In 2017, the average cost of a wedding was £27,161 – an increase of almost 10% on the cost of a wedding the year before! Given that the average salary in the UK is £27,271, paying for a wedding is a significant challenge for many people. So, what are the costs involved in your wedding budget and how are you going to pay for them?
Your wedding budget – the main costs
It’s crucial to start with a budget when you’re planning a wedding because it’s very easy for wedding expenses to escalate. Cake makers, venues and photographers instantly increase their prices when the word “wedding” is involved. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still have the perfect big day, as long as you’re prepared to pay for it.
A wedding venue
The average wedding venue will set you back around £2,790. This may not seem that expensive until you realise that this is only the location where the ceremony takes place and not where your guests will drink, dine and party.
A reception location
Receptions can be held almost anywhere, from a classic country house or golf course through to your parent’s top field. The average amount that couples pay for their reception location is £3,919, which will usually include standard event furniture but not decorations. It’s also worth noting that you’ll be paying separately for the catering and this figure will only cover the cost of the venue hire.
Food and drink
The cost of food and drink will can also vary enormously and if you’re able to arrange some of the catering via friends or family then discounts can help you to save significantly here. Average catering costs come in at around £3,959 but you may need to revise this figure depending on factors such as the kind of catering you want to have, as well as the number of guests and the number of times you’re planning to feed them.
You could, in theory, get your guests to snap away on smart phones and then send you all the images collected to save costs on your wedding photography. However, most people want to have at least a couple of shots that are professionally taken to keep and frame. A wedding photographer will set you back an average of £1,046, depending on how long you need them for and how much shooting they need to do.
Your wedding location and reception venue will most likely both need some decoration, whether that’s flowers, balloons or gorgeous place settings. Costs will vary but an average expense for wedding flowers, for example, is £638.
The average cost of a honeymoon is £4,413 – under any other circumstances that would be a pretty pricey holiday for two. Of course you can keep your costs down by opting for a less exotic location but it’s still a key expense to consider.
Other Bits & Bobs
These are some of the major costs involved in any wedding but you’ll also need to bear in mind the smaller expenses, as these can really add up:
Groom’s outfit: £439
Bride’s outfit: £1,677
Wedding rings: £809
How can you cover the cost of your wedding?
Couples all over the world have come up with a wealth of creative solutions for finding new ways to pay for a wedding, including:
Find a sponsor – agree a reduction in wedding prices in return for advertising on the day
Pay as you go – most wedding services companies will take a large, up front deposit and then enable you to pay as you go for the rest
Use your gift list – many gift lists today offer the opportunity for guests to contribute financially instead of buying a gift, whether that’s to the cost of the honeymoon or the dress. So, you’ll have a pot of cash after the event to clear anything you owe
Use equity release – for weddings later in life, equity release from an owned property can be a great resource
Any for the rest of us…
Borrowing has become a regular part of wedding financing today and can help ensure that you have everything in place for the perfect occasion. Wedding finance options include:
Personal loans – longer-term unsecured lending that can be repaid over a period of years
Secured loans – if you’re looking for wedding financing and own your home then a homeowner loan allows you to borrow against your property (with possibly a more flexible approach to your credit rating)
Credit cards – find a low cost or 0% credit card so that you don’t pay interest on covering some of the cost of your wedding
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read more about Alex Hartley