After more than a year of postponements due to the pandemic, it feels like ‘wedding season’ is now a year-round affair, as couples finally get the chance to say ‘I do’ and celebrate with family and friends.
It’s always wonderful to be invited to a friend or family member’s ‘big day’, yet when you add up the costs of travel, accommodation, gifts, outfits and drinks, being a wedding guest doesn’t come cheap. According to research from Goldsmiths the average cost for a guest is £200, but as anyone who’s ever attended a destination wedding will tell you, it can be much higher.
If you’ve had a flurry of invites and now you’re wondering how you’re going to afford these occasions, there are some simple ways to cut costs…
1. Rent your outfit
Wedding dress hire has been a huge trend this year, but it’s not just brides – including the Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson – who are choosing to rent their outfits for the big day.
Womenswear fashion rental platforms like By Rotation, Endless Wardrobe, HURR, offer stylish dresses, suits and accessories to rent for a few days at time for a fraction of the cost it would cost to buy them. For affordable men’s suits, try Formally Yours or Moss Hire.
These sites and apps are particularly useful if you’re going to be attending several weddings with the same group of friends and you’re feeling the (unnecessary) pressure to have a new ensemble for every occasion.
2. Shop around for accommodation
While staying at the wedding venue (if there are rooms available) may be the most convenient option, oftentimes it’s not the most economical, especially if the ceremony is being held at a five-star hotel.
Comparison websites like Kayak Trivago and Skyscanner (not just useful for flights) can help you find the cheapest hotels nearby – just make sure to check TripAdvisor reviews before booking rather than relying on the star rating systems. Airbnb can be a very affordable option if you share a rental property with other guests or book a room instead of a whole flat or house.
3. Go halves on a gift
Unless the happy couple has expressly stated ‘no gifts’, you wouldn’t want to turn up at a wedding empty-handed. According to Ocean Finance, all-day guests are expected to spend around £50 to £100 on a gift, but if you club together with friends you can purchase a more lavish present while each spending less.
Alternatively, a homemade gift can actually be more impressive and meaningful. Taking the time to paint, sew, embroider or cross stitch a personalised present for the couple will cost a lot less, but the result is priceless.
4. Politely decline if you have to
While there are some weddings you wouldn’t dream of missing, if you’re faced with a stack of invites and the prospect of travelling far and wide, you may want take a call on how many you can realistically attend.
You might want to limit your attendance to nuptials where you don’t have to stay overnight, or say no to the hen/stag parties. There may be pressure from bride- and groom – zillas, but sometimes you’ve got to put your finances first.