We went to a wedding, in Scotland, in October. If you don’t know the realities of weather in the UK, this is a brave move and not taken lightly.
Aside from being brave, we also needed some money because destination weddings can be expensive, so be prepared to have your friendship cost some £££ if you are attending one. I treat it as an investment into the relationship.
Here is our full itinerary and cost of being the guests.
The wedding was in Castle Douglas area, where there are no airports for commercial flights and no immediate train connections. Most guests would have travelled either to Dumfries or Glasgow by train or to Glasgow by plane and arrived by car at the venue. Fair number also drove up directly. We were in the latter category, blessed with another friend going up to this wedding and kindly offering us a lift. The journey itself took approximately 7 hours. We took a couple of service stops, one to eat a dinner (£16 for 3 people, the boys had KFC, I had vegan Waitrose pasta salad) and one to just stretch. We made it to the wedding venue at 1.30am, and let me just say, it was a cold night. I also put £50 into my driving friend’s pocket as a little thank you and a contribution to the petrol costs.
We opted for accommodation on site, which cost £73 + £5 bedding fee per person. For the two of us sharing a basic cabin (we called our bedroom ‘the shed’) and using dorm-style communal showers and bathrooms the overall price worked out to be £156. Surprisingly expensive for two nights in a shed, so I am choosing to assume our accommodation fee subsidised some of the wedding festivities.
My friend married her lovely husband in a beautiful humanitarian ceremony. It was genuinely heart-warming. Which is good, because it was an outdoor ceremony and the weather was chilly. Luckily, the rain held out past the point of anyone caring for it.
My outfit cost £39 total (French Connection dress purchased on sale, all other accessories and a coat from my existing wardrobe, boyfriend’s whole outfit was also from his existing wardrobe). Following the ceremony which took place around 12.30pm the bride and groom treated us to a nibbly lunch of canapes which paired well with the bottle upon bottle of prosecco the wedding party downed in the 1.5h of the initial reception.
This initial reception was followed by Highlands games which included changing from high heels into boots and fighting your way through a bunch of well managed physical activities from archery through throwing wellington boots in a field. All facilitated by men in kilts and fuelled by aforementioned prosecco and good attitude. Let’s just say we were all tipsy and got really muddy – it started raining halfway through but we all got too tipsy-competitive to care.
Following the Highlands games we all turned in to wash up some of the mud and sit down to a dinner. The dinner involved burgers (decent) and a variety of sides (also decent) alongside speeches, general merriment and a significant amount of whisky.
This was followed by cakes, cheeses and a dance along to a band also donning kilts. We turned in at 3am.
The gift to the couple from us as non-relatives was a customary card and £50 per person money gift.
The morning brought on a fried Scottish breakfast (think haggis instead of black pudding), lots of tired looking family members and friends and a quick scramble for a lift to Glasgow.
As a pair of rare guests without a car, we managed to hitch a ride with a couple of other guests heading to Glasgow.
As a thank you we invited one of the guests who didn’t have to rush off to a lunch with us. It turned out that the venue we chose on a whim was in fact offering free burgers if you download their app, so the bill came to a meagre £6.40, drinks and sides included.
We then hopped on a bus to the airport (£17 for 2 total, Uber might have been cheaper but I will say this bus was pretty comfortable). From there we took a flight to Gatwick (£96.92 for 2 people total) and from Gatwick we took a train home. As it happened while we were queuing to buy the train tickets a group of 3 approached us attempting to sell on the tickets which they purchased accidentally for a journey back into London. Instead of paying £6.40 (discounted from £9.80 per person thanks to us both having annual gold cards for the rail transport) the merry people sold us their tickets for £2 a pop. We got home just after 9pm with ample time to unpack, play with the cats and run some laundry.
The final cost in this adventure is a cat sitter fee – for Friday night to Sunday morning stint our cost was £41.50.
With the total cost of £526.82 for the two of us to attend and enjoy it’s easy to see how such sums would need to be considered as an investment into a relationship with the bride and groom. And it also needs to be budgeted for and planned to ensure you can actually afford it.