How to set your wedding budget

If there’s one question which comes up more than any other when it comes to wedding planning it’s this one! How do you work out your wedding budget? How much does a wedding cost these days?

There’s a lot of noise in the press, with sources reporting that the average wedding in the UK costs a whopping £30,000.

BUT your wedding does not have to cost anything like that!

The key thing to remember here is that a wedding costs however much you want to spend on it! The only essential things you need to pay for are the legal fees or church fees- everything else is entirely up to you.

So, where to start?


The first thing to do is work out what you can afford, and whether anybody else will be contributing. Parents & Grandparents will quite often offer to pay something towards a wedding; this could be a fixed amount or perhaps paying for a specific part of your day- the flowers or dress for example. If you are paying for the wedding yourself, work out what your potential monthly savings are and how long you have until your preferred date.

Once you’ve got this figure, you can work out whether you want to work with this budget, or whether you would rather wait a little longer for your wedding to give you time to save. Bear in mind that most wedding couples plan their wedding 18 months in advance anyway, so you should have a little room for manoeuvre.

Now make a list of the absolute must haves for your wedding. This could be venue, dress, food, rings, flowers, photographer, ceremony fees. Next put all the ‘would likes’- this might be a videographer, a live band, a doughnut wall…


What do things cost?

There is a lot of variation around wedding costs and suppliers, with date, day of the week, and location all being factors. Here’s some figures from the most recent Bridebook Wedding report to give you a rough guide:

Photographer £1332

Florist £920

Videographer £1343

Wedding Dress £1284

Wedding Fashion Accessories £278

Music £1040

Entertainment (non-music) £687

Wedding Cake £336

Stationery £253

Hairdressing £338

Make Up Artist £309

Menswear £736

Jewellery (excl. engagement ring) £1048

Transport £501

Decoration & Hire £779

Celebrant or toastmaster £449

Start checking out costs for your ‘must haves’ first. You will have an idea of what style of wedding you want, so put together a scrapbook of ideas and then investigate websites to get rough costs. A wedding planning book can be helpful here, try this one

The venue is usually the biggest single cost to account for in your wedding budget, and also the one to book first- so many of your planning decisions will spin off this one, so sort this out before anything else. Costs for venues vary widely, but a key thing to remember here is that venues will operate a peak/off-peak date system- dates in summer and on Saturdays will be most expensive, whereas mid-week dates and dates in autumn/winter will be much cheaper. You can easily save 30% and often more by looking outside peak dates.


Once this is in place, you can work through your list of ‘must haves’ and cross them off one by one. Once all the key things are in place you can decide whether you want to have the ‘would likes’- favours, live music rather than a DJ, free bar etc etc. You might find some of the would-likes become less important after all!

At the end of the day, no two weddings are ever the same, and so no two wedding budgets are ever the same. You need to work out what is important to you and you alone. Don’t feel pressured into spending money you can’t afford, just because the newspaper says that’s what it costs.


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