The Cost of a UK wedding

The Cost of a UK wedding

The Cost of a UK wedding

Despite having access to so many high-street bridal collections and more than 50% of couples regret spending so much money on their wedding day, it seems that British couples are still willing to splurge out with their “I do’s.”

While it’s meant to be one of the happiest days of your lives, normally, most weddings are one of the single most expensive days you’ll ever have as the average cost of a UK wedding has hit an all time high.

According to a new survey of 4,000 brides, the average cost of a UK wedding is now an astronomical £27 000, the highest it’s ever been.

As you would expect, regional differences exist as well: the average cost of a wedding rises to £34 000, while couples from the Midlands proved the most frugal, spending an average of £26 000 on their wedding.

The data collected by Hitched shows how expensive weddings have become, with the biggest spend being venue hire (£4,354), honeymoon (£3,630), and feeding the guests (£3,353).

Other places where couples spend are things such as the average cost of an engagement ring is now £2 000, up nearly 20% from 3 years ago.

Less surprising that the average cost of an engagement ring has risen so much, is possibly down to the fact that 1 in 3 brides are now involved in choosing their ring too.

Londoners spend the most on theirs rings, with an average of  £3,133 while Midlands couples spent £1,810.

Interestingly, parents are no longer the sole financial contributors to the wedding expenses, 51% of couples now cover all the costs with little help from family members, and 32% of couples fund it themselves with no external help.

“It seems most couples are paying for their big day with a little family contribution, and inviting more guests to their day and evening celebrations too – both of which could account for an increase in total spend compared to last year,” said Sarah Allard, editor at Hitched.

A recent study of more than 2,000 married women by jewellers Beaverbrooks found that only 18% of brides’ parents paid for a wedding in its entirety. Lower than the Hitched %’s, but telling all the more with the same trend, more and more couples dont have the financial backing of parents that they would traditionally have done with the Bride’s father expected to cover the majority of the days expenses. This is partly down to couples getting married later in life when they are already settled in a life of their own.

How much will the wedding cost?

The average figure for the cost of a UK wedding was put at a whopping £24,000 by Brides Magazine which is not far off the Hitched survey at £27 000

This number was derived by analysing how much readers spent on various parts of the wedding as a whole (including  honeymoon) to get to an average.

This should help Couples, Parents & potential wedding planners as it allows a rough guide as to how much they will need to save or arrange wedding finance for, and an idea of where their wedding budget is likely to be used up –

But average figures aren’t always accurate. The sample used is large and will therefore have couples spending hundreds of thousands, as well as others that manage to do it for a few hundred pounds. A  small % of large, over the top, extravagant weddings have the power to throw the average upwards by a big margin.

It could also be argued that those reading Brides Magazine are more likely to spend more on their wedding, so its average would be pushed up.

Bridal website Confetti released some rival statistics, showing the biggest proportion of newlyweds, at 34%, actually spend between £5,000 and £10,000, with almost as many people spending £10,000 to £20,000 – at 33%.

There is still good news, nearly 25% of couples surveyed spent less than £5,000 in total on their wedding.

With such big discrepancies, it goes to show, there is no fixed all encompassing solution, these figures should all be read with a pinch of salt and applied to your own situation, we are all unique and all have different wants, needs and values.  For some people, that fairy-tale wedding is a must, for others, that £20-30 000 is better spent on a deposit for their new home, its all about you, after all, its your day, no one else’s.

Keep this in mind while planning, get what you need, don’t get bogged down with what you “want” or what others tell you that you need.

Who pays?

The wedding finance conversation is a tough one to navigate – and probably even trickier for parents than their newly-engaged offspring.

It throws up some serious questions for parents:

  • These days, as a parent, are you expected to contribute?
  • How much?
  • Does anyone still stick to tradition?
  • Should you expect anything in return for your contribution?
  • Who should pay for a wedding?
  • The couple ?
  • Split between both sets of parents ?
  • Equal split between parents and couple ?
  • Bride’s parents ?
  • Whoever is lucky enough to be able to afford it

Some more stats to further muddy the water: According to a survey by & 45% of weddings were paid for by the parents of the bride, 42% by the couple, and only 12% cent by the groom’s parents.

Times have changed!  The father-of-the-bride is no longer the only, or sole provider to the wedding day fund.

As a parent, generally speaking, if you are in a position to help, do so -regardless of whether you’re the bride or the groom’s parents, in most cases, the couple will need every bit of help that they can get.

With one exception, do not ever put yourself or your family at financial risk to pay for a wedding: for example, taking out loan that you would struggle to pay back, putting it all on credit cards , or wiping out your own savings or nest egg like a pension.

The day will happen, with or without you, but if you can help, do, it will just make it that much easier for the kids.

If you can’t afford to help out, sit down with them and explain. Like most families, they will understand, and will probably already know this is the case.

The same rules should apply to the couple, do not get yourself into huge amounts of debt for one day of your lives.  You don’t want to start out married life in debt.

Wedding costs

How much you splash out on a wedding is down to the families and individuals involved.

Some people are happy with a quick visit to the register office while others wouldn’t feel properly married without a huge ceremony and wedding breakfast for 200. This is always going to be a very personal choice and one you should discuss openly with your partner, so they are fully on-board with your choices, the last thing you want is to start your married life with resentment.

It’s clear from the image below, that the most expensive items are: engagement ring, bride’s outfit, wedding venue and reception.

Please remember, this is just an average, its not a target for you to aim to, you are unique, make your choices based around your own affordability and order of importance. 


If you decide to pay for the wedding yourself, the same rules apply as with any large purchase:

Decide on a budget. (and stick to it)

Shop around for the best deals, particularly cars, flowers and your wedding photographer. There can be huge price differences for a near identical service. Look at their galleries, read the reviews, shop with your wallet.

Sacrifice is key, be prepared to drop some things in order to get the more important items on your list.

Put a plan in place to make sure you have the money to pay the wedding bills when they come in. (take a look at our wedding payment plans or get in touch today), this way, you are sure its all paid for by the time your day arrives.

Start saving early and use a cash ISA (Individual Savings Account) for your savings, the interest is tax free, giving the amount you have set aside a boost.

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