It's wedding season in Australia, with more than a third of engaged couples expected to tie the knot this Spring. So this begs the question: Are guests still expected to wear traditional outfits? Is it ok for single guests to bring a plus one? And what makes a good - and bad - wedding guest? Here, wedding expert Darcy Allen reveals the latest insights for couples planning to say I Do,. and what their guests should - and should not - do.
Q: What are the most popular venues you are seeing this Spring? A: Outdoor venues! The biggest request at Easy Weddings. from couples is an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception space.
Of course, for the Melbourne couples we have to ensure a wet weather backup plan is in place, but who doesn't love the idea of an outdoor wedding?
One long table of your nearest and dearest centred in a magical garden or winery backdrop!
Wineries are still very popular amongst couples, along with water view venues.
Q: Is dress etiquette still a thing - female guests can't wear white, black or a short dress? Or has this changed?
A: Yes! Absolutely, I would always avoid white, cream or ivory outfits for a wedding.
Typically unless the dress code specifies a cocktail dress, I would recommend female guests wear a midi or full-length dress, for formal, semi-formal, and black tie occasions.
I do, however, think black is back! We are seeing so many black tie weddings of late, therefore black is absolutely allowed!
Q: Do you think single guests should be able to include a plus one if they are not dating?
A: No. As we know the ever rising costs of weddings are growing, therefore the request to bring along an additional guest who is not known to the couple on the most important day of their lives may seem like an unfair request.
Q: What makes a bad wedding guest?
A: Talking during speeches and special formalities during the evening. Arriving late which causes the start of the ceremony to be delayed, and refusing to be seated or ushered into the reception area at the correct time by venue staff.
Q: What is the average amount people are spending on their wedding? Has the cost of living crisis had an impact?
A: The average cost of a wedding in Australia is $34,715 according to our 2023 Australian Wedding Industry Report. Overall wedding costs have increased 7.7% year on year - from $32,228 in 2022 - with the industry feeling the pinch of cost-of-living and supply chain pressures.
A third of 2024 couples are having a longer engagement, extending their engagement by up to two more years, to combat cost of living impacts.
On the other hand, a few couples have also told us they have brought their wedding date forward in 2023 to avoid further cost increases in 2024-25.
We also know that sticking to a budget is by far the #1 stress for couples planning their wedding.
What we have learnt from COVID times is that couples will never stop getting married, they may however change their spending habits.
Since the cost of and interest rate increase, we have still seen enquiry level remain strong.
However the number of guests has taken a slight drop over recent months, couples are still wanting to create a great and unique experience for their guests, however are now looking to host around 60-80 guests, as opposed to 100+.
A number of couples are scaling back on their dream wedding to make getting married more affordable, or making cuts on everyday expenses.
Weekday weddings are still an option for couples looking to save money, and some couples are telling us they are asking guests to buy their own drinks.
Some couples are forgoing an engagement party to put the costs towards their wedding instead, while a few are planning engagement parties that are actually surprise weddings!
We’re also hearing from couples taking up extra work or second jobs to help with wedding costs.
Q: How much should a couple spend on a wedding gift?
A: Cash in a wishing well is the most requested gift option by a wedding couple. The average amount guests spend on a gift is $133 per couple, and if you're family or a close friend, you should spend $250 per couple
My recommendation to wedding guests is to spend close to the amount of your per head cost to the couple.
For example on average a venue cost for food, beverage and venue hire charges is around $150 - $200 per person, so this is a great range to base your guest or wishing well contribution around.
Darcy Allen is a Senior Wedding Planner at Easy Weddings. Australia’s leading wedding marketplace and most extensive network of wedding suppliers. Engaged couples can find and book all their dream wedding vendors in one place while sticking to their budget and reducing the planning stress.