Weddings cause financial stress – and not for the bride and groom

One in four Britons has argued with their partner about the cost of watching others say ‘I do’

London, UK, 26 August 2015: Experian’s latest survey suggests that the rising cost of weddings is rocking the boat for many couples, and not just for the bride and groom. In fact, almost a quarter of Britons (22%) have argued with their partner about the cost of witnessing others tie the knot.

The findings also reveal that one in six people (17%) who are in a relationship are missing the nuptials of loved ones because they cannot afford to attend. This equates to more than one guest at each table, which is double the number of single people (8%), who have declined invitations.

More than one in ten people in relationships (11%) have spent over £800 each on attending weddings, compared to just 6% of single people. Meanwhile, 4%, equating to almost a million Brits*, report having spent more than £2,000 participating in other people’s weddings over the last year.

The survey also suggests that weddings can cause further financial friction when it comes to dividing the cost. While nearly eight in 10 (77%) couples always choose to split the cost, almost one in five (17%), foot the entire bill for both to attend the wedding of their own friends and family, while their partner does the same for their nearest and dearest.

James Jones, head of consumer affairs at Experian, commented: “Attending the wedding of family and friends should be great fun. However, for many ‘wedding season’ has become a source of financial pressure and domestic strife. The research suggests that at each UK wedding, there is an average of one person missing because they cannot meet the spiralling cost of attending nuptials – an obvious disappointment for hosts and guests alike.

“While racking up debt has often been seen as the price to pay for holding the wedding of your dreams, it now seems that many guests are also suffering financial stress. Sitting down with your partner to put some thought into your budget at the beginning of ‘wedding season’ is advisable. Discussing not just how much you can afford, but also how you’re going to pay for it can help avoid arguments in the run up to the big day and make sure you come out the other end without a nasty financial hangover.”

The research goes on to reveal that one in 20 (5%) guests have had to borrow money in order to attend a wedding.

Of those, a huge 78% of people have formally borrowed funds, including:

  • 44% have had to use their credit card, increasing to a surprising 62% amongst 45-54 year olds
  • 17% took out a formal loan, rising to 41% for those aged 25-34 years old
  • 17% extended their overdraft
  • 12% have tapped into their savings

Worryingly, almost one in three (31%) of those borrowing money to attend weddings have no clear plan to pay it back or have never even thought about it. The trend is even more concerning in some regions. In the North East, the number jumps to 80%, while 74% of people in East Anglia have not considered the long term consequences of borrowing.

Managing your finances and your relationship can be a balancing act – when it comes to attending weddings, moving in together or just life in general. That’s why Experian has highlighted five dos and don’ts for financial harmony from the Money and Relationship Guide:


  • Set the ground rules. Do you want a joint account for regular expenses and separate bank accounts for personal spending? Or do you want everything to go together?
  • Work out who does what. The more frugal partner could look after the budget, while the more extravagant works out the ‘treats’, like meals out or trips away
  • Agree on short and long-term goals and how you’re going to achieve them, and review regularly together
  • Be honest about your past. If you have a less-than-perfect history of repaying money you owe, this could affect both of you in the long-term if your credit reports become linked
  • Take time together to understand if you need to improve one or both of your credit reports. Do this well in advance of applying for credit together


  • Spend all your time together talking about money 
  • Keep secrets. Research from Experian shows that 29% of people in the UK discovered that their partner was keeping credit card debt from them
  • Dig yourself into a hole. If you find yourself in debt, don’t borrow more in the hope of putting things right. Ask for help and be open about it with your partner
  • Talk about money issues when you are angry. Arguing about money is never going to be productive
  • Expect your partner to completely change. It’s unlikely an extravagant spender will do a complete about-turn and suddenly become frugal




Notes to editors:

Research was carried out online by Canadean in August 2015, and used a sample of 2,000 UK adults.

* This figure has been calculated using the ONS figures for the total number of weddings in England and Wales (2012) and the average number of wedding guests, statistic attained from the You & Your Wedding Survey (2015).

For more information please contact:

Bell Pottinger

Anna Selby:  020 3772 2516

Richard Martin: 020 3772 2697

Katie Swain: 020 3772 2534

Experian Consumer Services

Jill O’Connor, PR Manager 020304 24870 /

Nimtaz-Tanya Noordin, PR Manager  020304 24222 /

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