True costs of saying 'I do' revealed by the experts

wedding couple in attire against maximalist wedding backdrop Credit: Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Recent research by Hodge reveals the dream of getting married can come with a hefty price tag, reaching more than £20,000. Hodge dived into the averages of how much each part of a wedding costs, revealing that food and the honeymoon were the two most expensive parts.

Average cost of getting married

Item

Average cost

Food

£6,000

Honeymoon

£4,329

Wedding outfits

£3,500

Entertainment

£2,000

Engagement ring

£1,948

Flowers

£1,110

Wedding ring

£1,000

Wedding transport

£700

Total

£20,587

When it comes to wedding attire, couples spare no expense to look their best on their special day. According to Hodge’s research, the average cost of wedding outfits in the UK is substantial.

For instance, the engagement ring alone sets couples back around £1,948 on average, surpassing even the cost of the bride's dress, which averages £1,500. But, the wedding bands cost substantially less, on average couples only spend £1,000 for both rings.

Meanwhile, grooms tend to spend less on their attire, with an average expenditure of £900 per suit. However, when factoring in the costs of bridesmaids' dresses at approximately £80 each and groomsmen's suits at around £150, outfit expenses can quickly accumulate, totalling up to £3,500 based on a party of five bridesmaids and five groomsmen. 2

Some like to make a grand entrance on their big day, arriving in classic cars, limousines, or even romantic horse-drawn carriages. However, these luxuries come with a price tag, with the average cost of wedding transportation in the UK amounting to around £700.

Depending on the number of guests you have this can be the most expensive part of the wedding, for example, if you were to feed 150 people, this could cost you up to £6,000.

The Maldives, Amalfi Coast, Thailand, Greece and Bali are some of the most popular honeymoon destinations. However, it turns out that couples spent on average £4,329 on their honeymoon3, which is more than £3,500, on average, more than a week away for a couple in summer.4

Wedding Planner, Emma Segal at The Bijou Studio shares tips on how to have the wedding of dreams on a smaller budget.

1. Don't succumb to the pressure of thinking that you have to have everything that a wedding is 'supposed' to have in order to make it special. It's your wedding so do it YOUR way. Decide on your priorities, likes and dislikes and stick to them. Doing a smaller number of things well, rather than trying to stretch your budget to do 'everything' will be more impactful.

2. Think seasonal, and where possible local, when it comes to flowers and food (and as many of your suppliers as possible). For example, peonies might be your favourite flower but importing them from the other side of the world for your Autumn wedding is not going to keep you on budget! Not only are seasonal choices more sustainable, they will be more cost-effective, too.

3. Plan your wedding so items can be repurposed throughout the day. For example, if you want a large floral backdrop for your ceremony, work with your florist to design it in such a way that it becomes something else. Maybe it can be tweaked to be a fun photo booth or DJ backdrop, or maybe the flowers are then used to decorate the dining tables.

4. If you genuinely enjoy being crafty and creative, then there are so many things you could make yourself to add a personal touch to your wedding - stationery such as menus and name places is always a good one. I would, however, strongly advise against doing anything on the day of the wedding itself - no amount of money-saving is worth stressing yourself out on the day or day before. I've seen brides that have decided to make their own cakes or do their own flowers and it has never ended well...!

5. Be selective with your guestlist. When you work out the per-head cost of your guests, you realise how expensive it really is! Do you honestly want to spend that amount inviting your old neighbours or colleagues who you haven't seen for a few years? Possibly not...

If you have a couple of years to plan your nuptials, you might want to consider opening an ISA where you can earn interest on your savings, with the average interest rate sitting at 4.52%.

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