• Over 80 per cent of 25-35 year olds in Northern Ireland are concerned about the cost of being a wedding guest next year
  • NI guests set to spend an average of £1819 on each wedding celebration
  • Biggest expenses per wedding include attending hen and stag dos (£631), travel and accommodation (£221) and buying a new outfit, hair and beauty (£233)
  • Jo Harris, Millennial Finance Specialist at Barclays, shares her top tips on how to manage your money so you can enjoy the packed wedding season alongside your other life plans

With many 2020 nuptials postponed due to COVID, new research from Barclays reveals that the average Northern Ireland millennial is expecting next year’s wedding season to cost them £1819 per wedding, with some expecting to attend four or even five weddings next year.

Half of NI 25-35 year olds expect to spend more on weddings next year than they did in 2019, with 13 per cent anticipating a 70 per cent or higher increase in costs.

While comparative to other parts of the UK, the biggest hits to NI guest’s wallets include attending hen and stag dos (£631 NI vs £554 UK average), travel and accommodation on the big day (£221 NI vs £257 UK average), a new wedding outfit, hair and beauty (£233), purchasing the happy couple a gift (NI £160 vs UK average £134) and buying drinks at the festivities (NI £130 vs UK £116).

With 91 per cent of Northern Ireland millennials looking at ways to bring down these immediate costs, some of the most popular considerations include recycling outfits (27 per cent), setting a lower budget for gifts (27 per cent), driving home straight after the wedding to save on accommodation costs (18 per cent), not attending pre-wedding celebrations such as bridal showers, stag or hen dos (36 per cent) and staying sober (18 per cent).

More than 44 per cent of young people in Northern Ireland also believe they are going to have to make some cost cuts in their day to day budgeting to afford the 2021 wedding season. Reducing monthly outgoings by eating out less (22 per cent), saving less towards a house deposit (11 per cent), or for a car (22 per cent) and even forgoing a summer holiday (33 per cent) were some of the ways cash strapped wedding guests here are looking to cut back and save towards celebrating weddings next year.

Despite all this, two-fifths (40 per cent) of millennials say it will be more than worth it get to be part of their friends and families’ special day.

Jo Harris, Millennial Finance Specialist, said: “Weddings are a wonderful time of celebration for everyone involved but, as our research shows, they can be costly – particularly for millennials who tend to have the busiest wedding season.

“Having had a number of weddings and celebrations in my 2020 diary postponed, I can totally appreciate the daunting task of reassessing your finances to ensure you can enjoy them all next year!

“Whilst the increase in festivities comes with an increase in costs, don’t let this spoil your excitement. By planning in advance, managing your money effectively and seeing where you can make those extra savings, you shouldn’t need to sacrifice other savings goals or plans.”

Given the unexpected circumstances, many engaged couples across the UK have changed their wedding plans to lower the risk of their big day being postponed again (40 per cent), ensure loved ones can attend (34 per cent) and to accommodate a change in numbers (33 per cent).

Examples include, decreasing the guest list (20 per cent), changing the venue (13 per cent) and cancelling their bridal shower, stag or hen do (20 per cent) – with more than a fifth (33 per cent) who had planned to say ‘I do’ abroad now doing so in the UK.

Jo shares her top tips on how to manage your money, so you can enjoy 2021’s wedding season alongside your other life plans:

  • Re-assess your current spending. If you know 2021 is looking like a bumper year of weddings, start planning ahead now with small changes that can help you set aside the money you need and avoid any last minute cash dilemmas! Have a think about where you can make small tweaks to your spending to free up the money for the extra costs. Use the calendar feature in the Barclays app to see all your upcoming outgoings, and have a think about whether there is anything you can cut back on, such as unused subscriptions. These small changes won’t make much difference to you day-to-day, but will add up faster than you think.
  • Set savings goals. Many of us have things we want to save for, but sometimes life feels like it gets in the way of actually setting aside money for these goals. To give yourself a boost in the right direction, why not set a savings goal? You can then track your progress and have a clearer idea of how much you need to be putting away to hit your targets. An easy way to track your progress is with the Savings Goals tool in the Barclays app. You can set up various savings goals – whether that’s your holiday fund or a pot for your best friend’s wedding – and have your own personalised tracker, editing or updating the goal as you go along.
  • Caring can involve sharing. Rather than going solo with costs, why not club together with friends? If you would rather not wear the same outfit twice, why not swap and share? Whether that’s accessories or the full outfit, not only will it save you the cost of new wedding attire, but it will provide plenty of style inspiration. The same goes for wedding gifts. If you are thinking of purchasing a present, clubbing together can often help reduce the cost, as well as sharing creative ideas for a unique gift.
  • Get creative with homemade gifts. Weddings are sentimental affairs, and a homemade gift can be just as (if not more) personal and thoughtful than buying an expensive one. Consider collating memories in a photo album or creating a video. You could even give the gift of time by offering your services for wedding day preparations.

Anyone who wants to get to grips with their finances can visit the Money Worries Hub for practical advice and support.

Both guests and couples planning their wedding can also receive free, impartial guidance on how to manage these costs with Barclays Money Mentors – a service that is available to Barclays customers and non-customers.

Visit to find out more and book an session.

The top anticipated costs per wedding in 2021 (NI cost shown bold in brackets):

  1. Attending hen dos abroad – £148 (£182)
  2. Attending stag dos abroad –£146 (£162)
  3. Accommodation – £138 (£157)
  4. Attending hen dos in the UK – £136 (£146)
  5. Buying a new wedding outfit – £136 (£105)
  6. Wedding gift for the couple – £134 (£160)
  7. Events surrounding the wedding day – £125 (£116)
  8. Attending stag dos in the UK – £124 (£141)
  9. Travel to and from the venue – £119 (£64)
  10. Drinks on the day – £116 (£130)
  11. Attending bridal showers – £111 (£116)
  12. Hiring a wedding outfit – £111 (£102)
  13. Hair and beauty – £103 (£128)

The top ways millennials are looking to reduce the cost of 2021 wedding season:

  1. Reusing / recycling outfits (27 per cent)
  2. Setting a lower budget for gifts (27 per cent)
  3. Driving home straight after the wedding to save on accommodation costs (18 per cent)
  4. Not attending pre-wedding celebrations (bridal showers, stag or hen dos) (36 per cent)

Staying sober (18 per cent)

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