Aisle save money

However much you love being a wedding guest, there's no denying it's an expensive business. But Vicky Shaw believes you can say 'I do' want to cut costs

It's a happy day but behind the smiles there might be some concerns about how much you have spent to be there
It's a happy day but behind the smiles there might be some concerns about how much you have spent to be there

The wedding season is now in full swing, but marking the big day is not only expensive for those stepping down the aisle, it’s costly for their guests too.

Firstly, you want a new outfit, then there’s the gift from the couple’s wedding list, then, if the nuptials are being held some distance from where you live (and they invariably are), you’re factoring in a hotel and transport too.

These costs all quickly mount up – recent research from American Express suggests that attending a wedding these days won’t leave you much change from £400.

The breakdown of this, from a survey of 2,000 people across the UK, found that a typical wedding guest’s costs include £79 on a new outfit, £74 on a gift, £70 for a hotel and £68 on travel.

Marked variations were recorded across the country.

For example, people living in Northern Ireland were found to spend the most on travelling to a wedding, at £183 on average, while those living in the North East spend the least typically, at £44.

Wedding guests in the East Midlands were found to splash out the most on a new outfit for the big day, at £92 on average, while those in Northern Ireland spend the least on this typically, at £59.

People in both Scotland and Wales spend around £79 on fancy new wedding attire, in line with the UK average.

But as with all big events, there are ways you can cut down costs with a bit of preparation.

Use cashback websites like Quidco or Topcashback; spend reward points built up on cards; book travel tickets well in advance to get the cheapest prices; trawl the internet for hotel discounts.

You can even save on your clothes too – if you think you may only wear the outfit you’re buying for the wedding once, consider selling it on a website like eBay afterwards. And if you’re considering hiring an outfit for the event, it may work out cheaper to buy a second-hand one and then sell it on afterwards.

Mind you, increasingly, it’s not just the cost of attending the wedding itself that guests have to think about, it’s also the cost of giving the bride or gr7445935oom a fun-filled farewell to their single life.

Research for Debenhams, among more than 1,000 people in the UK, found the typical cost of attending a hen do has soared to £185 per person, with those involved typically spending around £40 on an organised event like a spa, £20 on transport, £50 on food and drink and £75 on yet another new outfit.

And that’s just if you’re staying in Britain, but as these ‘dos’ edge more and more towards being a mini holiday abroad, the cost can reach as much as £680 per guest, with around £210 for three nights’ hotel accommodation, and £150 on flights or train tickets to the destination.

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