Chances are you’ve attended a few weddings before, so you’ll know the feeling of excitement when the invitation comes through the door. And then the mild panic, as you realise you suddenly need to budget for a special celebration – and it’s more expensive than you might think!

And if you’re reading this, you’re probably now looking at wedding guests from the other side of the fence, as an engaged couple planning who to invite to their wedding. While you may have swapped sides, it won’t take long for the same issue to arise… having a lot of wedding guests is eating up your wedding budget, and fast!

To help make sense of what a wedding guest actually costs, we break it down from both the bride and groom’s perspective and that of the guest. Ultimately, this information should help you to decide who to invite, who is likely to attend, and who could be trimmed from the list.


We bet each wedding guest costs more than you think, for both you and the guest! But that doesn't mean you shouldn't invite lots of them...


The cost of a wedding guest for the couple

Continue reading below…

It all starts with the stationery. While invitations, RSVPs, menus and place cards may only be a fraction of your overall wedding budget, every spend adds up. The more guests you invite, the more stationery is going to set you back.

It’s a trend that continues into the wedding day itself. Just consider the fizz and cocktails served at your drinks reception, the wine during the wedding breakfast, and the Champagne for the toasts – and that’s before you’ve even considered the possibility of a free bar.

Feeding guests will also eat a large hole into your wedding budget. A three-course wedding breakfast will usually set you back at least £50 a head. Then there’s the canapés and evening buffet or food stalls that you’ll need to consider too…

Hint: check out this A-Z of food and drink ideas and these three ways to save money, which includes a tasty way to serve more, for less.


We bet each wedding guest costs more than you think, for both you and the guest! But that doesn't mean you shouldn't invite lots of them...


The cost of being a wedding guest

Put the shoe on the other foot, however, and you’ll soon see that weddings are far from one big food and drink freebie for guests, either.

Purchasing a new outfit and accessories and booking hair appointments in preparation for your big day aren’t all that purse-friendly either. You do expect a well-dressed guest, after all.

Factoring in the travel and accommodation costs, and the value of their wedding gift or honeymoon fund contribution too, being a wedding guest requires some budgeting of its own.


Don’t let the money put you off, though. As the old adage goes, you can’t put a price on happiness. Sharing your day with your favourite people will undoubtedly bring plenty of smiles and your guests will be thrilled to be there.

So why not sit down with your spreadsheet and guest list and find a happy medium – a balance between inviting everyone you’d like to and the cost of doing so. And if you still can’t decide, take our guest list quiz and you’ll have it sorted in seconds.

Spend wisely on the people most special to you and they’ll be only too happy to pick up the cost of joining you.


Are you surprised at how much a wedding guest actually costs?