The average cost of a UK wedding in 2017 was around £27,000, a significant amount of money for most people. But the actual cost can vary wildly from just a few hundred pounds to hundreds of thousands!
Working recently with a bride at the beginning of her planning, she was amazed how quickly everything added up. From cakes to photos, dresses to venues, whilst you can spread the costs for some things, it all still has to be paid for. So, how much should a wedding cost?
What will your day look like?
Firstly, decide on the size and style you both want. If you dream of having everyone you know there on your special day, you’ll inevitably end up spending more than if you were to have a more intimate affair. Will your wedding be a relaxed, informal affair or something luxurious and extravagant? The ambiance and look you want to create will affect most if not all areas of your wedding in some way. It’s important to decide on something you love, but that’s also within your budget.
What do you need?
Make a checklist (see below for a suggestion), an online spreadsheet or even just a piece of paper will do. List everything you’ll need and also things you just want to include. Use your checklist for estimated costs at the beginning and then as you carry out your research, update it to reflect more accurate pricing. You should revisit your budget checklist throughout your planning, adding actual costs as you have them and enabling you to keep yourselves accountable.
Splurge or save?
Perhaps your venue will be the most important cost, or the dress, or some sumptuous food. Discuss the details together and decide if there is anything you’re not willing to scrimp on, this is obviously completely individual to each couple. On the other hand, you might decide you’re happy to reign some of your costs in, maybe make your own invitations or wear a second hand dress.
Below is a checklist of things you’ll typically need for your wedding and an average cost:
Ceremony venue – £600
Whether you marry in a church, registry office or the same location as your reception, there will always be a cost to actually get married. The vicar or registrar commands a fee which can vary from county to county and venue to venue.
Reception venue – £4500
The cost of the reception venue for many is one of, if not the, largest cost of the wedding. However, this is all down to the style of day you’re looking for and the number of people you want to invite. If you have 150 guests you’ll need somewhere able to accommodate all of them i.e. enough tables and chairs, room on the dance floor! If you’re having a marquee wedding, consider whether you’ll have enough toilet facilities. Ultimately, the type of venue will dictate the cost. A luxurious stately home will obviously command a higher premium than a village hall.
Catering – £3500
Traditionally wedding day food would consist of canapes, a three course wedding breakfast and an evening buffet. Although, in recent years there has been a move away from the traditional wedding breakfast. More people are choosing street food style options such as hog roasts or paella to give their weddings a more relaxed, informal feel. When choosing your food, think about: the style of your day; do you have to use your venue’s catering or can you choose your own; does it have kitchen facilities; will you have people with dietary requirements; how much do you want to spend per head for the whole day and perhaps most importantly what food you like to eat! There’s lots to think about, whatever style you choose, so take your time to do some research.
Bar – £1200
Even if you don’t provide a cash bar, its typical for the bride and groom to provide some drinks on the day. Usually a welcome drink, table wine and toast drink are supplied for guests.
Cake – £350
5 tiers or 3? Fruit or sponge? Iced or naked? Dummy or real? There’s no such thing as a typical wedding cake these days and as with everything there are lots of choices. Pinterest can be your best friend showing you lost of types of cakes and decorations.
Flowers – £750
Floral arrangements can really change the whole look of a room and your day. Centrepieces of jam jars filled with meadow flowers to suspended displays of wisteria draped throughout the ceiling create that relaxed or sumptuous feel. Here is where Pinterest will again become your go to for inspiration. Don’t forget you’ll also want bouquets for the bride and bridal party as well as button holes for the groomsmen. Also think about whether you want real flowers or fake blooms to keep afterwards.
Entertainment – £950
Band, DJ, Singing Waiters or Magician?! Your guests will generally expect some sort of entertainment. You may not need to provide entertainment all day e.g. you might employ a band or DJ just for the evening. Whatever you decide, take into account the length and style of your day, and of course your budget. If you want to keep your costs down, you could possibly use your venues sound system for your own playlist, (check with your venue first), although this rarely creates the atmosphere that a live band will.
Photographer and Videographer – £2000
The cost of a photographer / videographer can take a large chunk of the budget and sometimes people query whether the cost is worthwhile for someone to ‘just take a few photos’. Consider this, when everyone has gone home, all the outfits are packed away and the day has started to fade into memories, the only things you’ll have left are your images. Often, brides who queried the cost and opted for a cheaper option have lived to regret it when they don’t have the images or quality they wanted. The only thing you’ll have left from your wedding day (apart from a spouse!) will be your photos/videos so this is an area where it pays to choose the best option you can afford.
Décor – £1000
This can vary widely depending on whether you choose to create/source all of your own decorations (lighting, centrepieces, post boxes etc) or hire them. Additionally, you may need to hire tables, chairs, linen, tableware depending on the type of venue you choose. Hiring direct from a decor company, such as ourselves who specialise in items for weddings and events can sometimes work out more cost effective than buying everything new. Décor companies can also often provide styling services too. A stylist can help bring your visions to life, ensuring everything is displayed how you envisioned or using their creativity to take your ideas even further.
Favours – £200
Homemade or shop bought, favours are a token for your guests to say thank you for joining you on your special day. Things like
homemade fudges and mini jars of jam can work well with a rustic theme as well as helping you keep an eye on your budget. For more extravagant favours, you might consider personalised mini Champagne bottles or even your own fragrance!
Stationary – £250
There are more elements of stationary involved in a wedding than most people think at first glance. Besides the obvious invites, there are: save the dates; place setting or escort cards; menu cards; guest books and thank you cards. A bespoke stationer can make something completely individual to you, reflecting your personalities and the style of your wedding. However, you could also make your stationary yourself by hand or using online sites, reducing the cost.
The Dress – £1500
For many women this is the most important dress they’ll ever wear and as such there is a lot of pressure to find the right one. The style of the dress is very much individual to every bride. For some its all about the ballgown and feeling a like a princess for a day, for others something more simple and understated. Whatever style you choose there are dresses for all budgets.
The Shoes – £150
Your wedding day will likely be a long day, so it’s worth investing in a decent pair of shoes that you really like and that you can wear! Now is not the time to start wearing 7 inch heels. Once you’ve chosen your shoes, it’s worth wearing them around the house regularly in the weeks/months leading up to the wedding day to wear them in and ensure you’ll be comfortable.
Bridal jewellery and veil/headdress – £300
Something old, something new. You might be given a necklace or veil from a relative or friend to wear on your day or you might decide to invest in something brand new. For many women, when they finally try on a veil with their dress, this is the moment they truly feel like a bride. However, there are lots of different styles and lengths, so take your time to see which works with your dress and also the style of your wedding. Do you want a cathedral length veil trailing behind you or something smaller?
Full length, formal ballgown or short and relaxed? There are lots of options for bridesmaid’s dresses, meaning there are vast variations in prices. It’s typical for the bride and groom to pay for the bridesmaid’s dresses and shoes. However, if you’re looking to spend less, consider high street shops for attire or perhaps your bridesmaids wear their own shoes? Mismatched dresses can work out cheaper and even add to your theme rather than detract from it.
Grooms attire – £450
Whilst the grooms suit isn’t as memorable for some as the wedding dress, it still plays its own role in the day. Will you go for full morning suit – tops hats and tails – or something more informal? Whatever you decide, ensure it fits with the overall theme and style of your day.
Groomsmen attire – £600
You could choose to hire suits for the groomsmen or perhaps you’ll buy? Wanting to save pennies, why not let them wear their own suits and be mismatched. Worried they won’t be identifiable? Have them all wear matching ties.
Beauty for the bride – £400
Every bride wants to look beautiful on their day. Unless you’re confident at doing your own hair and make-up you will probably want to consider having a make-up artist and hairdresser. Usually you would pay for a pre-wedding trial for both to ensure you’re happy they will achieve the look you’re after.
Beauty for the bridal party – £200
If you’d like to have all of your bridal party wearing their hair the same way, you might want to ask your hairdresser to also style your bridesmaids and perhaps you want to treat the mother of the bride too.
Wedding Rings – £1000
Whilst most people spend the significant amount on the engagement ring, the wedding rings should not be overlooked. Things to consider: will both of your rings match e.g. both gold or rose gold; does the brides engagement ring ‘sit well’ with the wedding ring; are the engagement ring and wedding made of the same metal? The latter is something to remember as if the metals are different they can wear on each other causing damage over time.
Transport – £500
Whether it’s a vintage Rolls Royce or a VW camper, you’ll most likely need some sort of transport to get the bridal party from their prep location to the actual wedding. You may also then need transport from the ceremony location to the reception.
Accommodation – £600
A hotel room for the wedding night may be a treat, or it may be a requirement if you don’t live nearby. It’s also worth considering if the bridal party would like a room for the night before to give them somewhere special to get ready on the morning of the wedding.
The choices are vast in terms of honeymoon: beach; snow; romantic; adventurous; sightseeing or just relaxing to name but a few. For many though, it’s a once in a lifetime holiday where people choose to go on the trip they’ve always dreamed of.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of managing your budget or even just setting it, why not contact Wild Wedding Company. We can help right from the beginning, guiding you through the budgeting process. We ensure you have something you’re comfortable with, but still enable you to achieve the day you want. The bride mentioned at the beginning of this blog, whilst nervous at the potential costs of her wedding found a budgeting session with Wild Wedding Company empowered her, helping her focus on what was really important and how much she really wanted to spend. Contact Wild Wedding Company to see if we can help you.