Guests at a wedding can spend cash like confetti
Couples can spend months or even years planning their wedding and their budget, making sure their big day doesn’t turn into an even bigger expense.
But guests can also find their cash disappearing through their fingers like confetti without some preparation.
With accommodation, travel, gifts and outfits to pay for, the costs soon mount up, and if you’re lucky enough to be asked along on the stag or hen party too, it’s estimated that each invite can cost us between £504.01 and £811.02, according to figures released by event management company Chillisauce.
But Julie Dawson, from wedding planning company The Wedding Genie, which is based in Staffordshire, said many couples did not want their guests to spend more than they could afford celebrating their special occasion.
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She said: “People are definitely thinking about the money guests are spending, they are very aware of the expenses of going to a wedding, with some not asking for presents at all.”
New figures from First Direct show the average spend on a wedding gift has risen in the past year, with people in the Midlands paying out an average of £48.35.
Ms Dawson said even if the couple had not asked for gifts, people still often wanted to buy them a present and suggested suggested guests look into buying the couple an experience on their honeymoon, like pre-dinner drinks or a meal during their trip, rather than looking for an item to buy. She said: “Guests tend to want to contribute, and sometimes all of the guests will contribute to one big thing.”
Some of the most memorable gifts are personal presents that have had thought, care and time put into them. Those with photography skills, for example, could take a collection of non-posed pictures on the day that the professionals won't have captured, and then put them into a beautiful album. Or you could record parts of the day such as the preparations and ceremony, and ask guests to say a personal message for the couple to the camera.
Perhaps you can find a painting of the wedding venue and have it framed as a reminder. If the bride has told you the tune to which she will be walking down the aisle, consider ordering the music score and having it framed.
Advice from financial experts at MoneySupermarket is that planning ahead is the key for guests on a budget. The good news is that most wedding invites or “save the date” cards tend to give some notice, so there is time to start saving.
A regular savings account will give you the best rates of interest, although in return you will have to commit to regularly monthly deposits and some accounts insist on you locking your cash away for a fixed term.
The West Brom Building Society Fixed Rate Regular Saver for example, pays a competitive rate of 4.10 per cent AER. You will need to pay in between £10 and £250 per month and, if you don't, the rate drops to 0.50 per cent. You'll also have to be prepared to lock your money away for a full year.
If you'd rather retain access to your cash, you'll need to opt for an easy access savings account. The Post Office Online Saver is the current market-leader, paying a variable rate of 3.17 per cent AER with a 1.52 per cent bonus which drops off after the first 12 months. Therefore if you wanted to continue saving you will need to move your money then to get the next best rate.
Hotels can be one of the biggest expenses to fork out for as a wedding guest. But think about where your priorities lie - if you are going to be getting in in the early hours and just need somewhere to sleep then consider going for a cheap and cheerful option.
Quite often the couple will have secured discounted room in the venue for the wedding party. However, this can still be a substantial cost. Make sure you shop around to see what is in the area and look at B&Bs or even consider camping if it's summer and there's a camp site nearby.
To get the lowest price on train tickets, book ahead. They are released 12 weeks in advance and being flexible with your travel times will also help to keep costs down. Look out for online ticket offers and don't always assume standard class is cheaper - sometimes you can get in first class for the same price or even less. To find the cheapest train tickets, look at TravelSupermarket's train tickets channel.
If you are jetting off to celebrate a friend's nuptials in the sun buying your flight early will be cheapest. And if you only going out for a couple of days, only taking hand luggage can really help to keep costs down.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.