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Getting engaged and planning your wedding is one of the most exciting times in your life. You may already know exactly how your wedding should look, or you may be looking at ideas for the first time. Either way, you’ll need to know what a wedding in the UK might cost you.
To avoid stress and keep calm during this process, you should think ahead and create a budget that makes you feel comfortable. Every wedding looks different, and you don’t need to have a fancy magazine wedding to enjoy the day!
Here’s a breakdown of recent wedding costs for brides in the UK.
The cheapest possible cost of getting married in the UK is spending £150 to £300 at a registry office. If you want to throw a party and have a church wedding, costs range between £6,000 to £30,000 on average. High-end weddings can cost much more, up to £70,000.
Total average costs have to do with what elements you include and how much you spend per element. Traditionally, a wedding in the UK typically include these costs:
- Catering (food and drink)
- Photographer (and possibly a videographer)
- Flowers and other decor
- Ceremony fees
- Hen Do and Stag Night
- Hair and makeup
- Wedding clothes (groom, attendants, family)
Of these different items, catering, the venue, and the honeymoon are the most expensive on average. Cutting down in these areas means valuable savings for your whole wedding.
The Wedding Breakfast
Catering costs depend on how many guests you invite to your wedding. Each guest usually costs between £35 and £150 for food – which means that for 100 guests, you could easily spend anywhere from £3,500 to £15,000 on catering!
Of course, there are several ways to cut down on the cost of your wedding breakfast. First, you can always consider shortening your guest list. Sending fewer invites can be difficult, but sometimes it’s necessary. You don’t have to have everyone you’ve ever known attend your wedding.
If you’re not comfortable cutting the guest list, you can always divide it into tiers. To save on the costs of drinks and evening snacks, only invite close family and friends to stay for the evening.
Instead of focusing on the number of guests, you can also save by making different choices for the food you serve. Reduce the kinds of foods you’re serving at the main meal, or change up the menu from the traditional fancy meal to serve cheaper (but still delicious!) food.
Finally, you can consider cutting costs by making the food yourself or asking a friend to help you do it. This will take more of your time and a lot of coordination, but it can make a significant impact on your overall budget.
If you aren’t religious and would like to save on your venue, you should consider getting married at a registry office. The cost of a small room at a registry office varies depending on location but is usually under £300.
These rooms are cheapest Monday through Thursday and most expensive on Sundays. To get married at a registry office, you’ll need at least two witnesses – but there’s probably room for a few more in the space. There will likely already be flowers there, so you can save on decor, too.
Church wedding venues come in around £500 depending on the parish, and mid-level wedding venues typically range from £4,000 to £5,000. You’ll need to decorate these spaces yourself, but you can invite many more guests to these venues. High-end venues like castles can cost closer to £10,000 or more for the day.
The Dress and Rings
The lowest level of cost for a wedding dress is to buy one second-hand, somewhere in the range of £25 to £600. If you purchase your dress online or new off the street, it will cost between £100 and £800 on average. High-end bespoke wedding dresses are the most expensive, costing between £1,000 and £4,000 and coming in around £2,000 on average. Don’t forget that your wedding dress will need to be fitted, which can cost a little extra.
The average cost of an engagement ring in the UK is £1,865. Interestingly, most people feel they should be spending closer to £3,000 on engagement rings. However, you can find beautiful rings for much lower prices than this, so just work within your personal budget.
Another chunk of your budget will go to the photos and videos you may want of your wedding. On average, wedding photographers in the UK cost £1,590 in 2019. This package covers a whole day of shooting time. For some reason, the South East of England seems to be the most expensive area to hire a photographer.
You can look for smaller packages or hire a less experienced photographer for a cheaper overall cost. However, most photographers spend between 28 and 40 hours working on each wedding, and those with experience are worth the extra funds.
Videography is an additional service you need to consider. Some photographers offer this as part of their package for a higher price, and others don’t. If you’d prefer photos to video anyway, you can consider skipping this part to reduce cost.
Budgeting Made Easy
Other potential expenses include the honeymoon, cake, and floral arrangements. Thinking about everything at once can quickly become overwhelming, so start with the items that are the most important to you.
Allocate funds as you list out items, and be creative with how you approach each one. Ask yourself questions like:
- Where can you save so that you can spend more on the areas you care about?
- Are there items you can entirely skip?
- Is there anything you can DIY or thrift second-hand for a little less?
- What items are worth paying more for higher quality?
Planning ahead is the number one way you’ll be able to make and stay within your budget. Use the cost averages in this article to get a head start on planning your wedding!
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