A friend was blessed with four daughters in rapid succession.

For years however, he fretted how he would pay for their weddings. Back in the day, the bride’s father was expected to pick up the tab. Thankfully, things have moved on and costs no longer settle on one pair of shoulders. It’s become commonplace for both sets of parents to split the bill. Many happy couples now choose to foot the bill for their own big day.

Irrespective of who pays the obligatory piper, wedding costs have gone through the roof. It’s estimated the average wedding in Scotland costs £1,300 more this year than it did in 2022. It’s difficult to define an “average wedding”, as so many variables are in play. Nevertheless, there is some consensus around £15,000-£20,000, although as far back as 2019, this paper estimated an eyewatering £35,674.

At one time, ostentatious weddings were the prerogative of the upper classes and the wealthy. I recently dug out my parents’ wedding album - all 12 photos. It looks as if there were around a dozen guests at the registry office and a local restaurant. Honeymoon was a week in sunny Macduff. No, not Magaluf, Macduff.

Expectations have increased hugely since then, probably due to our obsession with celebrity and social media. The Beckhams’ naff nuptials in 1999, complete with thrones, robes and fireworks helped set the tone. More modestly, many couples plan their wedding so it looks good on Facebook or Instagram. You don’t want your wedding looking second rate compared to those of your pals.

I know it’s a big event, but it’s time to put the brake on the wedding industry. It is an industry and the bottom line is profit, dependent on getting people to pay for things they can’t afford and don’t need. The last thing those already struggling with the cost of living and housing crises need is the pressure of an inflated and overpriced wedding. The cost of a one-day bash for family and friends would go a long way towards the deposit for that first home.

It’s not just the bride and groom who are feeling the squeeze. It’s an expensive day for guests, averaging £600, if an overnight stay is involved, with celebrations often extending over several days. Stag and hen parties have become ever more exotic, ranging from expensive spa days to long weekends in distant places.

Then there’s the wedding present. This once served a useful purpose, when couples were setting up their first home and needed that kettle or toaster. Nowadays, most couples have been living together and have these things. A recent invitation boldly stated, although presents weren’t required, donations towards “honeymoon costs” would be appreciated. Aye, right.

Hotels are the principal cause of escalating costs. They are on a mission to recoup their Covid losses as quickly as possible. At a recent wedding I was charged nearly £40 for four drinks, one of which was a Coke. Same hotel, different wedding, a friend ordered seven teas and was astonished to be charged £35. Luckily, she had the composure to refuse both teas and bill.

Encouragingly, some couples are using imaginative cost-cutting strategies. Some are having “dry weddings” that avoid rip-off bar prices and remove the need for expensive overnight stays. Some ask guests, in lieu of presents, to help with the catering, cake, and venue decoration. More weddings take place in community halls, bypassing hotels altogether. Micro weddings are increasing in popularity, although that risks offending those not invited. I’m less sure about the ethics of GoFundMe pages, although there has been a reported 24% increase in the “newlyweds” category. It's also possible to get an unsecured loan to cover costs.

A word of caution. There were 7,000 divorces in Scotland in 2018-19. It probably costs around the same to get out of a marriage, as it did to get into it in the first place. Yes, your wedding day can be the biggest day of your life, but many have found it to be the biggest waste of money in their lives.