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Are wedding guests getting cold feet?

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With Covid affecting the wedding industry for over two years, an industry worth almost £15 billion in the UK alone, hundreds of thousands of celebrations were cancelled, rescheduled, or even took place over Zoom. Now restrictions are all in the past, 2022 is predicted to see almost 350,000 weddings - nearly 200,000 more than in pre-pandemic years!

But just as the Covid era ends, we’ve entered a cost-of-living crisis (we really can’t catch a break, can we?).

As people enter their twenties and thirties, wedding invites become more common with many attending several in a year. And with the pandemic having delayed so many weddings, for some people the invites are coming thick and fast this year. Being invited to a wedding is traditionally a happy moment - a chance to share a joyful day with friends and family. But the rising cost-of-living means attending someone’s special day can cause an extra financial strain. There’s a lot to factor in as a wedding guest - possibly an extravagant hen/stag do, gifts, travel, accommodation, and this year weddings are increasingly taking place on weekdays (thanks to the Covid backlog), meaning guests may also have to take time off work.

So, we wanted to find out how receiving a wedding invite in a cost of living crisis actually feels for millennials and Gen Z in 2022.

Our research found that just under a quarter of young people think the increased cost of living will impact their ability to attend a wedding and/or hen/stag over the next two years. With many people feeling more anxiety than excitement when it comes to wedding and hen/stag invitations, one in four would rather not be invited to a wedding or hen/stag do altogether due to the financial worries that going would cause them! Sadly that’s not surprising, when over a third of young people fall into debt or encounter financial difficulties as a result of going to weddings or hen/ stag dos.

This financial burden is also causing a strain on friendships, with one in five people saying their anxiety is being compounded by the prospect of falling out with a friend if they decline the invitation. Money can be a difficult conversation for most people, so it’s no surprise there are high levels of anxiety involved if you can’t afford to attend a friend’s wedding.

For Gen Zs and millennials, attending other people’s weddings, hens or stags causes additional pressures, with almost half saying it’s impacted their ability to save and get onto the property ladder. This could create serious long- term problems, so it’s not just avocado toast and gym memberships that’s stopping us from buying a home!

With some people having to choose between heating and food in the current economic crisis, many are now facing tough financial decisions in their day-to-day life, and attending weddings (and all the extras that go with them) may not be possible for everyone right now.

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