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Middle-class problems: Hens and stags

By Simmy Richman

So that's the wedding season over for another year, then. Admittedly, it didn't have quite the same intensity as the summer of 2007, when a grin- and groan-worthy seven people we know decided to celebrate their nuptials within a few months of each other. Congratulations to us for getting through that one.

Don't get me wrong, I love a wedding. Cry at the drop of a ticker of confetti. So it's not the ceremony that presents the problem. It's the hens, the stags – and don't even get me started on the bridal showers.

And it's not, on this occasion, anything to do with any natural inclination towards misanthropy. It is, rather, the spiralling cost of attending such celebrations. A case in point: a couple of years ago, a family member whose invitation could not be answered "With regret", decided to get married in a foreign country. Fine. Tickets purchased and so on.

He then chose to hold his stag party in Amsterdam. Which I've got to tell you was a heap of fun until such time as we came to tot up what the whole caboodle had cost. Me – stag party (hotel, flights, food and so on): £600. Her – hen party (a more restrained affair consisting of restaurant, club, taxis etc): £120. Gift for bridal shower: £30. Gift for wedding: £100. Flights, hotels, etc for the wedding itself: £800.

A survey recently found that 43 per cent of Americans decline invitations due to the average cost of attending a wedding being $539. To which I say, peanuts. And yet, do I care if people I know get married and choose not to invite me? Reader: I do.