How much are you forking out to attend a wedding abroad?

Emma Woollacott
wedding on a white sandy beach
wedding on a white sandy beach

Once upon a time, attending a wedding was a straightforward affair: a walk to the local church, followed by a knees-up at a nearby hotel.

At most, you might be talking a couple of hours in the car and a cheap hotel room for the night.

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In recent years, though, there's been a trend to have weddings abroad, maybe on a Caribbean beach or in the Italian lakes - and this can prove very expensive for wedding guests.

Now, search engine marketing company Spike Digital has totted up the costs of various wedding venues - and found that attending can cost guests thousands of pounds a head.

Most expensive is Antigua, where a seven-day stay will cost friends and relatives nearly £4,000 each.

Even in Turkey - the cheapest destination - wedding guests can expect to fork out £835 over the course of a three-night stay.

Unsurprisingly, these costs are a bit much for some. And even those that can afford such eye-watering prices can struggle to find the time from their holiday entitlement at work.

As a result, the survey found, more than a third of people say they wouldn't attend a destination wedding abroad; and one fifth say that, having done so, they wouldn't feel the need to fork out for a present on top.

For the happy couple themselves, getting hitched abroad can be the cheapest option. Figures from market research firm Mintel show that while the average wedding in the UK costs a little over £20,000, this cost plummets to £6,585 for the average wedding abroad.

However, as the Spike Digital research shows, engaged couples should think twice before booking those flights.

"Weddings are notoriously expensive for any couple," says Duncan Colman, director at Spike Digital.

"But it can also be costly for their guests too. The happy couple might have to consider this when planning their big day, as our survey shows, over a third of those invited might not be able to attend."

Even if your friends and family can be persuaded to come, you may be making yourselves unpopular: forums such as Mumsnet are routinely full of posters complaining that they feel pressured to attend.

And there are other things to consider too: your marriage may not automatically be legal in the UK, meaning you might have to deal with complex paperwork; and you may have to be resident in the country for a month or more for it to count.