Planning your dream wedding always comes down to one thing, your budget. Weddings across the country vary in extravagance, the number of guests, the amount of food and alcohol, the type of venue and all the extra bits such as photobooths and live music. Weddings are of course different according to the style of each couple – some may prefer a casual or intimate affair, for example – but on the whole the wedding budget is what dictates the big day.
So, if your happily engaged and about to embark on the planning process without prior knowledge to the average costs of weddings in the UK, then read on. We’ve done our research for you so that you don’t get any nasty surprises along the way.
1. The overall cost
The Independent conducted a survey in 2017 with responses from 4,000 brides to find that the average cost of a wedding in the UK has soared to £27, 161. Which is the highest it has ever been, and nearly 10% higher than in 2016.
This doesn’t mean that you will have to spend this much, if you’re savvy and creative enough to put on a DIY wedding, which can often be more personal. But do bear this in mind when you start planning.
The overall venue cost depends on whether you are having your ceremony and your marriage in the same place, and where in the country you intend to do so.
The 2018 fee set by law for church weddings is £474, if it is your home parish, or £517 if you marry away from your hometown. This price does not include the flowers or extras, just the church itself and the legal documents.
The cheapest way to say your vows is in a registry office, which costs £119. Reception venues can vary from an average of £3,900 to over £10,000 (country houses, hotels, manors), unless you are hosting your wedding in a town hall or equivalent. Many venues will have their own catering included in the package, as well as a network of preferred suppliers. A smart country house would cost around £6,000 for a Saturday in Summer, so the date is also a game changer. Be sure to check whether you can provide your own bar drinks as this will keep costs of alcohol down.
Catering for a wedding party of 70-100 guests will cost over £3,500. You should be expecting to pay around £38 or higher per head for canapés, starter, main and dessert – not including alcohol. In a London hotel, however, prices for a three-course meal, canapés, welcome drinks and champagne for the toast are situated at the £149 per head mark.
Whether you’re sticking to a lower budget with a casual buffet or barbecue, or looking to have a more elaborate sit down wedding breakfast, make sure you search for the best quality caterers. After all, the food is what keeps the guests fuelled and energised to enjoy all of your festivities.
4. Wedding Cake
Many couples are gifted their wedding cake from creative friends these days, but if you’re looking to get one specially made by professionals, then a two-tier cake is likely to cost £350, and a 3-tier cake around £500. The cake-cutting tradition is a really special one, and everyone loves admiring perfect-looking cake creations.
5. Groom and bridalwear
The average spend on wedding dresses in the UK is not as high as one may think at £1,385. London brides however, spend a little more, with an average of £1,677. The dress is, of course, the most expensive part of the bridal look – hair and make up costs vary and depend on how many bridesmaids you include, but you should expect to pay around £50pp for make-up and the same for hair. Bridesmaids dresses depend on where you shop – if you stick to high street brands like ASOS you can find elegant modern gowns in pastel tones for around £80 each. If you look towards designer brands, simple long ballgowns will start at £250.
A full groom suit will cost between £500 and £600 from the likes of Ted Baker or Hugo Boss, excluding the shoes. However, 35% of grooms now hire their suits for the big day, which will keep costs below £200.
There is a plethora of talented wedding photographers out there with different working styles and rates. The average cost for a wedding photographer in the UK currently stands at £1,400, but the price will rise if you are including videography services.
If you’re on a budget, then there will always be less-experienced student photographers looking to build up their portfolios for a couple of hundred, but on the whole, you will want professional, flawless and artistic keepsakes to remember your special day by – which will make all the above expenses worth it!
A good DJ with all the necessary equipment can cost between £300 and £600, but it’ll be worth it to get everybody up dancing, and it does of course depend on how many hours you would like them to play for.
Live musicians or bands always make an event more special. Depending on how long you get them to perform for, a good 4 or 5-piece band costs around £1000, with two 60 minute sets.
8. Wedding planner/decoration
To think about how much a wedding planner would cost, work out that it will be roughly 20% of your overall planning budget. They can do as much or as little as you need, and their price will change according to the size and nature of your event. The all-inclusive packages will cost more, but will allow you to feel a lot more relaxed on such a joyous day.
Alternatively, decorating the wedding yourself can be both fun and more personal. Printing photos to create photo-walls and buying a guestbook for people to sign are relatively inexpensive. As for wedding favours, consider between £3 – £10 a head.
Wedding flowers can transform your wedding. So if your looking to decorate the ceremony venue and reception tables, as well as getting fresh bouquets for yourselves and bridesmaids, you should allow between £900 – £1200 in your budget for floral delights.
Other costs for weddings include transport, invitations and as we’ve said, any extra bits that make your wedding feel personalised, unique and fun for everyone involved. Another tip: allow some money in that budget of yours for a well-deserved honeymoon!