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Bride and gloom for wedding guests

18th July 2014 Print
Bridal couple on a beach

Are couples sacrificing their guest’s bank balance for their own happiness? With wedding season now upon us, it’s easy to see how the cost of a wedding can mount up – and not just for the bride and groom!

New research from reveals that the average cost of attending a wedding abroad is more than twice as much as being a guest in the UK (£564 v £247). And with a quarter of UK couples (25%) planning to travel to distant shores in the next 18 months just to put a ring on it, their guests may be left facing a difficult situation.

The research from the leading price comparison site reveals that one in ten people (10%) are planning on attending a wedding abroad within the next year, despite the hefty price tag.  However, many wedding guests are showing a lot of negative sentiment when thinking about celebrating the happy couple’s big day in a foreign land. One in seven (14%) Brits would not travel abroad to attend a wedding regardless of who it was for, with over half (59%) preferring to attend a wedding in the UK.

Unsurprisingly, over a third (39%) of people think it’s a big request to ask people to travel abroad for a wedding. Nearly one in seven (13%) people admit that they don’t want to waste their limited holiday allowance paying a lot of money to only see the bride and groom for a few hours.

For those Brits who are willing to travel overseas for a wedding, restraint is being shown when buying wedding gifts. In fact, nearly one in 10 (9%) people don’t feel they need to buy the bride and groom a present at all if they are paying for flights and accommodation just to attend their nuptials.

To balance things out, some Brits (10%) feel that the bride and groom should subsidise their flights and accommodation if they want them there to share their big day. And for some lucky guests, this is in fact the case, as some happy couples are subsidising their guests to come to their wedding abroad. More than one in ten (12%) couples planning to get married abroad say they are doing this for their guests.

For those couples planning a wedding abroad, there are a variety of different factors influencing their decision – from overbearing parents and warring relatives to spiraling budgets, opting for a ceremony overseas can seem like the easier option for many.

A sixth of couples getting married abroad (15%) are choosing to do so as it works out cheaper than getting hitched in the UK. Nearly one in 10 (7%) also felt they were getting better value for money by travelling abroad for their nuptials rather than staying in the UK.

A quarter (25%) of couples planning to get married abroad admit they are doing so as it means they don’t have to invite every family member to the wedding, with more than one in six (15%) believing it would cause less arguments for them to go abroad to get hitched. In fact, one in 14 couples planning to get married abroad (7%) are doing so because they feel it would be less stressful than getting hitched in the UK.

Weather is also a key factor temptingBritish couples away from a traditional UK-based wedding. Over a third (34%) of couples getting married abroad chose to do so as they wanted guaranteed good weather and sunshine on their big day.

The five most popular destinations that people want to get hitched in include:

Caribbean (19%)
Australia (12%)
America (10%)
Canada (8%)
Cyprus (8%)

Sammy-Lea Samways, head of travel insurance at, says: “The idea of getting away from it all to wed abroad seems to be a popular concept; the lower costs of an overseas wedding being an important factor for many.

“However, destination weddings can often be difficult for invited guests because of the price and time involved. It can pose the dilemma of a costly trip abroad versus the desire to see the happy couple get married.

“Combining the wedding trip with an annual holiday could be a good way that guests could save money. And whether you’re a guest at a wedding or the bride and groom, we would always advise making sure you have adequate travel insurance, just in case the worst was to happen.”

To find out whether you should attend a wedding abroad, take a look at’s infographic to help make your decision a little easier:

More Photos - Click to Enlarge

Bridal couple on a beach