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2017 wedding season to cost guests £27.5 billion

10th May 2017 Print

As the 2017 wedding season gets underway, new research from American Express reveals that nearly a third (31%) of Brits will attend at least one wedding this year, spending an average of £432.

However, the costs can soon rack up with UK adults planning to celebrate on average four weddings in 2017, taking the total wedding guest bill to £27.5 billion. This means that the total cost of being a guest this season (£1,728) will amount to more than the average British bride spends on her dress (£1,378).

The largest expense for guests will be the wedding gift (£85), followed by hotel accommodation (£74), an outfit (£71) and travel to attend the special day (£64). However, the total wedding guest expenditure is slightly down versus last year, when guests spent an average of £479 attending each wedding. The research data indicates guests are choosing to cut down expenditure on gifts and travel this year.

Bridesmaids and ushers pay for the privilege The study reveals that more than a quarter (27%) of Brits will take a seat at the top table this year as a bridesmaid or usher and will spend significantly more than other guests. Bridesmaids will spend more than £650 for each wedding, with the hen do being the costliest outlay (£140). This compares to ushers will pay nearly £900 to attend each wedding thanks to pricey pre-ceremony celebrations and they will be twice as generous as bridesmaids when it comes to splashing out on a gift for the happy couple (£198 versus £90).

While being a bridesmaid or usher can be costly, more than three quarters (77%) say they are excited to be part of the wedding day and 69% are happy to spend the money taking on the special role.

Jenny Cheung, Director at American Express said: “It is a huge compliment to be asked to celebrate a couple’s special day but the costs can soon add up. With this in mind, it’s important to get your finances in order so you can focus on having fun on the big day, rather than worrying about the cost of attending a ceremony. Our study has found that almost two in five (18%) wedding guests put related expenditure on a credit card and using one that earns cashback, shrewd members of the congregation can ensure they get something back for their spending and treat themselves once the celebrations are over.”

American Express provided the following top tips for guests as the wedding season commences:

Staying over – If you are needing to find accommodation to attend a wedding, check in with the bride and groom to see if they have negotiated any discount rates at neighboring hotels or are holding rooms for guests.

Get cashback on your spending – Be savvy and put your wedding spend on a card that earns cashback so you can treat yourself or a loved one at a later date.

Split the gift –Buying the perfect gift doesn’t have to be an expensive process - you could consider splitting the price of a gift with a fellow guest meaning that you can still get something memorable and impressive, without breaking the bank.

Points make presents – Check how many rewards points you have on your credit, charge or store card. You may well have enough to get a wedding gift with your points, which means you can give a gift without spending a penny.

Something borrowed – With Britons attending an average of four weddings this year, it’s likely that you and your friends will all be on the hunt for new outfits and accessories. Consider a ‘wedding guest’ clothes swapping party, where you can share hats, bags and other items to save money on buying something new for each occasion.