Dearly beloved: the cost of attending a wedding

Wedding On The Beach

Guests reportedly spend an average of £377 per wedding. From the present you buy because it is the last thing on the list to the outfit you’ll never wear again, we reveal the hidden costs when friends tie the knot

It’s the chance to watch two people celebrate their love, make a lifelong commitment and be cheered on by their closest family and friends - if you can stomach the £377 bill. According to a survey of 2000 people by the Nationwide building society, the average wedding guest will shell out hundreds of pounds for each invitation they accept this year. The survey has factored in pre- and post-celebration additions including hen nights, stag dos, new outfits, travel and hotels, with men spending £51 more per happy couple. But how has the price of hearing a couple say “I do” crept up so high? I blame the hidden costs.

All the towels are gone

You’ve clicked on the gift list too late, all the sensibly priced presents have been bought and you are stuck with two options: pay an extra £20 for the only thing left that looks like an actual gift, or swallow your pride and stick to your budget. This will probably be two silver forks that you could have nicked from the posher wedding you went to last weekend.

Unwanted, one-wear-only clothes

When it comes to weddings, your normal clothes suddenly look insufficiently dressy and you start panic buying silky dresses, metallic high heeled sandals or – shudder – nude tights. If you come to your senses and refuse to buy a tiny cardigan you will never wear again, you will freeze through the church service. Whatever you buy, you will have to pay extra for a taxi home because you can’t walk in those stupid heels. Men might think a suit will save them, but post-wedding breakfasts have their own strange dress code: brightly-coloured chinos and blazers don’t come cheap.

Extra food

Yes I know you aren’t paying for the wedding breakfast – but it’s not until 3pm. How can you not sneak off to buy something to plug the gap? And that’s without forking out for any pre-wedding dinners.

Blowing away the competition

Maybe the bride is an ex. Maybe you had a crush on the groom, maybe you are single, haven’t been given a plus one, and will be looked at with pity by family members all night. Consider it a tax on your ego because sometimes you just need to look amazing; this will definitely tip you over budget.

Keeping up with the other guests

If your friends’ friends are richer than you, you’re in trouble. One colleague says the first thing he was asked at the stag do was to pay his share for the stripper – his weekend’s budget gone in two seconds. “I remember having to walk for hours back to the campsite I was staying at. I stopped going to stag dos after that.”

Powered by article was written by Homa Khaleeli, for The Guardian on Tuesday 23rd June 2015 17.59 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010