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Revealed: the true cost of attending a wedding

Everybody knows weddings are an expensive business. However, have you considered the amount spent on attending one as a guest?

Nationwide has undertaken a survey which suggests an average wedding will cost each couple attending a whopping £800 – a £23 increase since 2015.

Nationwide polled 2,000 adults, following research undertaken in 2015. Factors taken into consideration include the costs of a stag and hen party, the buying of gifts and clothes, and the price of attending the ceremony, with the results coming in at just over £400 per person.

In fact, Nationwide contends the cost can be split more broadly into two separate components: the pre-wedding celebrations and the ceremony itself.

Pre-wedding celebrations

The figures show those who take part in the stag or hen do spend an additional £153, with over a quarter spending more than £200 per occasion. Stags spend more than hens on average (£171 vs. £134), possibly as they tend to travel further afield for their celebrations. 12% of men travel abroad, compared to only 6% of women.

However, the overwhelming majority of people opt for a traditional local night out on the town.

Average Breakdown of Costs:

• Outfit: £20

• Drink: £44

• Food: £32

• Travel: £33

• Spending Money: £38

• Activity: £20

• Hotel: £29

The wedding ceremony

Guests spend an average of £249 on preparations for and during the wedding day itself. Included in this figure is the cost of outfits, gifts, travel, accommodation and drinks. Women have overtaken men as the biggest wedding day spenders, with an average spend of £257 compared to £241.

Average breakdown of costs:

• Outfit: £40

• Drink: £31

• Gift: £47

• Travel: £29

• Taxi £14

• Meals: £21

• Hotel: £33

What are the consequences?

With many people attending multiple ceremonies every year, and with the latest figures showing there are 247,372 marriages in the UK per annum, saying yes to simply attending could start adding up. The hefty price of going to ceremonies is given as the reason why 25% of respondents have declined a wedding invitation, while around 16% have become overdrawn or borrowed money in order to attend.

Phil Smith, Nationwide’s head of Current Accounts, said: "Sharing a loved one’s special day is a wonderful experience. But buying a gift, finding something to wear, travelling to the wedding and staying overnight can add up, especially if you’re going as a couple, or to more than one wedding in a short period.

"There are plenty of ways to cut costs though, such as buying a wedding gift in the sales, recycling your outfit and sharing travel costs. Also, putting a small amount of money away each week can help manage the overall cost."