Wedding Guest Costs

Wedding Guest Costs

With all the (justified!) obsessive talk about inflation, the short piece in Saturday’s “Money” section of the “Daily Telegraph” may have gone unnoticed. However, the report (with statistics furnished by American Express) contains some horrifying revelations about how much wedding costs have risen since pre-COVID.

Apparently, it used to cost guests an average of £391 in 2019 to attend a wedding. (That’s quite surprising in itself!) Now, they say, this figure has risen to £883. And we’re not talking destination weddings!

It appears that, across the population, £15.6 billion is spent on outgoings such as accommodation, clothes, grooming and travel.

We learn that hair and beauty costs have jumped up 41% per wedding. Spending on outfits have gone up by more than a fifth to £159. This had accounted for £130 in 2019. Accommodation costs have gone up 31%.

Costs are always going to rise, of course, but it really makes accepting a wedding invitation something to think carefully about. And we aren’t even taking gifts into account!

I don’t think there is much we can do about it. As far as inflation goes, we mostly have to grin and bear it, so the same must go for wedding guest costs. I can’t wave a magic wand (I wish I could!) and resolve things. Mutual awareness, empathy and understanding are important.

Couples will have to consider the circumstances for their guests and be accepting if their guests have to duck out or can’t afford the Maserati that might be on the Wedding List! Just as guests may have to make a sacrifice or two to attend the wedding, so the couple must make sure (without going to extremes) that they show their appreciation to those guests who add so much to the whole affair.

A wedding is still a wonderful, memorable event (especially, with a great celebrant conducting the ceremony!).

But welcome to the new tomorrow!

Photo: www.elwoodphotography.co.uk

You Win Some; You Lose Some

You Win Some; You Lose Some

People think that, because a celebrant is independent, they will not be emotionally involved in what is going on in front of them.

I consider myself as macho as the next wimp (!), and I have often been able to look at a ceremony objectively, though sympathetically. However, that has not always been the case.

Not unreasonably, it was a struggle for me to conduct the funeral of my aunt without tears, but of course I was emotionally involved, which people understood and accepted.

I found it incredibly hard to keep a dry eye when I conducted the funeral of a suicide victim, whose death had come as a total shock to his widow and young children. The general outpouring of grief was devastating.

In some ways, even worse was the time I had to read out the last message from a young lady to the mourners. “Moving” doesn’t describe how it was for me – let alone, the guests present.

I have had to hold back a tear at some celebratory ceremonies too. When I stand right next to a couple, and see the looks of unreserved love they are directing to each other, then that is a privilege and delight. If they cry, then it is hard not to follow suit!

In some cases, the couple has had to overcome huge adversity; in other cases, their stories are more mundane, but their true love no less evident and enjoyable.

I well remember my own wedding some 23 years ago. I was 45 and had given up hope of ever forming a meaningful attachment, let alone, marrying.  In 1997, I met the lady who would revolutionise my life.

Isobel had been through an abusive marriage and had not had things easy. She needed the security and love that I would offer her.

Our guests were clearly so happy that we were getting together! You could feel the love, as you entered the building. It really was the happiest day of my life (hopefully, of Isobel’s too!). I couldn’t stop grinning like an idiot!

I think I managed to keep a dry eye, though!

Reducing Wedding Costs

Reducing Wedding Costs

It’s not always necessary to spend an arm and a leg on a wedding. Some short cuts may be possible. But pros and cons need to be weighed up carefully.

Wedding Planners

A wedding planner is a pretty essential team-player for an elaborate or large affair. However, you can sometimes manage without one, especially if the ceremony is going to be straight-forward. There will still be a lot of work and responsibility on your shoulders – you may have to source the best suppliers and co-ordinate everything on the day yourself. You may be leaving yourself open to worry and anxiety in the lead-up to, and on, the big day. So think it through first.

The Venue

Again, if the ceremony is going to be very simple, and if you have the space, you can consider holding your wedding in your home or back garden. Of course, hiring a venue means you are paying for convenience and simplicity. Otherwise, you’ve got to be very aware of health and safety when setting up, and will need a lot of support before, and on, the day.

Officiant

You can avoid using the services of a professional, and get somebody else to prepare and read the ceremony. As a celebrant, I may be biased, and don’t recommend this! A celebrant will put together a wonderful ceremony based on your wishes and beliefs. They will also deliver it professionally and beautifully, as they are experienced public speakers. Their presence will also afford you calm and peace of mind, which are so valuable at a stressful time.

Extras

Do you really need that owl bringing the rings to the bridegroom? Bear in mind, if you’re trying to save money, what is dispensable and take into consideration what is essential to you.

Catering

If it’s a very small do, you can get away with buying in, laying out, serving, and washing up/disposing of the food and drink, not to mention the crockery, serviettes and cutlery yourself. You’ll have to make sure that special requests (eg vegetarians, gluten-free, children’s food) are looked after. Are you sure the saving here is worthwhile?

Entertainment

You can certainly save money by skipping the entertainment altogether, or by keeping it amateur. If you go for a reception, then be aware that not everybody will like what you offer. (The grannies and grandpas may not like a disco, for example.)

Photographers/Videographers

I think it’s a false economy to do without a professional photographer and/or videographer. You’re going to want tangible memories of your big day, and they need to be of high quality. You may know someone who’s a dab hand at photography and will do it for you. It does mean that they will not be able to enjoy the day properly and – even worse – if they stuff up, then your friendship may risk being sacrificed.

The list could go on! But I hope it gives you something to start on, as you plan your big day – and, if you decide to use a civil celebrant, please have a chat with me!

Religious Marriage?

Religious Marriage?

Returning to day-to-day affairs seems a little mundane, after the weekend we’ve just had! It’s been even harder for me, as I celebrated my birthday right in the middle of the long weekend. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the Jubilee (and my birthday!).

A few weeks ago (I’m afraid I got distracted, and put it off!) The Daily Telegraph published an interesting article. Apparently, marriages in places of worship now (as of 2019) account for less than a fifth of all ceremonies. This is the first time such a drop has been recorded – and actually represents a record low.

Religious ceremonies accounted for 18.7% of opposite-sex marriages, and same-sex a mere 0.7%.

One reason suggested was that more couples are choosing to live together, rather than marry, but that doesn’t really explain the drop in the religious option. I wonder if it is more connected with the drop in active church-going.

Incidentally, I wonder if this will get worse before it recovers. Faced with all the uncertainty around Covid and social distancing, people prefer the greater flexibility of a civil celebrant to the rigidity of the Church.

I am not going to knock religious ceremonies (especially as I chose to marry in a full religious ceremony myself!). Obviously, they appeal to those religiously inclined, and can offer a personal, meaningful, spiritual and beautiful ceremony in a special setting.

Drawbacks could be perceived to be that they are rather one-size-fits-all. The basic liturgy is followed, and will be the same – or similar – for each couple. There is little flexibility in readings, texts, ritual etc., whereas a celebrant-led service can provide all these.

There can be complications, such as a mixed-marriage, which is no problem for a civil celebrant, but which may present difficulties for the priest. Moreover, a full-blown religious service can be a bit much for people who are only lukewarm towards religion, as it is.

The Church can be a lovely setting, but a civil venue can be chosen that is equally, or even more, spectacular and atmospheric.

So each to their own, of course. There is plenty to be said for religious weddings, but they are not everybody’s cup of tea. A personalised celebrant-led ceremony may well tick all the boxes.

To find out how, a chat with me may be all that you need!

Congratulations!

Congratulations!

As a wedding celebrant, “congratulations!” is very much part of my vocabulary. I was going to say “everyday vocabulary”, but there’s nothing everyday or mundane about a special occasion! Each one deserves to be celebrated to the full.

I know this is a little premature, but my usual blogging day is Tuesday and the following Tuesday would miss the Jubilee celebrations, However, I wouldn’t be the first to start early.

Obviously, I’m directing these particular congratulations to our monarch, Queen Elizabeth. I somehow doubt if she’ll be reading this (although I suspect she may be a secret subscriber!), but such an occasion cannot be ignored.

I’ve been in business as a celebrant for almost ten years; the Queen for 7 times as long. Even if she wasn’t still fulfilling a daunting workload in her nineties, the length of her service would be impressive. She may not have originally wanted to be queen, but she has certainly embraced the role and taken it seriously. She has totally devoted herself to it.

I don’t expect my business to go on as long as the Queen’s (perhaps I will double the present length of my service, if health allows), but I hope I can share her commitment and skills in some way.

I simply congratulate Her Majesty, and wish her continued good health so that she can continue to inspire others and to work on as long as she wishes to.

Congratulations, ma’am!