Fork out for your own dream wedding or I’m NOT coming

Do you wish you were friends with a lovely young bride and groom from Rotherham called Clare and Ben? They are the couple who caused a furore this week after their plans to charge guests £150 each to attend their nuptials went viral.

The fee includes a three-night stay in the Peak District, with food, so no one has to bring sandwiches, while for children it’s a discount rate of £50 (I’d pay parents £50 to keep them at home).

The groom denies he’s being tight – but filling the holiday complex means he gets a free venue for the ceremony – and says the idea has gone down well with friends and family.

Ben Farina and Clare Moran, who asked guests for £150 each to attend their wedding

I suppose at least this is one couple being honest about the fact that, if they decide to tie the knot, any woman who ever vaguely sat next to them in school will have to take out an overdraft to buy a new dress, coat, bag, shoes, hat and hairdo and stump up for a hotel and travel costs, not to mention a gift. And that’s before you even start on the hell of hen dos. In fact, I think young Ben has got his guests a really good deal: three nights including food for £150! Is it a hostel?

I’ve just booked three nights in Edinburgh in an Airbnb apartment for my niece’s wedding in October, and it cost £900! With no food! I think I even have to pack my own pink Himalayan sea salt.

It used to be that the bride’s parents paid for the whole shebang. Problem is, women are getting married later and later, which means our parents are either doolally or dead.


More from Liz Jones for The Mail on Sunday…

When I got married, aged 46, to a much younger man who only had a Post Office savings account – and that was empty – I paid for the whole thing.

Hire of every room in Babington House in Somerset: £20,000. Flowers: £5,000, which didn’t include clearing them away the next day. Dinner: £10,000. An organic chocolate cake from Notting Hill I was too stressed to eat: £700. Hair, make-up artist and manicurist who made me bleed on my cream Robinson Valentine tuxedo (I really was the man in the relationship): £1,400.

I hadn’t budgeted for anyone having breakfast, which was extra, so the next day I was to be found wrestling forks from mouths. Something else I didn’t reckon on (what with the free bar following on from the champagne reception) was people cracking open whatever they could find in the mini-bars in their rooms.

I wish Gwyneth Paltrow’s new LA lifestyle store had been open in 2003, so I could have placed her Chill Child ‘kid calming mist’ in every room: an extra cost, but at least I would have been able to hear the registrar above the screaming, instead of saying loudly: ‘AY? Do I what? Who?’

I didn’t even have a wedding gift list as, by your 40s, you pretty much have all you need bar a pension and a job for life.

I spent my entire honeymoon in Seville staring at my mobile, worried NatWest was calling to say they’d bounced my cheques.

I later got an extra bill from the hotel for ‘dragging drunk guest from lake before he drowned and placing in rainforest shower’. It was the final ignominy, especially as the marriage lasted barely three years.

Of course, getting hitched is ridiculously expensive, however you choose to cut the cake.

But although a part of me admired the sheer chutzpah of asking guests to buy a ticket, I’m of the mind that unless the couple are prepared to invest in a really good do (the last wedding I went to stated BYO on the invite!), why should we bother to walk on grass in heels, or spend two hours sitting next to the bride’s mother’s cleaner?

That was a wedding in Claridge’s; I was so bored that I went shopping on South Molton Street.

For richer, for poorer, indeed.