Simple tips for wedding guests to cut their costs this spring and summer

Wedding invites are landing in inboxes and hitting doormats as spring and summer unfold – and while it’s great to help the happy couple celebrate their big day, attending can also place a strain on the wallet for guests.

Around one in five (18 per cent) people are already planning to attend a wedding this year, according to new research from insurance giant Aviva.

One in 16 (6 per cent) plan to attend nuptials taking place overseas – and expect to spend £999 on average.

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Spain, Italy and France are among the more common wedding destinations in the survey, although some people will be travelling further, with Argentina and India also being among the locations.

Being a wedding guest can be expensive business. Picture: Alamy/PA.Being a wedding guest can be expensive business. Picture: Alamy/PA.
Being a wedding guest can be expensive business. Picture: Alamy/PA.

Those attending a UK-based wedding meanwhile are unlikely to get much change out of £400, according to the research.

On average, people attending a UK wedding expect to be spending £398.

While these are averages, one in 25 (4 per cent) say they’ll be willing to spend as much as £5,000 or more to celebrate a wedding this year.

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The research also indicates that those attending a UK-based wedding in 2024 plan to spend less than those going to a UK wedding in 2023, when the average expected spend was put at £488.

Among those heading abroad to attend a wedding, the average cost this year is slightly higher than last year, when it was put at £978.

This year’s figures also indicate than men expect to spend more on weddings this year than women typically.

When it comes to weddings overseas this year, men expect to spend £1,125 on average, compared to £894 for female guests.

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This trend continues for weddings in the UK, with men believing they will spend £459 on average, compared with women who estimate they will spend £340.

The costs associated with weddings can sometimes lead to tensions, with just under a fifth (19 per cent) of people in Aviva’s research saying they feel obliged to attend weddings.

Those aged 35 to 44 are nearly twice as likely as people aged 18 to 24 to say they feel obliged to show up, at 22 per cent versus 12 per cent, according to the Censuswide survey of 2,000 people in March.

The research also indicates that there may be an awareness gap when it comes to travel insurance, with 10 per cent believing that travel insurance would provide cover in the event the nuptials were cancelled, whereas many travel insurance policies would not pay out in this scenario.

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While travel insurance may not provide cover for cancellation of the wedding itself – or if you decided to no longer attend – it could provide protection for cancelling or cutting short a trip for reasons out of the traveller’s control, such as being unable to travel due to illness.

One in seven people surveyed admit they never take out travel insurance, potentially leaving them exposed if the unexpected happens.

Suzzane Caine, travel claims expert at Aviva, says: “Though joyous occasions, the cost of attending a wedding can soon add up, easily reaching four figures in many cases.

“It’s interesting to see that despite ambitions to cut costs, such as timing a holiday with the wedding, a large portion of Brits are choosing to travel without cover.

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“You would be covered if something prevented you from making it to the celebrations such as unexpectedly having to cancel, which according to Aviva data from the last five years, is the most common claim during summer.

“It will give you peace of mind knowing that you are protected, both in the lead up to your trip and while celebrating with the newlyweds.”

While weddings can be expensive to attend – particularly if you’ve been invited to more than one this year – there may be ways to cut the costs.

Booking train travel in advance or agreeing to car share with other guests could help with transport costs.

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Websites such as Skyscanner can also help with comparing the costs of flights.

Teaming up with other wedding guests could work in other ways too, perhaps by clubbing together to buy one expensive gift rather than buying several less costly presents.

Or if you’re staying overnight, you could consider seeing if booking an Airbnb with a few other guests could work out cheaper than getting a hotel room.

Don’t forget any loyalty points you’ve previously built up, which could help with transport and accommodation costs.

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There may also be ways to cut the cost of your outfit, for example by renting clothing and accessories rather than buying.

Alternatively, perhaps you could consider browsing for preloved items from auction websites such as eBay or charity shops.

If you’re buying from a second-hand website you could always sell the item on afterwards and perhaps you could make your money back.

You could also consider broadening search terms to give yourself more choice.

So, for example, rather than just “wedding”, some phrases such as “mother of the bride” or “races” may also generate other preloved shopping options.

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