Singletons face paying the price for flying solo this wedding season

Monday 15th May 2023

  • Novuna Personal Finance reveals that almost a fifth (17%) of couples are cutting back on plus one invitations as they look to save money on their wedding day
  • 11 % of singles have declined a wedding invitation due to not being offered a plus one because of the extra expense that comes with attending an event solo
  • Mounting social pressure to bring a plus one to a wedding, if allocated, is felt by a fifth of singletons (19%) with many ramping up spending on dating apps to find the perfect match

The cost-of-living crisis has impacted all aspects of life, and weddings is no exception. The increased expense of weddings combined with reduced disposable income has led to almost a fifth (17%) of couples cutting back on plus one invitations to their big day, according to recent research by Novuna Personal Finance.

The issue has caused some nationwide debate, with a quarter (25%) of couples tying the knot in the North-East removing plus one’s due to costs as opposed to only 7% in Wales.

Whilst inviting plus one’s for all wedding guests can prove too cost prohibitive for many soon-to-be wedded couples, for singletons it’s a key factor when making their decision to attend or not.

Faced with forking out for accommodation and gifts all by themselves, on top of the expense of budgeting for outfits, Novuna highlights that nearly a fifth of single Brits (17%) resent having to spend considerably more money than their couple counterparts attending a wedding.

The removal of these invitations has resulted in over a tenth (11%) of singles declining RSVP’s. However, feelings about flying solo at a wedding are not unanimous across the UK; only 6% in the North West have declined due to not being offered the option to bring a plus one, in comparison to 13% in the South East.

In addition to the greater expense of attending weddings experienced by singletons, they can also be a stressful social environment without a plus one for lone guests. Faced with the dreaded “singles table”, 19% have felt social pressure to bring a plus one if allocated one.

Novuna research has found that, faced with the stress felt by singletons to find a one plus one, 13% felt compelled to go out and date more, with many hopeful singles spending more of their income on dating, even if that means cutting back on essentials.  And in the search for the perfect partner, it’s men who are likely to spend more with 39% paying for dating apps, over 10% more than women, with Tinder (16%) and Bumble (8%) proving to be the most popular apps for singletons.

Should they find love in the digital world, the real-life costs kick in; the average single adult in the UK spends a considerable £1,652 and goes on 15 dates before meeting that special someone.

Theresa Lindsay, Group Marking Director, from Novuna Personal Finance, said: “The Plus One dilemma is certainly becoming more of an issue this year as financial pressures force more couples to consider scaling back the guest list. However, this growing trend is having an impact beyond the cost of the wedding itself.

“Over 10% of singletons are now prepared to think with their wallets and decline an invite rather than spend nearly double the costs of other guests to attend the big day itself, and face the social pressures of flying solo.”


The findings are the result of an Opinium omnibus research study conducted from 16 March to 20 March 2023. During this time, 1,000 UK adults, 750 who are single and 250 in a new relationship were surveyed.