The average wedding in the UK costs £17,300, at least, according to a 2021 study by Hitched. If that figure seems intimidating – don’t worry. There’s no need to feel pressured into paying for a wedding that you can’t afford. Whatever your budget, you’re sure to have an incredible day.
How much does a wedding venue cost?
Your venue may be the most expensive part of your wedding. After all, you’ll need a somewhere big enough to seat your guests and plenty of space to dance the night away.
According to Bride Magazine,a venue could cost around £7,600– but this could vary widely. A stately home might exceed this budget, while a more modest venue will be more affordable.
How many people you invite may also influence the price – slimming down the guestlist could mean a smaller, cheaper venue.
Top tip: Even if your venue isn’t a grand building, you can still make it look beautiful with the way you decorate it.
How much does wedding food cost?
Food is likely to be the second biggest expense after the venue. The wedding breakfast will cost around £65 per person, according to a 2021 Hitched study.
This means that if your wedding has 80 guests, the total cost may be around £5,200. The smaller your guest list, the more you’ll save.
You’ll need to pay for both a wedding breakfast – the main meal during the day – plus food in the evening.
Top tip: Arranging your wedding time later in the day could mean you save money on food as you’ll only have to pay for one meal, instead of two.
How much does a wedding dress cost?
A dress for your special day can cost around £1,300.Choosing between a designer dress – or an option from the high street – will influence this cost up or down. Wedding dresses can take some time to arrive in the shop if they’re from a specialist wedding dress designer, so make sure you shop and order well in advance if you’ve got your heart set on this type of dress.
Also don’t forget to budget for alterations – it’s rare that you will find a dress which fits you exactly and a good fit can make a world of difference to how the dress looks on the day. Most dress shops will cover this for an extra cost, or you can find someone else do your alternations.
Top tip: A second-hand wedding dress can be an affordable alternative. Chances are, it’s only been worn for one day previously!
There’s lots to consider when buying your wedding flowers. Depending on what you want, they may include:
Buttonholes - The flowers that are pinned onto the suits of the groom and groomsmen.
Venue flowers – For decorating your venue.
Bouquet – For the bride to carry down the aisle.
Bridesmaids’ flowers – For your bridesmaids to carry.
How much does a wedding cake cost?
Whether you pick a traditional 3-tiered cake, a table of cupcakes or even a “cake” made from cheese – a sweet treat to end the night is a must.
According to BrideBook,the cost of a wedding cake could set you back £100 to £1,000, depending on the size and complexity.
Top tip: A smaller cake will be cheaper – or if a friend or family member is a dab hand in the kitchen, baking your own would be even more affordable.
How much does a honeymoon cost?
The cost of honeymoon will depend on your destination – and how much you’re planning to push the boat out compared to a usual holiday.
Couples will typically spend between £1,250-£4,500 on their honeymoon.If you don’t have room in your budget, asking your guests for contributions to your honeymoon instead of gifts could help.
Top tip: You don’t need to go on your honeymoon straight after the wedding. Booking for later in the year (or the following year) will give you more chance to save and a chance to find a good deal on flights.
Then there’s the rest! Aside from the main elements, there’s plenty of extra bits you may need to pay for when you’re arranging a wedding.
Cars and transport
You’ll need to arrange transport for the groom, best man, groomsmen and the bride and bridal party to the venue, and between where you marry and your reception if they’re in different places. If your reception is at a different place to your ceremony, you might also need to arrange travel for your guests.
Invites and postage
If you’re sending RSVPs and invites, you’ll need to pay to get these printed and posted. Using a digital invite from an existing template will cost around £120 to print.
Top tip: A digital save the date and wedding invite will save on printing and postage costs.
Hairdresser and makeup artist
Many people opt for professional help with their wedding prep, hiring a hairdresser or a makeup artist (or both). Doing your own hair and makeup could save you around £200-£450.
Wedding rings can be as expensive or modest as you want, with the cost of a ring ranging between £100-£3,000.
A band or DJ for the evening is another cost to remember. Hiring a live band can cost up to £5,000 – depending on how long the set is. A wedding DJ will usually cost a few hundred pounds.
An optional cost, but you might want to get small presents for the groomsmen and bridesmaids to show your appreciation, and a token gift, such as chocolate or sweets, for each guest.
A supplier could drop out and you have to find a new one, or a price may go up unexpectedly. Putting aside a pot of 5-10% of your budget for emergencies could be helpful. If you don’t spend it, you have a lump sum towards the honeymoon.
The content on this page is for reference and does not constitute financial advice. For impartial financial advice, try MoneyHelper.