Getting married is one of the most important milestones in our lives. Our budgeting guide can help you plan the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.
Many factors come into play when you decide how much to spend on your wedding. The most important advice is to not get caught up in what other people think you should do. Stay headstrong and spend the amount that you and your partner can realistically afford.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that although your wedding is likely to be one of the most expensive days of your life, your marriage is more likely to have a more significant impact on your finances, so you need to ensure everything is in place before the big day to make the move from Miss to Mrs., or Mr. to Mr., as smooth as possible.
Evaluate your finances
When you get married, it’s a good opportunity to carry out a financial ‘spring clean’. Are there any unnecessary outgoings you can eliminate or utility payments you can consolidate? Be savvier with your spending to help you get closer to your dream wedding.
How much to budget for your wedding
The average cost of a UK wedding
according to Hitched is £31,974. There are no hard and fast rules saying this is how much your wedding will cost, but the real-life sections of wedding magazines will give you an idea of how much you’re likely to spend.
Of course, this will depend largely on your and your fiancées own intentions – if you want to save money then there are ways to keep the cost of your wedding down. If you still want to spend a little more to have the wedding you want, then planning your costs is crucial.
Create a spreadsheet
Go through everything from venue hire and entertainment, to the bridal party outfits and flowers. Once you have an estimated cost for each element, put it into a budgeting spreadsheet and update as you go along.
What elements of your wedding should you spend on?
Sarah Harry, of Penny Ink events says only spend money on the things that matter to you.
“Make a list of your priorities and stick to them,” Sarah says.
Michelle Rider, wedding coordinator at Braxted Park Estate
says things like sweetie carts are ‘nice to haves’ but the venue is key.
“Guests remember three things – location, exquisite food and impeccable service,” she explains.
Ways to save on your big day
Want to save on venue hire? Avoid booking your wedding over the summer and autumn, or over school holidays. This is especially true for couples planning a wedding overseas.
For your dress, off-the-rail wedding collections on the high street and online are far cheaper. Consider buying a second-hand dress from a site like Preloved
. Or go vintage and check out the bridal collection at Oxfam
. Wedding fairs are great places to haggle on prices. Sample sale websites such as Belle Bridal
are great too.
You will probably want to tell everyone about your upcoming nuptials, but it could benefit you to keep quiet in certain situations – especially when you are shopping around.
“I've saved £750 on flowers just by walking to another shop, a hundred metres down the road,” says Sarah of Penny Ink Events.
When savvy bride Yoshiko Cook married her husband Nick in Mayfair in 2012, she saved almost 25% on her wedding costs.
“The moment you mention the word 'wedding,' vendors will automatically add a premium,” she says. “Ask for a quote on your 'family celebration' and negotiate everything.
“We used a wholesale florist rather than a boutique florist and our violinist and pianist were from the Royal Academy of Music. We designed the menu ourselves, sourced the wine and beer from France, and a friend made our wedding cake for a minimal fee. It not only kept costs down, it also personalised our day.”
Go for a destination wedding
If you’re determined to be thrifty, overseas weddings are a great solution.
“My husband Ben and I had a destination wedding of just 15 people in the Caribbean,” says Lucy McGuire , journalist and editor of OhSoHitched.com. “We organised everything independently and it was a simple beach affair with a celebration in a lovely restaurant afterwards.
“We added our honeymoon on to the wedding, which immediately cut costs, and had money left to hire a restaurant when we got back to throw a party with our wider family and friends. It was the wedding of my dreams yet was at least a third of the cost of your average UK wedding.”
Once you are married
Remember, once you’re legally married, your rights over things such as your mortgage, savings and joint assets will change, so it’s important to re-evaluate your life insurance
and any protection policies that you have in place – you may even consider joint life insurance.
It’s also an important time to write, or update your will
, as your existing will becomes void when you get remarried. This is especially the case if you or your partner has been married before and has children, as you need to confirm who your legal beneficiaries are.