The Modern Wedding Guest – What Do People Really Think?

Weddings signal huge celebration, and in modern times they have become far more personal affairs than the traditions of old.  This leaves a lot to think about, and not just for the bride and groom.  Guests too have a lot on their mind in the lead up to a wedding: what to wear, how much to spend, and who they would like to see on the guest list. These are just some common questions facings attendees once invitations have been opened.

But what are the most popular opinions across the UK on these controversial matters? Leading fashion brand Oasis has conducted a survey to reveal all. To find out what people really think about how things should be done on the big day, 1,000 UK wedding guests were quizzed on popular questions surrounding wedding etiquette.

Photo by Amanda Vick

Choosing an outfit

When it comes to a modern wedding, the only outfits you can expect to see is the white wedding dress and suit by the bride and groom. Those worn by the guests vary depending on personal choice. This points us towards a contentious subject; should anyone else be allowed to wear white? Moving away from the traditional rule that only the bride should wear white, 30% of people believe it’s ok to wear white as a guest, and 4% said it would be their colour of choice. There was a notable gender split, with only 24% of women believing it was ok, compared to 38% of men.

Standing out on the big day can be important to the bride and groom. This often leads to them wanting control over what the guests wear to their wedding. 60% of people have no issue with the bride and groom dictating which colour guests should wear to the wedding, but it’s different when it comes to price. More than two-thirds of guests (68%) disagree that a bride and groom should be able to dictate the price of guests’ outfits.

According to the survey, on average people spend £88.75 on their outfit, £55.95 on shoes, and £50.68 on a bag before attending a wedding. In terms of colours seen when the celebrations arrive, these were the most popular:

  • Blue: 16%
  • Black: 12%
  • Pink: 8%
  • Grey: 7%
  • Purple: 4%

Cost of being a wedding guest

Buying nice gifts and spending the right amount on different occasions can be tricky, and a wedding is no different. Many would rather the decision was out of their hands when it came to gift buying, with 23% preferring gift registers and 22% saying they would rather give cash.

On average, people fork out £45.67 on presents for the happy couple, although this figure changes significantly depending on who they’re buying for. Siblings receive the most expensive gifts (£66.88), followed by close friends (£52.07). For those who opt against gift registers or cash, these are some of the commonly bought gifts for a wedding:

  • Vouchers: 37%
  • Kitchen appliance: 28%
  • Glassware: 26%
  • Personalised gifts: 24%
  • Books 7%

Away from gifts, the cost of travel, accommodation and other necessities that come with attending a wedding can leave guests a little wary of money. On average people spend £97.87 on accommodation and £71.82 on travel, making weddings an expensive affair for guests.

Photo by Yomex Owo on Unsplash

Invitations and guest list

Ultimately, it’s up to the bride and groom who attends their big day, but guests still have their opinion on wedding invitations. As Oasis’ research has highlighted, being a guest at a wedding can be demanding. This raises questions over how early people should expect to receive their invitation. Over half (52%) of guests believe they should be sent a save a date card at least four months before the wedding, and 79% expect their invitation at least two months prior to the date.

There is often disagreement about whether kids should be invited to weddings, and this divides opinions in the survey. 32% believe only children who are close relatives should attend weddings, and a further 7% think there should be no children at all. However, not inviting children to a wedding poses further points of contention. With weddings already putting a lot of strain on guests when it comes to covering costs, 30% of adults say that if a bride and groom decide against inviting children, they should pay for childcare.

As a guest, you want to do everything you can for the happy couple, but etiquette can be confusing. This survey provides insight for guests who are wondering what is expected of them when invited to a wedding. It also helps couples do all they can for their guests who have committed to celebrating with them. Weddings are about good food and dodgy dancing. A little extra understanding can go a long way in helping things run smoothly on the big day.