The big day can be a big spend and not just for the bride and groom. Guests are splurging too, according to a new report from Mintel. Timing the release of its study with the upcoming wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews, the firm’s research reveals that it’s not just royal guests who indulge on everything from attire to accommodations.
“As wedding celebrations have become more extravagant affairs in recent years, the various costs that guests incur have also increased,” says Jack Duckett, senior consumer lifestyles analyst at Mintel.
Guests are not only forking out on gifts, but in many cases spend on new outfits, travel, and accommodation. Hen and stag parties have also become big business, morphing from what was traditionally a night out with friends into fully-fledged, multi-day celebrations.
Guests are not only forking out on gifts, but in many cases spend on new outfits, travel, and accommodation. Hen and stag parties have also become big business, morphing from what was traditionally a night out with friends into fully-fledged, multi-day celebrations. The rising cost of stag and hen parties reflects the increasing breadth of activities groups look to include in their celebration, ranging from afternoon tea and wine tasting experiences to spa weekends abroad, Duckett adds.
Highlights from the study include:
- Of those who have bought a new outfit for a wedding in the last three years, the average consumer spend was £101, rising to £104 amongst male guests.
- Gift-givers spend £76 on average on wedding presents.
- Travel to and from the event average at £63. For those forced to book accommodation nearby, expenditure averages at £61.
- Guests buying drinks at a wedding spend £31 on average. In addition, spend on other miscellaneous costs, such as extra food and drink on the day, tallies up to £30.
- The average stag and hen party sets attendees back £164, with spending proving much the same between stags £163 and hens £165.
Giving housewares obsolete
Mintel research further reveals nearly half (49%) of all adults have attended at least one part of a wedding in the last three years and a further 14% of all adults have attended a hen or stag party during the same timeframe.
While men are more likely to spend money on looking the part, Mintel research shows they are less generous in the gift department. Women spent an average of £79.30 for a gift they gave at the last wedding they attended, compared to £71.82 spent by male gift givers. On the other hand, it seems a wedding tipple is top priority for male guests who spend an average of £37.96 on drinks compared to the £23.21 that women spend.
Although money is unlikely to be an issue for Pippa and Hedge Fund Manager James, 76% of all adults who have attended a wedding celebration in the last three years agree that cash or gift vouchers are an ideal wedding gift, Mintel states.
“With many couples today having ‘set up house’ together before they marry, the tradition for giving new couples homewares has been rendered increasingly obsolete,” Duckett says. “Wedding gift lists have consequently become more popular in recent years, as marrying couples look to guide guests towards items that they want or need.”
With the average costs involved in attending a wedding proving relatively high, it follows that guests are keen to avoid incurring extra costs. Some 57% of wedding guests agree that guests should not be expected to pay for food and drink on the day of the wedding, while the same proportion (57%) do not believe it is fair to expect guests to travel too far to attend a wedding.
Getting the right dress
When it comes to planning, 58% of today’s brides and brides-to-be say getting the right dress is an important part of their wedding. At least 19% of women who married within the last three years, or who are looking to get married in the next three, either did or would consider buying a secondhand wedding dress.
“With bespoke dresses often proving prohibitively expensive, there remains scope for high street brands to develop their wedding proposition,” Duckett says. “But there are also blossoming opportunities for the second-hand wedding dress market to expand. For instance, charity shops can further market their wedding collections, helping to establish a closer bond between weddings and charitable causes.”
While some brides across the nation will be looking to Pippa for inspiration, the majority of recent couples and those planning to marry look to family members (51%) for inspiration, while just 4% cite celebrities as a source of inspiration for their big day, states the Mintel study.
When it involves who to invite, children can prove something of a challenge. Three in five (60%) wedding attendees agree it is difficult to keep children occupied at wedding celebrations. Despite this, just one in ten (10%) couples indicate that they did not or would not invite children to their wedding or civil partnership.
Finally, while 71% of Brits say that attending weddings is enjoyable, 61% of attendees believe weddings have become too competitive these days and 67% agree that weddings have become too extravagant. This sentiment rings true with those planning a wedding too, with 17% of newlyweds or those planning a wedding in the next three years agreeing that they would like guests to think that their wedding was better than others they have attended.
“While, overall, guests enjoy going to weddings, there is a relatively strong consensus that, even from a guest’s perspective, they have become competitive and over-extravagant affairs,” Duckett says.