Big fat wedding bill: The average wedding guest spends over £100 on an outfit and more than £70 on a gift

May 15, 2017

With Pippa and James’s big day fast approaching, new Mintel report on attitudes towards weddings in the UK reveals that it’s not just royal guests who are splashing out on glamorous wedding attire. Of those who have bought a new outfit for a wedding in the last three years, the average consumer spend was £101, rising to £104 amongst male guests.

Outfits aren’t the only item that guests are splurging on, with gift-givers spending £76 on average on wedding presents. Guests who spend on travel to and from the event see costs average at £63, while for those forced to book accommodation nearby, expenditure averages at £61. The day itself can also prove pricey, with guests who buy drinks at a wedding spending £31 on average. In addition spend on other miscellaneous costs, such as extra food and drink on the day, tallies up to £30.

However, it isn’t just the big day which is likely to hit guests’ purses hard. Indeed, the average stag and hen party sets attendees back £164, with spending proving much the same between stags £163 and hens £165.

Mintel research reveals nearly half (49%) of all adults have attended at least one part of a wedding in the last three years and a further 14% of all adults have attended a hen or stag party during the same timeframe.

Jack Duckett, Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel, said:

“As wedding celebrations have become more extravagant affairs in recent years, the various costs that guests incur have also increased. Today’s wedding guests are not only forking out on gifts, but in many cases also spending on new outfits, travel and accommodation. Hen and stag parties have also become big business, morphing from what was traditionally a night out with friends into fully fledged, multi-day celebrations in their own right. The rising cost of stag and hen parties reflects the increasing breadth of activities groups look to include in their celebration, ranging from afternoon tea and wine tasting experiences to spa weekends abroad.”

While men are more likely to spend money on looking the part, Mintel research shows they are less generous in the gift department. Women spent an average of £79.30 for a gift they gave at the last wedding they attended, compared to £71.82 spent by male gift givers. On the other hand, it seems a wedding tipple is top priority for male guests who spend an average of £37.96 on drinks compared to the £23.21 that women spend.

Although money is unlikely to be an issue for Pippa and Hedge Fund Manager James, 76% of all adults who have attended a wedding celebration in the last three years agree that cash or gift vouchers are an ideal wedding gift.

“With many couples today having ‘set up house’ together before they marry, the tradition for giving new couples homewares has been rendered increasingly obsolete. Wedding gift lists have consequently become more popular in recent years, as marrying couples look to guide guests towards items that they want or need.” Jack adds.

With the average costs involved in attending a wedding proving relatively high, it follows that guests are keen to avoid incurring extra costs. Indeed, some 57% of wedding guests agree that guests should not be expected to pay for food and drink on the day of the wedding, while the same proportion (57%) do not believe it is fair to expect guests to travel too far to attend a wedding.

Whether royalty is in attendance or not, the dress remains the bride’s biggest wedding priority and for 58% of today’s brides and brides-to-be, getting the right dress is an important part of their wedding. And, while it is unlikely that Pippa will choose to wear another bride’s cast-offs, 19% of women who married within the last three years, or who are looking to get married in the next three, either did or would consider buying a secondhand wedding dress.

“With bespoke dresses often proving prohibitively expensive, there remains scope for high street brands to develop their wedding proposition. But there are also blossoming opportunities for the second-hand wedding dress market to expand. For instance, charity shops can further market their wedding collections, helping to establish a closer bond between weddings and charitable causes.” Comments Jack.

While some brides across the nation will be looking to Pippa for inspiration, the majority of recent couples and those planning to marry look to family members (51%) for inspiration, while just 4% cite celebrities as a source of inspiration for their big day.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte will most certainly be guests of honour this weekend, however, children at weddings can prove something of a challenge.Three in five (60%) wedding attendees agree it is difficult to keep children occupied at wedding celebrations. Despite this, just one in ten (10%) couples indicate that they did not or would not invite children to their wedding or civil partnership.

Finally, while 71% of Brits say that attending weddings is enjoyable, 61% of attendees believe weddings have become too competitive these days and 67% agree that weddings have become too extravagant. This sentiment rings true with those planning a wedding too, with 17% of newlyweds or those planning a wedding in the next three years agreeing that they would like guests to think that their wedding was better than others they have attended.

“While, overall, guests enjoy going to weddings, there is a relatively strong consensus that, even from a guest’s perspective, they have become competitive and over-extravagant affairs.” Jack concludes.

Press review copies of the Mintel report on Attitudes towards weddings and interviews with Jack Duckett, Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel, are available on request from the press office.

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