Planning the perfect wedding day should be fun and exciting, from choosing a venue to designing a cake, picking a dress and booking a honeymoon location.

However, if not managed carefully, wedding planning can become overwhelming and costs can spiral out of control.

According to research by Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance, the average wedding now costs more than £18,000, with the top 10 essential items costing on average £14,512.

Wedding Infographic

Almost one in five cite the pressure to "keep up with the Joneses" as the main reason for wedding costs snowballing, whilst a third blame their ever-expanding guest list.

Follow our guide to planning and budgeting in order to keep wedding costs at bay.

wedding costs quote

Wedding Costs

Do you have a wedding day wish-list? A dress fit for a film star, unlimited champagne, platinum rings and a five-star honeymoon is an ideal scenario for most. But how do you pay for it?

It can be worthwhile to pause before you start your wedding day spending-spree, to think about the financial effect of your celebration.

Be savvy and use a budget planner to work out what you can afford.

The top 10 Wedding day costs:

1.  Honeymoon

From luxury, all-inclusive trips on tropical islands to the ultimate romantic city breaks, your honeymoon is likely to be the biggest expense of your wedding, with an average spend of £3,582. Arguably the most romantic holiday of your entire life, you will probably want to visit the destination of your dreams, so ensure that this cost is incorporated into your budget. According to the Telegraph’s top 10 honeymoon destinations, St Lucia has been named the best for a scenic setting, while Maldives took the top title for 24-hour entertainment and Brazil for luxury and relaxation. 

2.  Catering

Food and drink is likely to be your second biggest wedding day expense, with an average spend of £2,270. From a wedding breakfast to evening food, canapés and drinks, the more people on your guest list, the higher the catering bill. The cost is most often dependent on the menu – for example, a cold buffet is often less expensive than a hot one. Opting for a fork buffet or barbecue could reduce your spend from over £35 a head to just £12.

3.  Venue

Your ceremony and reception venues are likely to be the third biggest cost of your wedding day, with an average spend of £2,164. It’s always worth negotiating with a venue on price, but if demand is high, consider being flexible with your date. Weekend weddings tend to be the most costly, so you could switch to a mid-week date, or why not move your celebrations to winter to avoid the summer price hike?

4.  Rings

From a traditional diamond to a contemporary rose gold design, you’ll be spoilt for choice on your search for wedding and engagement rings. The average cost is £1,856 – a price dependent on the material and stone. While many of us might worry about finding a wedding ring to match our engagement ring, they are two separate rings representing two different occasions, so it is often favorable to see the distinction.

5.  Wedding dress

Whether you have been dreaming about your perfect wedding dress from being a little girl, or didn’t think about it too much until the day you got engaged, you want your dress to be something spectacular that perfectly suits your style and body type. The average cost of a wedding dress is £1,098, with variations depending on brand and detail. From mermaid and lace to vintage, backless or short – there are designs for all tastes, and boutiques and outlet stores to cater for all budgets.

6.  Photographer

Capturing those special moments to treasure for years to come is crucial, so take time to find a photographer who suits your style and can cater to your needs. The average cost of a wedding day photographer is £876 – considered a worthwhile spend for most. However, always discuss with your chosen photographer if the price includes their time, editing, printing and display books.

7.  Flowers, decorations and cake

It’s those finishing touches that can make your wedding day personal. The average cost of flowers, decorations and a cake is £728 – depending on the quantities and detail. If your wedding day has a specific colour scheme, you will most likely need to have each aspect of your wedding created bespoke, which could push up the cost.

8.  Entertainment

Keep your guests entertained in the afternoon or evening with a live band or DJ. While many will change by the hour, others will quote a set price for the event, so always confirm. If your budget stretches, you might also consider a photo booth, games or something for the kids – with an average spend of £682.

9.  Groom and groomsmen's outfits

Expect to pay, on average, £674 for the groom and groomsmen’s outfits. While some opt to purchase suits from the high street, others prefer to have their attire made bespoke – which could see costs increase.

10. Bridesmaids

It’s not uncommon for brides to ask their bridesmaids to pay for their shoes, dress, make-up, hair or accessories themselves – and it’s no surprise, given that the average spend for bridesmaids is £582. Similar to the groom and groomsmen, many opt to buy from the high street to reduce the cost of bespoke dresses and accessories. Planning a wedding is a costly task, but it’s an event that’s worth the investment, giving you memories you can treasure forever.



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