A wedding nowadays can cost £20,000 or even more. And that doesn’t take into account expenses for bridesmaids and guests. It’s quite an industry, and I, as a civil celebrant, clearly contribute towards this cost – although only in a very small way, I hasten to add!
Bridesmaids can spend as much as £1,000, if you factor in their dress, travel, accessories, and wedding present.
Attending a wedding as a guest, especially if that involves a hotel stay (and possibly, travel, professional child care, costume, wedding gift and stag/hen nights) can cost several hundred pounds. (And I’m not even talking about destination weddings.)
It’s therefore not so surprising that a number of people have to make personal sacrifices or even decline a wedding invitation for financial reasons.
If you are planning your wedding, there are some things you can easily do to make to save your guests money.
1. Keep engagement party/hen/stag nights modest in scale.
2. Assuming you use a department store for your gift list (or registry), it doesn’t have to be the priciest – or, if you’re absoultely set on a high-end list, do include some items that don’t cost too much. I’m talking about £30-£80. You could even register at Harrods as well as at John Lewis, say, to give guests a bit of choice.
3. If it’s feasible, offer the possibility to buy individual items, rather than a set.
4. You can give guests the option of a charitable donation, if you don’t really need gifts. Then people needn’t feel embarrassment, if they’re a bit constrained.
5. You may be able to use discount stores for your bridesmaids’ dresses. Or they can hire which should work out cheaper than buying new. If the colour scheme fits, they may even be able to use dresses they currently own.
6. Your ushers should be allowed to wear suits they already have, if they so wish.
7. Choose a venue that is accessible and within reach for most people. If it’s near public transport links, so much the better.
8. Don’t have a cash bar on the day (or not until you have provided a reasonable amount of drink first)!
None of these tips are particularly arduous, and following them may make a real difference to those you really want to attend your big day – and so ultimately to you yourselves.