A three-day wedding celebration? Do learn some restraint, says Country Life

Kate Moss's wedding to Jamie Hince featured more than a dozen bridesmaids, flouting Country Life's advice - PA
Kate Moss's wedding to Jamie Hince featured more than a dozen bridesmaids, flouting Country Life's advice - PA

Not so long ago, weddings consisted of a simple ceremony followed by a daytime reception. Skip to the present day, and a three-day extravaganza is the norm, complete with social media hashtags and shameless pleas for guests to fund a round-the-world honeymoon.

Now Country Life magazine has stepped in to call for restraint, warning couples that weddings have turned into “the nuptial equivalent of an arms race”.

A classic country wedding should prioritise “quality over quantity”, the publication said.

Unnecessary add-ons include glitzy stag and hen parties in foreign locations, professional-looking websites detailing the couple’s romantic history, and an “army” of adult bridesmaids and ushers.

Country Life magazine wedding isue
The full wedding guide is in the current issue of Country Life magazine, out now

Meanwhile, parents or grandparents of the happy couple will have married at a time when a stag night comprised a couple of pints in the pub, the most extravagant item on the wedding list was a canteen of cutlery, and the guests were home by teatime. An evening party was the exception, not the rule.

“The possibilities for upgrading every aspect of a wedding now appear to be infinite,” the magazine said.

“Why have a stag night in your favourite London restaurant when you and 12 of your oldest mates could go boar hunting in Morocco?”

The worst development in modern nuptials, it argues, is the three-day wedding. This involves a Friday night get-together, a Saturday wedding with reception lasting until the early hours of Sunday, rounded off - “horror of horrors” - by a daytime event the day after, before the shattered guests embark on the journey home.

The outlay on travel, accommodation and the array of necessary outfits, not to mention the wedding list, is sizeable.

Liz Hurley Arun Nayar - Credit: Carsten Rehder/EPA
Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar added a week of celebrations in Rajasthan to their Gloucestershire country wedding Credit: Carsten Rehder/EPA

“Although you might have decided that anything as boring as a budget won’t stand in the way of your dream day, the cost of even the most modest three-day weekend, celebrating the last of your single days, is unlikely to leave much change from £1,000 - quite an investment at a stage of life when many of your friends will be clocking up half a dozen weekends a year,” the magazine said.

However, it added: “Country Life’s call to pare back the British wedding is nothing to do with parsimony and everything to do with creating weddings that don’t look like an excuse for a party and two weekends away with your friends…

“The question you should both ask yourselves in the small hours of the night is: how many of your plans are necessary?”

The trend for lavish and lengthy wedding celebrations has been led by celebrities. In 2006, Liz Hurley managed to spin out her nuptials for a week, wedding businessman Arun Nayar at Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, before a second round of festivities in India complete with 60 camels reportedly in attendance.

The average cost of a wedding is now over £30,000 if the honeymoon is included, according to a survey conducted last year.

It is increasingly common for couples to plan far-flung honeymoons and ask guests to chip in. This practice is “naff”, according to the magazine, and should be resisted. Instead, it suggested buying luggage, or an album to display photographs of the trip.

How to have a restrained wedding


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