Wedding season is in full swing, but the question is, can you afford it? We're not just talking about the bride and groom, either – weddings may be costly affairs for the happy couple, but they can be pricey for guests, too…
Research from American Express reveals that 36% of those surveyed will be attending one or more weddings this year, but the cost can be eye-watering: the typical guest expects to spend £640 per wedding they attend, up from £470 last year, an increase of 36%.
The biggest expense for wedding guests is accommodation – perhaps unsurprising when 57% travel more than two hours to attend a wedding – averaging at £114. This is closely followed by presents (generous attendees spend an average of £112 each time) and buying a new outfit (£105).
These individual costs have increased substantially in the last year: accommodation set back the typical wedding guest just £70 in 2014, an increase of 63% year-on-year. Attendees are spending 51% more on the gift (up from £74 a year ago) and 33% more on the outfit (up from £79), and that's before we even get to the cost of travel (now £96, up 41%), hen/stag parties (£84), drinks (£81) and hair and beauty (£47) – it all adds up!
Happily, some betrothed couples do take their guests' budgets into account when planning the wedding: 39% will pick a local venue to reduce travel and hotel costs while 26% plan an inexpensive stag or hen do, and 13% tell their guests not to purchase gifts. However, 21% admit they don't consider the cost for their guests when planning their nuptials, in which case they should be aware that 63% of guests said they'll turn down a wedding abroad because of the cost.
Given the potential expense, it's no wonder that savvy guests are finding ways to help cut the costs. The survey found that around half use offers such as hotel deals (52%) or retail sales (48%) to make it easier on the wallet, while 25% save up and a similar amount (23%) dip into their savings pot. But, some will make even bigger sacrifices, with 30% admitting that they'll turn down invitations to see loved ones tie the knot as the cost is too steep.
But what else can you do? Making your money work as hard as possible should be at the top of the agenda, so be on the lookout for vouchers and discount codes to see where you can save a few pounds. Don't overlook cashback, either – utilising cashback credit cards can mean you're getting something back from your wedding expenditure, and if you make sure to repay the balance in full to avoid interest charges, you'll truly get something for nothing.
"Attending a wedding can be a costly affair and can quickly add up to a large sum of money," said Nicholas Stefanovitz of American Express. "With the average cost amounting to £640, it's important to plan ahead so that spending for the special day doesn't become a financial headache. Guests should look out for offers and retail sales when planning their outfit or booking accommodation, and can also obtain cashback on their spending."
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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