Are Your Friends’ Weddings Plunging You Into Debt?

It’s no secret that us Brits love a wedding. Last year, the UK wedding industry reached an all-time high of £10 billion, while the cost of the average wedding rose to £30,355. It’s not just couples who are facing an expensive time planning their wedding, however, it’s their guests too.
With the average wedding costing guests around £400 to attend (and that’s just the ones on home soil!), are things starting to get out of hand?


Most people hit a point in their lives when wedding invitations start arriving in abundance. It’s not unusual to spend most of your summer weekends either at an engagement party, a stag/hen party or at a wedding. Over the course of the year, the cost runs into thousands, which can not only eat into your savings but even plunge you into debt. Is there a price for having too many friends? It seems as though there finally could be.


£400 could buy you a holiday, some designer shoes and for many people, a month’s rent or mortgage payment. So where does £400 get you in terms of weddings?
According to research by American Express, wedding guests can expect to spend on average:

  • £72 on accommodation
  • £68 on an outfit
  • £66 on a gift
  • £58 on a stag/hen party
  • £57 on travel
  • £45 on drinks
  • £25 on hair and beauty

Of course, some of these costs will be lower for some people, and much higher for others. Current wedding trends include hen and stag dos that last several days, often in overseas locations which add to the cost. Many couples are also opting for multiple days of celebrations, meaning multiple days of expenditure for guests.



And then, of course, there’s the destination wedding. While destination weddings offer several benefits to brides and grooms, including being more affordable, with a better chance of good weather, guests are having to weigh up in their finances can stretch to a destination wedding – often sacrificing their own plans to travel. It’s fine if you’ve got some understanding friends and family, but many can take it as a slight when someone explains that they can’t make their big day.


While the amount that the average guest spends to attend a wedding is rising, there are things you can do to keep your own costs down. Some useful hints include:

  • Booking travel in advance and travelling in groups to save on petrol or Groupsave train tickets.
  • Take advantage of the end of summer sales, you can find great deals on outfits for next year’s crop of weddings.
  • Split the cost of a gift with others.
  • Only commit to what you can afford. If you can’t afford the full cost of an overseas hen or stag, try to arrange another celebration with them at home.
  • Budget in advance for weddings to help you spread the costs over the course of a year.

Weddings are a wonderful time to celebrate with your nearest and dearest, but don’t let it eat into your finances.

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