The cost of being a wedding guest

By Gem - 22:58:00

The chances are that you’ve attended a wedding or two over the summer season and perhaps have more to attend as the year draws to a close for those who prefer a winter wedding. Have you ever considered how much you’ve spent attending weddings over the years? Have you ever argued with a partner about attending a wedding? Experian’s latest survey suggests that the cost of weddings is causing stress for many couples, and not just for the bride and groom. In fact, almost one in four couples in the UK have argued with their partner about the cost of witnessing friends and loves ones tying the knot.

Managing your finances and your relationship can be very tricky – when it comes to both organising and attending weddings, moving in together or just life in general. Experian’s latest survey suggests that the rising cost of being a wedding guest is causing friction for many couples, and not just for the bride and groom. In fact, almost a quarter of Britons have argued with their partner about the cost of witnessing others tie the knot.

The findings also reveal that one in six people who are in a relationship are missing the nuptials of loved ones because they cannot afford to attend. This equates to more than one guest at each table.

More than one in ten people in relationships have spent over £800 each on attending weddings. Meanwhile almost a million Brits, report having spent more than £2,000 participating in other people’s weddings over the last year! Costs can escalate even further when you attend stag and hen dos overseas.  You need to factor in a fancy outfit, accommodation, transport and even the gifts. I've got a headache just thinking about attending a wedding.  If you forget to look at the gift list and panic purchase the week before then only the more pricey items are left. You end up spending way too much money on a dress you can only wear a handful of times and we all feel the strain to compete with others and we purchase things we can't really afford. 

People don't tend to stay in the same town all of their lives anymore. People move away for university and meet partners there, meet people online or through work and resettle far away from their hometown. Going to your best friends wedding can mean flying to another country or driving 200 miles away. 

James Jones, head of consumer affairs at Experian, commented: “Attending the wedding of family and friends should be great fun. However, for many ‘wedding season’ has become a source of financial pressure and domestic strife. The research suggests that at each UK wedding, there is an average of one person missing because they cannot meet the spiralling cost of attending nuptials – an obvious disappointment for hosts and guests alike.

“While racking up debt has often been seen as the price to pay for holding the wedding of your dreams, it now seems that many guests are also suffering financial stress. Sitting down with your partner to put some thought into your budget at the beginning of ‘wedding season’ is advisable. Discussing not just how much you can afford, but also how you’re going to pay for it can help avoid arguments in the run up to the big day and make sure you come out the other end without a nasty financial hangover.”

The research goes on to reveal that one in 20 guests have had to borrow money in order to attend a wedding.

A whopping 78% of people have formally borrowed money, including:
·         44% have had to use their credit card, increasing to a surprising 62% amongst 45-54 year olds
·         17% extended their overdraft
·         12% have tapped into their savings

Worryingly, almost one in three of those borrowing money to attend weddings have no clear plan to pay it back or have never even thought about it. The trend is even more concerning in some regions. In the North East, the number jumps to 80%, while 74% of people in East Anglia have not considered the long term consequences of borrowing. I don't know about you but all these figures have got me considering an elopement... maybe not. My mother would be devastated if she didn't get to see me get married.

Managing your finances and your relationship can be a tricky balancing act – when it comes to attending weddings, moving in together or just life in general. Here are the top five dos and don’ts for financial harmony:

  • Set the ground rules. Do you want a joint account for regular expenses and separate bank accounts for personal spending? Or do you want everything to go together?
  • Work out who does what. The more frugal partner could look after the budget, while the more extravagant works out the ‘treats’, like meals out or trips away
  • Agree on short and long-term goals and how you’re going to achieve them, and review regularly together
  • Be honest about your past. If you have a less-than-perfect history of repaying money you owe, this could affect both of you in the long-term if your credit reports become linked
  • Take time together to understand if you need to improve one or both of your credit reports. Do this well in advance of applying for credit together
  • Spend all your time together talking about money 
  • Keep secrets. Research from Experian shows that 29% of people in the UK discovered that their partner was keeping credit card debt from them
  • Dig yourself into a hole. If you find yourself in debt, don’t borrow more in the hope of putting things right. Ask for help and be open about it with your partner
  • Talk about money issues when you are angry. Arguing about money is never going to be productive
  • Expect your partner to completely change. It’s unlikely an extravagant spender will do a complete about-turn and suddenly become frugal
*Research provided by Experian

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  1. You rocked those polka dots, with Alex. I wonder which wedding that was? ;)
    x x x

  2. Very interesting post. I can see a trend forming on your blog and I like it! Most bloggers like to talk only about the positive parts of life so it's great to see such honest, helpful and also very relatable posts! Not that this post is negative though!
    I also love both of your outfits, especially the shoes! :)

    Abi xx


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