Updated: May 2
Although every wedding is different, and therefore the prices vary considerably, it is helpful to have an idea of some average wedding costs when planning your dream day.
Hello, I’m Georgia, a wedding and lifestyle photographer and I want to share my experience and knowledge to help you lovely couples in all of your wedding planning and preparations. I am sure that my tips, inspiration and advice will help relieve some of the stress and help answer some of those questions you may have. Many people have no idea what to expect when it comes to the booking processes, prices and payment plans, insurances, etc. and to be honest, a lot of people just don’t know where to start and who’s advice to listen to – family and friends are happy to share advice but often it is what THEY like/dislike and think you should do and it often contradicts what another person has told you. I cover all things weddings and not only the photography side of things and I include interviews with other suppliers so that you get to learn from their expertise as well.
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So onto the topic at hand…….average costs. With the recent pandemic, it is hard to gauge the costs from 2020 and so we will be considering the average costs from the previous year. You could always add 3% onto the costs to accommodate for inflation.
Total Average Spend
This is of course the primary number that you will want to know first. Hitched and their sister magazine You and Your Wedding carried a survey on 2800 couples, with the average wedding cost coming in at £31,974. Money Saving Expert say that ‘experts estimate the average weddings costs' anywhere from £18,000 to £32,000’. NimbleFins also record in their blog that the average wedding costs £30,000. They also state in their FAQ that a wedding can cost anywhere from a few hundred pounds to £100,000 or more.
The reality is we all have to live within our means and every couple needs to decide what they can afford to spend on their day. Some are happy to save up for a couple of years and then start to book everything up and work within the budget they have whilst knowing that they can stretch a little more if need be, whilst others would rather get married as soon as possible and work with the disposable cash they have available. The choice is completely yours and you can work well below or well above the average UK wedding costs.
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A Few things to think about….
A Little Help From My Friends
For the traditionalists, your budget may be set by the bride's parents who are paying for the wedding. Even the more contemporary couples often have support from family and loved ones. So for example, if your parents have said that they will buy the suits and bridal dresses, and perhaps your grandparents say they want to pay for the flowers or the photographer, you can now spread your budget across the remaining suppliers, which means you can spend a little more on those certain luxuries that you really want - although I would suggest you find out what budget the family are working from so that you can decide whether you want/need to add some of your budget to theirs so that you can get what you truly want.
It is not just about living within your means that you have to consider. It is also about your priorities. Some people are set on getting married on a particular date such as New Year's Eve which comes at a cost. Others prioritise the number of guests as they want to spend the day with as many people as possible, which can either mean that your wedding is going to cost a bomb, or that it is going to be on a much lower budget because you are not going have a sit-down 3-course meal.
Have you already got your dream dress in mind, does a honeymoon have to come within the budget and is the cost of the engagement ring coming out of the overall budget as well? Maybe ladies you have your heart set on arriving in a horse and carriage, or you both might want to leave in a classic car. The size of the bridal party will have an impact on the cost (especially if you want them in matching outfits). If a large bridal party in matching outfits is one of your priorities then you will have to accommodate that one way or another. Some on a tighter budget may decide that the bridesmaids are the priority along with the groom and best man whilst the ushers don’t have to have matching suits. Others will be set on them all matching, but not necessarily matching the groom and best man, and as such are happy to get their suits at a cheaper retailer. The point is you really need to decide on what are your
non-negotiables and be aware of how they could impact the overall cost of your wedding day.
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Quality Does Come at a Cost
Along with the non-negotiable aspects of your day, you should really consider which areas you need to prioritise for quality. A pre-loved £10,000 wedding dress that costs you £3000 is a massive saving but it doesn’t mean you have not got a quality dress. And although it is second hand it probably means it has been worn for a grand total of 1 day by someone – hardly what you would call worn out. If you want to save on catering then you don’t need to feed all your guests T-Bone Steaks, but you still want a reputable caterer that delivers good tasting food, so you wouldn’t want to skimp on it too much (in my opinion). The same goes for photography because you want those photos to literally last a lifetime. You can never redo those moments, so you want to be sure your photographer is a professional with experience, a good reputation and who uses professional equipment. I know I am biased but they really are one of the best ways you get to relive your big day and it really is so special to be able to look back on it for years to come.
As you will see in a moment, suppliers prices vary massively and I am definitely of the opinion that some suppliers should take priority over others due to how much they impact the overall quality of the day and sometimes beyond.
Average Cost Per Supplier
It goes without saying that the overall cost is made up of a lot of different costs. Depending on your priorities and whether you are getting help from family or friends, you can save in certain areas whilst spending more on others. So you could still have a high-end wedding costing above the average whilst cutting costs in certain areas. One example may be that the groom doesn’t want an expensive ring because he will rarely wear it due to the nature of his work. So instead of spending £2000 on a ring, you may pay £200 to hire one for the day – yes this is possible. That is £1800 you can now spend elsewhere on something or someone (as in a particular professional supplier) that you want.
Here are a few examples to give you an idea of the range that wedding suppliers can charge:
As you can see the prices vary a lot and of course this list is not complete. There are other things that you will need to add to it. There are also a lot of different factors involved within the varying prices that these figures don’t tell you. For example, some photographers charge less for their services but hold the rights to the photos and charge you high prices to buy prints directly off of them, whereas others charge more but you get all the digital copies to print and share to your heart's content. As I mentioned earlier the size of the bridal party will impact costs as will the number of guests.
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Allocating Of Your Budget
The main thing to remember is that something's will be within your budget and some things will not be. Once you have your overall budget in mind I would suggest allocating a % to each area. It only needs to act as a rough guide, but it will help you shop at places within your budget.
Here is a rough outline:
Venue & catering 40%
Photography & videography 15% - the split will depend on what parts of the day you want them at. Some people choose to just video the ceremony, others go up until the speeches and first dance whereas you may want them there until you leave. The same goes for the photographer, and whether you have a second shooter, and want to capture the bridal party getting ready and if you want an album included.
Wedding attire 10%
Music & entertainment 8%
Hair & make up 2%
Stationary (invites etc.) 2%
This really is a rough guide and you may want to include your wedding rings, honeymoon and/or wedding night hotel room. Also, if you want to use a wedding planner then you will also have to make an allowance for them as well.
If we go off of the £30,000 average wedding, the approx amounts for each supplier would be as follows:
• Venue & catering £12,000
• Photography £2500
• Videography £2000
• Wedding attire £3000
• Flowers £2400
• Decor £2400
• Music & entertainment £2400
• Transport £900
• Hair & make up £600
• Cake £600
• Favours/gifts £600
• Stationary (invites etc.) £600
As I have already mentioned this is only a rough guide and you can adjust the % to suit. And remember if you initially planned on spending £30,000 on your wedding and then someone offers to pay for the wedding attire, then you can use that extra money to put towards another area or 2 so that you can have that extra wow factor or the supplier that you really wanted.
Hopefully, this blog has been insightful as well as helpful. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out on any of my latest blogs and to keep up with all of my exclusive offers, information and freebies. Also check out my YouTube channel which has been developing and shaping up nicely over the past year or so since launching which also has tips, inspiration and advice on it. And please do feel free to check out my work, reviews and prices on my website and contact me if you have any questions.
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