Newlyweds could find themselves scooping about £7,000 worth of gifts on their big day, research suggests
A survey of 2,000 Brits by Admiral Home Insurance found couples could find themselves entering married life together by counting out the cash, as the UK’s wedding gift-giving habits are changing and the traditional wedding list is dying out.
Brits are more likely to have given money at a wedding than any other type of present over the last 10 years – including an item from the once popular wedding gift list.
With guests spending about £85 each on gifts – dropping to £70 if they are only invited to the evening reception – and an average of 82 guests attending each wedding, this amounts to about £6,991.
By contrast, most people said if they were getting married this summer they’d expect their guests to spend at least £62 on a present, rising to £94 for gifts from immediate family and dropping to £47 for presents from distant friends.
Those who are currently engaged would expect to receive presents valued at £91, from guests – almost double the expectation of those who are single, who think £52 is the right value for a guest to spend.
Blood isn’t always thicker than water
Guests spend the most on immediate family members, with about £137 being spent on siblings and parents.
However, more money is spent on close friends than distant family members, with the average wedding guest spending £96 for friends and £76 on distant family.
Guests who are engaged are also more generous, spending about £90 on a gift, compared to divorcees who spend a third less, at £62.
Work colleagues draw the short straw, with guests spending an average of £57 on a gift for those they work with.
The survey also found guests in Northern Ireland are the most generous, spending on average £154 on wedding gifts, while those in the east midlands spend just £57.
Like day guests, evening wedding guests across the board said they’d spend more on immediate family – about £105, compared with colleagues, who they’d spend £50 on.
Londoners spend the most on evening reception gifts – £132 – compared with evening guests in Yorkshire, who spend 68% less, at about £42.
What couples want
The popularity of the wedding gift list has fluctuated throughout the decades, peaking for those who got married in the nineties when a third of couples shared a gift list with guests.
In true humble Britishness, two in five of those who are already married say they didn’t ask for anything at their wedding.
Meanwhile, the popularity of asking for cash has risen steadily, with a fifth of Brits married in the past decade saying they asked guests for money.
Similarly, couples asking for a donation to a honeymoon, or other fund, has also risen in popularity since the seventies.
Charity donations on the rise
Those married most recently also the were the most likely to have asked for a charity donation – one in 10 (13%) couples who tied the knot in the last decade opted to pay their gift forward, rather than keep it for themselves.
Younger guests, aged 25 to 34, are significantly more likely than any other age group to think outside the box when it comes to gift giving.
Almost a third (28%) of this generation said they would give a voucher, compared with just 17% of Brits on the whole.
Meanwhile a fifth (21%) would give an experience, compared with just 6% of Brits on average, and and almost a fifth (19%) would give a charity donation, compared with just 7% of Brits overall.
A fifth of those surveyed (21%) said they’d been upset over a wedding gift they’d received, with men more likely to have been upset than women – 20% compared with 11%.
One in 10 gift-givers also admitted feeling upset, saying the couple’s reaction to their present had upset them, with 6% saying a more expensive gift had been expected, and 4% saying the couple didn’t like the present.
Meanwhile, almost a fifth (18%) of people said they’d even fallen out with someone over a wedding gift, including arguing with their partner over how much they should spend on the happy couple.
While a quarter (23%) of people said they normally give a gift of their own choosing as a wedding guest, the personal touch isn’t always well received.
More than one in 10 (12%) wedding guests in Aberdeen admitted they have re-gifted an unwanted wedding present, making them three times more likely than the national average (4%) to give away a wedding gift.
It is unusual
The research shows British couples have received plenty of unusual gifts on their big day, with guests handing over unorthodox presents such as a box of electrical fuses, cat food, a stepladder and some white chocolate mice.
Meanwhile, others admitted to being the ones who had gone off the beaten track with their wedding gift to newlyweds, with peculiar presents including a pottery parrot, a dog, some shells and an old-fashioned telephone.