Your wedding day is the biggest of your life so the temptation is to throw financial caution to the wind. However, without wishing to sound boringly unromantic, we’d urge you to plan your wedding budget with care – that way you avoid the disappointment of scaling back your celebrations at the last minute because the costs got out of hand.
Are you above or below average?
Fixing an overall figure is easier if you know what others tend to spend. That way you’ll have a better idea of whether you are throwing the cash around like confetti or tiptoeing towards the mean side of frugal! According to Hitched Magazine’s National Wedding Survey the average total cost of a wedding in 2019 was £31,974. This includes an average cost of £5,406 for the venue, £4,645 for the honeymoon, £3,887 on food (not including the £292 on the cake), £2419 for the engagement ring, £1,587 for drinks.
Celebs go largeOf course, if you are a celebrity, a wedding budget of £31,974 is unthinkable. George and Amal Clooney spent $3 million on their accommodation for guests attending their wedding in Italy and the total bill was around $4.6 million. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s nuptials cost a cool $1 million in 2009. Daddy owned the venue (Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey) so that probably kept the bill down but the 13-layered cake is estimated to have cost $70,000 alone.
Royals top the chartsWhen Harry wed Meghan the bill was estimated at £32 million (including a whopping £30 million for security). This looks quite modest compared to the bill when his dad wed Lady Diana Spenser in 1981. The estimated wedding cost was $48 million at the time, which is around $137 million today.
A feast that’s hard to beatWay back in 1468, Margaret of York (sister of Edward IV and Richard III) married Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. The celebrations were estimated to have cost £250 million in modern money. The festivities included a four-day joust and a crown for the bride coated in pearls and diamonds. Widely regarded as “the marriage of the century” it is re-enacted at Bruges for tourists every five years.
Your heavenly day doesn’t have to cost the earth
What if you don’t have a few million to spare, or even £30,000? With careful planning and some imagination you can keep the wedding costs down and still have an amazing day. It’s possible to find charming but modest venues, like pubs, restaurants and even cafes, at a fraction of the price you’d pay for somewhere swanky.
ASOS has lovely embroidered wedding dresses for about £100, as do many other high street retailers. Mismatched bridesmaid’s dresses are all the rage now so ask them to wear something they already own (but perhaps pick a colour theme). DIY hair and makeup? Find a budding student wedding photographer?
Cut your catering costs by simply serving afternoon tea of sandwiches and scones, or do a festival-style, casual wedding breakfast with a jacket potato bar, cheese and meat platters or a barbecue. If your wedding venue allows, get guests to bring their own alcohol or create your own gin bar with spirits and mixers from your local supermarket. Many couples also ask the guests to chip in for the honeymoon – easier than asking for cash rather than gifts.