It's no secret that planning a wedding is stressful and expensive – the average cost of a wedding in the UK is now an eye-watering £30,000.
But while a wedding is definitely a celebration of the happy couple's commitment to one another, it's also – in many cases – a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate with them. No couple want their wedding guests to leave feeling disappointed.
So it's interesting to look at new research from American Express asking wedding guests which elements of the big day they find most and least enjoyable.
Interestingly, the three wedding ingredients that guests value the most cost nothing at all – knowing other guests, good weather and how well they know the couple getting married.
Venue and catering – which obviously it is possible to spend a small fortune on – also placed within the top five, which you can check out below.
1. Knowing other guests (described as important by 44% of survey participants)
2. Good weather (42%)
3. How well they know the bride/groom (41%)
4. The venue (38%)
5. The catering (37%)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the elements of a wedding that guests find least integral to their enjoyment are favours and goody bags, and the dreaded speeches.
1. Favours/goody bags (described as important by 5% of survey participants)
2. The speeches (10%)
3. Being able to bring children (10%)
4. Being able to bring a plus one (13%)
5. Meeting new people (13%)
The research also found that 59% of couples planning their wedding take steps to reduce the cost of attending for their guests. Just over 1 in 3 said they chose a venue close to their family and friends to reduce travel expenses, while just over 1 in 5 said they deliberately organised a relatively cheap stag or hen party.
If you're looking to save money when planning your wedding, check out these top tips from members of Refinery29's Money Diaries Facebook group.