With wedding season now in full swing, many brides and grooms-to-be will be eagerly anticipating their big day, but the same may not be true of their guests, as new research has revealed that the cost of attending a wedding in the UK is now higher than it has ever been.
A survey carried out by Kaleidoscope has found that the average wedding guest now spends a total of £440 seeing each friend, family member or colleague tie the knot when the total expenditure is taken into account.
For richer or for poorer
The figure was calculated by taking all aspects of attending a wedding into account, with the main area of expenditure being the purchase of the outfit. While most men are likely to dig out a tried and tested suit, others will buy entirely new ensembles for the occasion.
However, women are far more likely to splash the cash on clothing for the big day, with two-thirds of female wedding guests willing to spend upwards of £150 on the perfect outfit, which they may only wear once before consigning it to the wardrobe forever.
Another drain on resources is the cost of staying in accommodation overnight and travelling to the destination, if it is not a local wedding. Six in ten people said they would spend £150 or more on staying in a hotel, bed and breakfast or apartment overnight.
To have and to hold
With the cost of getting married also continuing to rise, it is perhaps no surprise that guests are more willing to fork out for an expensive gift for their hosts, with 50% of people saying that they would spend more than £100 on the perfect wedding present.
However, the tradition for the bride and groom to pay for all their guests’ food and drink during the reception seems to be slowly dissipating, as half of wedding guests are spending around £50 on beer, wine and spirits on the big day.
Helen North, head of marketing at Kaleidoscope, said it is a well-known fact that weddings are a lucrative business, and now a billion pound industry in the UK.
However, while it can be a costly affair for the bride and groom, the amount paid by guests to join in the experience should not be underestimated, she noted.
“Just how much does it cost the guests and where do they see the need to spend money to ensure they are the very best wedding guest?
“It’s wonderful to see from our survey results that, despite the current economic climate, it is still important for British men and women to celebrate weddings in style.”
For those with a packed social diary this summer, the cost of celebrating in style is likely to hit them hard. With the average person set to attend five weddings in 2013 – at a total cost of £2,180 – the phrase “love don’t cost a thing” may no longer ring true.