Money is always a factor when planning a wedding, no matter whether you have a little or a lot of it!  From the venue to the flowers and the dress to the ring, there are so many things that need paying for. We found out what Bride's Magazine and The Knot had to say about wedding budgets and this week’s blog takes a look at what the average couple spends on their nuptials, and what to consider before nailing down that budget.

Before Setting Your Budget

Planning a wedding is thought to be one of the most stressful things a couple can do.  Not only do they have to think of the costs for themselves, but also for their guests.  It is so important to consider the following things before setting your budget:

  • Who’s paying?  Traditionally it is the father of the bride who foots the bill for the wedding but that tradition has been overlooked for the past couple of decades (much to the relief of fathers worldwide!)  Modern couples often take to their savings or even take out loans to ensure their dream wedding but working out just how much you have to spend to avoid getting into debt is imperative.  If the father of the bride or another family member is paying, find out their budget and stick to it!
  • How many people do you want there?  Some couples may want the biggest party known to man for their wedding, in which case the guest list will be huge.  Other couples may want something more intimate with fewer guests, which therefore means their overall budget can be a little smaller.  Work out what kind of event you want: a massive celebration or a quaint ceremony with just family and friends, then adjust your budget to your decision.
  • Think about the hidden costs!  There may be things that you don’t include in your wedding budget which really should be, such as the hen and stag do and the invitations.  Although these do not occur on the day of the ceremony, they are all part and parcel of the celebration as a whole and should therefore be part of the budget.

Once the budget is set, couples should have a contingency plan in case they go over – which is very much a possibility!  Most couples plan to go over-budget and keep a small amount of emergency money in reserve should the worst happen.

What Do You Spend Your Money On?

This very much depends on what kind of wedding you have chosen to have.  For instance, a wedding set in a huge country manor with lush sprawling grounds will cost a lot more than the local church hall so if you want a Downton Abbey style wedding you must be prepared for a larger amount of money to be spent on the budget.  The average couple spends over £2,000 on the wedding venue and £4,000 on the reception venue, so costs could be cut by trying to combine the two and choose a venue which also has a license to perform weddings.  We’ve broken down the wedding budget into average amounts, and they may surprise you!  Couples usually spend:

  • Venue: £2,000 for wedding venue and £4,000 for reception venue
  • Food & Drink: £3,000 for catering and £300 for the cake
  • Photography: £1,300
  • Flowers: £560
  • Entertainment: £680
  • Clothing: £1,300 for the dress, £300 for the suit, £100 for the veil, £460 for bridemaids and groomsmen and £220 on hair and makeup.
  • Rings: £2,400 for the engagement rings and £650 for wedding bands.

This brings the average total to £17,270 not including the honeymoon and decorations!  Optional extras such as the décor not provided by the venue will add more costs to the proceedings, however there are ways to reduce the costs without the wedding then appearing cheap.

How To Cut Wedding Costs

There are so many ways to create the perfect wedding without spending more than your budget.  It may be a case of some serious DIY and calling on friends and family to help bring your vision together.  Some great ways to lower the costs include:

  • Have your cake made by a friend.  There is always someone in the family who thinks of themselves as a master baker, so why not use their skills and have them create your wedding cake?  You can find really beautiful cake decorations in many high street supermarkets or why not order some edible flowers or glitter online and jazz up a plain sponge cake to potentially save hundreds of pounds.
  • Decorate your own venue.  Using your artistic flair to make your own wedding decorations can be a fun addition to the preparation and will also help you and your other half leave a personal touch on the venue.  Buy some lengths of coloured ribbon and tie to the back of boring chairs to add a splash of brightness, or use funky umbrellas decorated with flowers as table centrepieces.  There is no end to the scope of imagination that can be incorporated into the big day so think outside the box.
  • Choose simple food.  A lot of couples dream of a delicious three-course gourmet menu with expensive champagne at their wedding, but if money is tight then a buffet and some sparkling will do just as well.  The buffet idea may also be a good conversation starter and an opportunity for guests to mingle.  Also, why not do the first round of drinks as champagne then, after everyone is feeling the warmth, have the second round as sparkling.  Most sparkling wines are just as tasty as champagne and for a fraction of the price.

The wedding of your dreams can be easily achieved with a little forward thinking and planning for unexpected occurrences.  Of course, we recommend spending a little bit of the budget on umbrellas – not just to keep the bride and groom dry if the heavens open but also as a fun memento of what will be a cheap, but never cheap-looking, wedding!