinks. However, almost a quarter (22%) spend over £300. Younger guests - those aged 18 to 24 - typically spend the least (£141), while those aged over 55 spend the most on attending the wedding ceremony (£301).

When it comes to gifts, people in Northern Ireland are the most generous, spending £64, while people in Wales are the least generous spending £40. The younger age groups are also less generous, spending £30 less than those aged over 55 (£29 compared to £59).

Combined Women Men
Outfit £80 £47 £33
Gift £94 £49 £45
Drink £62 £28 £34
Travel £58 £29 £29
Taxi £28 £14 £14
Hotel £67 £35 £32
Meals £43 £21 £22

How can you prepare?

It's important to think ahead if you know you've one or more weddings coming up. Here are some tips to help you manage your finances through wedding season.

  • Don't feel you need to spend more than you can afford
  • Create a budget in advance
  • Save towards the cost
  • Look at nearby hotels that may be cheaper than the wedding venue if staying overnight
  • Consider car sharing with other guests.

If you can't afford to go to everything, you may have to say no to some parts of the wedding, like the stag and hen do or even the day itself. Explain why you can’t make it all and hopefully the bride and groom will be more understanding than your bank account.

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