Research from American Express shows that guests are expecting to spend £640 per wedding this year, up from last year's figure of £470.
Here are seven things we think are likely to leave the biggest dent in your finances…
1. Hen and stag dos
Hen and stag dos don’t come cheap, particularly if your invitation extends to the likes of Barcelona, Amsterdam or Ibiza.
But while you might have budgeted for one hen do, you might not have budgeted for two for the same wedding. Many brides now choose to have a big party with friends overseas and a slightly more civilised affair closer to home. Brace yourself…
How to beat it: The cheapest option is to politely decline at least one of the invitations or only attend some of the celebrations. If that’s not possible, try to get in on the planning so that you can have some say over the activities and budget.
Not only do you need to factor in the cost of travelling to the wedding location itself (that trip to Vegas sounded great until you realised how much the flights cost), you’ll also have to fork out for taxi journeys if you’re planning to have a few drinks or won’t have a car (think: hotel to church, church to reception, reception to hotel). And if each location is several miles apart, the costs will soon add up.
How to beat it: If you’re travelling by train (or plane), book well in advance to get the best deals on fares. If you’re going by car, see if you can share a lift with other guests and split the cost of petrol. And if you can find a friend who’s willing to be your personal chauffeur on the day itself, even better.
Staying at the wedding venue is perfect if you’re planning to celebrate in style. But, often, discounted accommodation is reserved for the wedding party, while rooms at hotels and B&Bs nearby get snapped up quickly. If you’ve been a little slow off the mark, this means you can end up staying miles away from the venue (which will cost more in taxi fares) and paying last-minute prices.
How to beat it: As soon as you receive your invitation and decide to go, book your accommodation. If there’s a group of you going, it might be cheaper to go self-catering and book a cottage or apartment together.
4. The cost of a new outfit
If you’ve worn the same outfit to the last two weddings or you no longer fit into the one you wore last year, you might feel you have to spend yet more money on a new clothes.
How to beat it: Make the most of the sales or even consider using a swapping site such as swishing.co.uk where you can swap your unwanted clothes for ‘new’ ones. You could even host your own clothes swapping party with friends (just maybe not those going to the same wedding).
5. The gift
It pays to be organised when it comes to buying a present, particularly if there is a gift list. Leave it until the last minute and you could end up choosing between a pricey espresso machine and home cinema system!
How to beat it: Take a look at the gift list early on and snap up something affordable. If you’ve left it too late, ask if any of the other guests (preferably ones you know!) fancy sharing the cost of a more expensive gift.
Of course, if you’re particularly creative, you might be able to use your talents instead – if you’re a skilled baker you could offer to make the wedding cake, for example.
6. Food and drink
Usually, as a wedding guest, you’ll be able to enjoy the wedding breakfast (served late afternoon) and an evening buffet. But drinks are often only included up to a certain point. After that, you’ll be paying, so don’t forget to budget for it - American Express reckons we'll be spending an average of £81 on drinks per wedding this year!
How to beat it: If you’re worried about how much you will spend, only bring cash with you – that way you can’t spend more than you’ve budgeted for.
If children aren’t invited, or are only invited up until the evening, you’ll need to factor in the cost of a babysitter. And if the wedding is a fair distance away and you need to stay overnight, this could get pretty pricey!
How to beat it: Obviously if you can avoid an overnight stay, do. Otherwise see if a family member or a friend can look after the children (as a favour).
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