Cost of Wedding Crisis

One in four Britons can’t afford to attend all of the weddings they have been invited to. Almost a fifth have lost friends as a result. Backlog of weddings and other milestone events following the pandemic is leaving already struggling Brits with tough decisions to make. Some guests plan to stay up all night to avoid accommodation costs.

UK, 23 May, 2022: An unfurling backlog of weddings and other milestone social occasions following the pandemic is adding pressure to people’s already stretched finances, as one in four people (24 per cent) can’t afford to accept all of their wedding invitations, according to new research launched today by Experian.

Three in ten (31 per cent) said they have declined an invite to a wedding, stag or hen do due to the cost-of-living crisis. Unfortunately, nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of respondents said that they have already lost friends because they couldn’t afford to go to their wedding.

The research found that the average cost to go to a wedding is now £567.20 per head, with guests forking out £116.80 each on accommodation alone. To keep costs down, people across the UK are exploring new ways to save. Over a fifth (21 per cent) plan to stay up all night so they don’t have to pay for a room, while 29 per cent say they only attend a wedding if it doesn’t require an overnight stay. One in five (21 per cent) people said they only plan to attend weddings that they can travel to on public transport.

Other popular ways invitees are cutting costs include wearing the same outfit to multiple weddings (68 per cent), cutting back on luxuries like holidays and eating out to save up for the big days (36 per cent).

Not all newlyweds will find guests willing to buy a gift or make a donation, with a third (33 per cent) of invitees saying they resented having to buy a present after they’d forked out so much to attend the wedding, while a fifth (22 per cent) simply couldn’t afford it. Not wanting to turn up empty handed, 26 per cent prefer to get creative and make the wedding gift rather than purchase something new.

There is empathy among guests over how expensive weddings have become, with the majority (57 per cent) agreeing it’s more acceptable to pay for drinks and food at the reception because costs have rocketed. Most (52 per cent) also said that society puts pressure on couples to offer a free bar, which they believe is unfair.

James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs at Experian says: “We all look forward to celebrating the union of friends or family, but it can be an expensive occasion for guests as well as the lucky couple. With soaring day-to-day living costs adding pressure to household budgets, many invitees are thinking carefully, and sometimes creatively, about how they can manage the cost of joining in the fun.”

“Our research found that over a quarter (26 per cent) of people attending an upcoming stag, hen or wedding party plan to use credit to help spread the cost. People should obviously be careful to never borrow more than they can comfortably afford to repay and have a clear plan in place on how they’ll clear any debt. Anyone with outstanding balances on credit should also consider searching for and switching to better deals, such as a 0 per cent balance transfer card, which could help cut costs and speed up the repayment.”

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Notes to editors:

Research carried out by Opinium of 1,000 UK adults who are attending a wedding this year / attended a wedding in the last year, between 6th-9th May 2022.  

[1] Nationally representative sample size of population (2,000) asked whether they are attending a wedding this year.

Based on responses 17.5 million Brits will be going to a wedding this year.

665/2000 = 0.3325 (per cent of pop who plan to attend a wedding 2022)

0.3325 x 52,890,000 = 17,585,925

Number going to four or more = 2,221,380.

Top five money-saving tips for wedding guests

  1. Wear the same outfit to multiple weddings (68 per cent)
  2. Cut back on luxuries like holidays and meals out to save money (36 per cent)
  3. Share a hotel room with someone to half costs (34 per cent)
  4. Only attend weddings that don’t require an overnight stay (29 per cent)
  5. Make a wedding present, rather than buy the couple a gift (26 per cent)

Average cost to attend a wedding

  • Accommodation £116.80
  • A gift for the couple £115.10
  • An outfit £113.20
  • Travel £98.80
  • Beauty treatments, e.g. manicure, spray tan etc. £67.30
  • Childcare £56

Total £567.20

Average cost to attend a hen do / stag do

  • Accommodation £123.30
  • Travel £120.60
  • An outfit £107.50
  • Beauty treatments, e.g. manicure, spray tan etc. £89
  • Childcare £82.60

Total £523.00

Media contact:

Brands2Life for Experian

Tel: 0207 592 1200 / Email:

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