Monday 2 February 2015

Wedding (guest) blues

Watching your pals say I do may be expensive, you can cut costs and still have fun

The average wedding guest will spend a week's wages watching their pals say 'I do'.

We're always hearing about the rising cost of weddings but at least for the happy couple this will (hopefully) be a once in a lifetime payment – what about their poor guests?

According to a new survey the average wedding guest will spend a week's wages watching their pals say 'I do'.

More than two-thirds of women spend more on their outfit than accommodation

Between gifts, outfits, transport, hen parties and the endless list of extras that go into attending a loved one's nuptials the costs can run to more than €500 a wedding with most of us attending an average of five a year.

With money tight, some 13pc of people would turn down an invitation rather than splash out.

But according to Ireland's wedding experts, there are some ways to lighten the load.

More than two-thirds of women spend more on their outfit than accommodation and Facebook tagging means it's no longer possible to get away with the same frock at every event.

"A great way to keep costs down is to rent an outfit," says Naoise McNally, managing editor of

Outlets such as Couture For Hire, The Ivory Closet, Frock n Fabulous and Covet Dublin can supply designer dresses (Couture For Hire has a stunning selection of Valentino and Roberto Cavalli) and often take care of dry-cleaning for as little as €60.

"Raid the wardrobe of a friend from a different friendship circle and return the favour when she's going to a wedding," suggests Blaithin O'Reilly Murphy, wedding planner consultant ( "Most of us are in the same position when it comes to not having enough to buy a new outfit every time, so admit it. Being let loose on someone else's wardrobe can be just as much fun as shopping – even better, because it's free!"

Old favourites like scouring the second-hand stores of well-to-do areas and updating looks with accessories or alterations will also keep costs down.

Rather than spend €50 on professionally applied make-up for every wedding it could be more cost effective in the long run to invest in teaching yourself.

"One-on-one makeup tutorials are really taking off," says make-up artist Adele Miley (

For €85 Adele's one-and-a-half hour long class teaches a daytime look, nighttime look and tips to stop you spending yet more money on the wrong products.

"In the long run, people see it as an investment and it can help pull them out of a make-up rut," says Adele.

"Typically gifts from a couple of guests together will be in the region of €200 but this does vary between social groups and can be more in rural areas," says Naoise.

For a single guest Blaithin puts the figure at between €50 and €150, depending on the relationship and what the guest can afford.

"If €50 is all you can stretch to – and I think a lot of couples realise that money is tight for people at the moment – it might be an idea to club together with a few other budgeting guests and buy something special for the couple like a hot-air balloon ride on honeymoon or a large item off their wedding list," she says.

Irish Independent

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