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So, you've proposed/been proposed to and you've got stars in your eyes, butterflies in your stomach, and a warm tingly feeling in your heart. First off, congratulations! We absolutely love to hear about two people coming together and having an amazing celebration to mark the beginning of a beautiful lifetime together.
But just like almost anything in life, you've got to put your hand in your pocket to enjoy the perks of something you want or need… and a wedding day is no different.
Then, it'll probably come as no surprise to you, that according to a national wedding survey conducted in 2018, the average price of a wedding in the UK shot up by 12% from 2017 to 2018, resulting in just under £17,000 spent per couple!
Does that mean that those tying the knot are opting for more refined and lavish weddings? Actually, no. The 12% rise in the amount spent on a wedding was due to an increase in supplier costs, such as a marquee hire, catering, and décor.
For that reason, we've compiled a list of things you should consider as part of your wedding budget so that you're well-prepared and in-the-loop when it comes to planning your perfect day. In fact, this handy little guide may even help you to cut a few corners resulting in a fair amount of saving.
Of course a wedding budget can vary greatly depending on the type of celebration you're after. A gorgeous high-end wedding at the St. Pancras Hotel or a destination wedding, for example, would naturally be way more expensive than a small and intimate wedding ceremony somewhere lovely yet low key.
Did you know that the time of year and the day of the week that you choose to tie the knot plays a big role in how much you'll be spending?
By opting for a low season wedding (November - April), you'll have the chance to potentially save quite a pretty penny - especially if you choose December, January or February.
For example, if you were interested in getting hitched in 2020 at a gorgeous location just outside of London, you'd be looking at spending between £5,000 and £6,200 May through September. But should you decide on a January wedding, you're looking at around £3,500 to £4,400. That's quite a considerable chunk of change.
Then comes in the factor of what day of the week you'd like to celebrate your big day. It'll surely come as no surprise that Saturdays are the highest in price, while Monday through Thursday and Sunday cost much less.
Naturally however, there are some down sides to choosing an off-season wedding. During the winter months, people are far less likely to want to leave their homes for an event than if it were one of those well-sought-after long summer days.
And when it comes to mid-week weddings, you may see a smaller guest list, as invitees would need to get time off work, and children time off school in order to attend. A possible solution would be to choose a date during the winter school holidays.
To further prove this point, a wedding taking place at Farbridge Barn on a Wednesday in January 2020 would cost £3,500, whereas a wedding on a Saturday in August would cost £6,200. That's an almost 80% mark-up!
Then, the time of day that you choose to say your "I do's" also has quite a big impact on your wedding budget. A morning ceremony followed by a brunch would cost a lot less, for example, than a late afternoon wedding followed by a reception party that ran until midnight or later.
We suggest that you create a preliminary guest list. Write down every single person you'd like to have at your wedding, no matter how long the list is. Then, once complete, come back down to earth and realistically edit your list so that your chosen venue and wedding budget can accommodate.
Then, when it comes to sending out your invites, it's fair to assume that around 10 - 20% of those invited will decline. For that reason, we suggest that you go ahead and invite a couple of people on your "maybe" list, as you will more than likely end up having room to accommodate them.
And finally, when it comes to guests who have RSVP'd "yes", you can confidently assume that around 5% of those who said that they will be attending, will either cancel or be a no-show on the day. Plan your big day according to that number, as you'll be able to save on a number of wedding costs such as the catering.
Of course, depending on the kind of wedding you're planning, the costs will vary greatly. Which is why we've compiled two handy tables for you to use as a guideline, depending on your wedding budget, so that you can plan your big day like a pro.
Below, you’ll find estimated prices (sans VAT) according to wedding ceremony and reception venue packages at the average four-star hotel just outside of London. In this case, it usually includes:
|Number of guests||20||40||60||80||100||120|
|Gifts for attendees||£70||£140||£210||£280||£350||£420|
|Wedding + Reception Venue package
(based on a four-star hotel)
And when it comes to the cost, on average, for wedding items and services depending on the number of guests.
|Costs accordingly to budget||Lower Prices From||Average Prices From||Higher Prices From|
|Hair and Make-Up||£100||£200||£400|
|Jewellery & Accessories||£70||£300||£600|
Now, let's break it down so you can get more of an idea of what your big day will cost, as well as ways to cut costs to suit your wedding budget.
The venue, no matter what your wedding budget, is arguably the most expensive cost you'll have to consider for your big day.
For a church wedding, you'll be looking at £533 if you are marrying outside of your town, and if you're tying the knot in your hometown, it will be £489. This price covers the cost of the officiate, marriage certificate, and other administration.
If you're hiring a venue, that cost will be considerably higher depending on the location and venue itself. For a lower to medium budget, you're looking at around £4,000, while high-end venues could cost you around £7,000 plus VAT + £10,500 plus vat minimum spend on food and beverages.
It's also possible for you to provide your own drinks and hire staff to assist, or set up a table for guests to serve themselves. In this way, you can control the amount you're spending on drinks beforehand.
The plus side to this is that you can control your drinks budget before the actual event, and if there are any leftovers, you get to take them home with you. And if the drinks run dry, guests can simply buy their own at the venue.
One thing to note however, is that many venues don't want outside companies or guests to bring their own drinks, so make sure to check with your chosen venue beforehand.
There are several options to choose from when it comes to your wedding meal.
You could opt for:
There are many options when it comes to finding the perfect wedding dress for your big day. If you're looking for something budget-friendly, you could consider getting it second hand at stores, or taking a look at the high street that has both traditional and alternative styles to choose from. With this option, you could find something you love for as little as £80.
Additionally, you could consider a charity shop, where you could find a beautiful dress starting at £50.
If you've got a slightly bigger wedding budget to work with, you can consider having a bridal designer create your dress, which would start at around £900 and could go up to around £3,000.
And for those looking for a couture wedding dress, you can consider a budget of around £1,500 plus. Here's a little handy guide to help you:
Vera Wang: £4,000 to £18,000
Paloma Blanca: £1,500 to £2,000
Amsale Aberra: £3,000 to £6,200
Some other important things to note is that if you are planning to buy your wedding dress at a boutique, you should consider an additional fee of around £30, which is to ensure that the service you receive is high-end. And, for bridal dress alterations, you're looking at around £40 to £200.
It's no lie that the groom's attire costs less than a bridal gown, and there are several options when it comes to finding a suit or tuxedo that looks great.
The average cost when it comes to buying a nice suit is around £250, but this price could be considerably less if you opted for a high street find or renting. You would be able to find a smart two-piece suit at the high street for £100, and if it's just a suit jacket you're after, you can consider £50.
To hire a high-esteemed brand, a suit starts at £95 for some and £140 for others.
Buying a designer suit means around £145 for wool trousers, £135 for a textured waistcoat, £349 for a wool jacket, and £89 for a satin shirt.
When it comes to the entertainment for your wedding day, having a DJ is slightly more affordable than a band. The price for a wedding DJ is around £200 to £500, and for a band - anywhere from £300 to £2000.
The pros of hiring a wedding DJ is that the equipment required is minimal, and most DJ's will have their own equipment that they'll bring with them on the day, which is a big plus. And you can opt to create your own playlist that is fun and meaningful for the couple and guests.
If it's a live band you fancy, the lowest price would be comprised of a 45-minute performance. For solo singers or certain instrumentalists, you could secure your entertainment for around £180 to £400. For small bands, a wedding budget of around £350 to £750 should be considered, and for a pop band consisting of four to six musicians, the average price ranges from £1400 to £2000.
For high end entertainment, consider an average budget of £1600 for a four-person band, and £2800 for a six-person band.
For wedding photography, it's advised to set aside about 15% of your wedding budget, as the average price is around £1480.
For something more budget-friendly, you could find prices starting at £479 for an album package, and for luxury wedding photographers the highest you can consider is around £4000, although the majority of these photographers are relatively cheaper than that.
The average price of one wedding ring in the U.K is around £500 to £800, totalling to around £10,000 to £16,000 for both husband and wife, but of course there are several options you can consider depending on your budget.
For a smaller budget, you could buy two 925 - 0.02 carat diamond wedding rings for £128.
Like all other factors concerning your wedding budget, the exact estimate of your wedding flowers differ greatly depending on the kind of flowers, the amount you're looking to order, the time of year, and the vendor. Transportation for your flowers is also a factor to consider, as delivery charges can get quite hefty
But to give you a rough guideline, on average:
For those with a lower wedding budget, you can consider around £500 for hair and make-up for you and your bridal party. But if you're not including your bridesmaids, that figure will be considerably lower.
For hair and make-up artists however, there are other costs to consider such as their call-out fee that sometimes applies if there are less than three people having their hair and make-up done. For that reason, you could also visit a salon to have yourself beautified on a budget.
Then, for this service you will also need to consider paying a deposit of around £50, and an amount for a trial hair and make-up session, which is on average £50 to £100.
For a traditional wedding, the bride and groom opt for a first dance. Of course, one need not be a professional dancer for this but if you are looking to get in a few practice lessons, you can consider around £54 for one 60-minute dance lesson, £75 for a 90-minute dance lesson, and a two-hour lesson for £96.
You could also adjust your lessons according to your needs - for example, perhaps you'd like a personalised choreographed dance, you could do so for around £280 for six hours of lessons. For those with a higher budget and wanting to really wow their guests, £520 for 12 lessons is what you can expect.
There are a number of innovative and creative ways to save money on food and catering. You could:
By choosing vendors who live in close proximity to your venue, you'll be saving on their travel costs.
As mentioned, your wedding venue can definitely add up to quite a big amount, which is why you can source alternative places to tie the knot if you're on a budget.
For example: a countryside wedding could cost you between £4,900 and £6,500 if you decide on an April wedding. Other venues offer as much as a 50% discount on wedding hire if you choose to get hitched on a week day.
But if you're looking to cut a few corners and save quite a bit, consider doing a private ceremony at a free or very cheap location that can be dressed up beautifully for you and your guests.
For those who are DIY and arts and craft enthusiasts, this is a great way to save costs on wedding décor. Use inspirational sources such as Pinterest to create your own decorations and wedding themes, and you could be saving up to £1000 for your big day.
Thus, we conclude our comprehensive guide on how to plan your special ceremony, no matter the wedding budget. We wish you the most amazing day, one that you'll remember and look back on fondly for the rest of your life!