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How much should a wedding cost?

wedding costs

The average UK wedding in 2017 costs £27k. Is it too much to spend on one day or is it unrealistic to think you can do it for cheaper?

Recently I got engaged and now I’m planning a wedding, I’m quickly discovering the staggering costs involved.

In case you missed last weekend’s news, Pippa Middleton (the older sister of the Duchess of Cambridge) married James Matthews. According to Bridebook, the wedding cost at least £250,000.

Now, unless we win the lottery or rob a bank, our wedding won’t come close to that figure.

But I’m beginning to realise that, no matter what I do, our wedding is still going to come with a fairly hefty price tag.

As one newlywed recently informed me: ‘Everything costs £1,000, except the venue – that’ll be £10,000…’ and it seems they were pretty much bang on. Yep, in 2017, the average cost of a wedding in the UK is £27k and more than £38k in London.

Big day costs

I hope I’m not the only one who thinks £27k is a lot of money to spend on one day. But there’s so much to think about and so much to pay for.

Not only is there the cost of the venue, there’s the ceremony, food, booze, flowers and decorations, entertainment, dress, suits, rings, photographer and God knows what else I’m failing to factor in. Oh, and the honeymoon – that might need to be a staycation at this rate!

In fact, according to MoneySuperMarket research, couples are applying for more wedding loans than ever, with an increase of 53% in applications for £30,000 or more, compared to the same period last year.

Bridal bartering

While we’re not planning to take out a loan for our big day, we’ll certainly have to tighten our belts to save for it.

I can’t help but feel that it’s all a bit of a money spinner. We’ve identified our preferred venue – and both sets of parents approve (phew!) – so before we press ahead and pay the deposit, I’m going to test out my best haggling skills. I’ll let you know how I get on…

What do you think to wedding expenditure in 2017? Have you got any wedding savings or haggling tips? If you’re married, how much did your own wedding cost? Or have you contributed towards the cost of someone else’s big day?

Comments
Member

I know this is a females Big Day and for those that can afford this well and good but in this day and age of high unemployment , working for the “Living Wage ” or LESS its a pipe-dream for the poor .It saddles them with a big debt that would be better spent on a down payment on a house and that is exactly what many practical couples actually do. 45 % end in divorce , about 70 % of divorces are initiated by women . Then we have the fact religion (Christian ) is not politically correct and its discouraged and banned in many schools then why ask a minister/priest ( Christian ) to “marry them” . I know a lot of money is made out of this by many businesses but shouldn’t honesty enter into this , and then we have a large rise in cohabiting at least thats being honest about it , each party is on equal terms . Do I sound controversial ? maybe but I look at the facts in 2017 not 1967 .

Member

Fair point, Duncan. I’m amazed by the amount of money that people are prepared to spend. I think I might be working in the wrong industry…

Member

I am sorry Lauren I should have offered my congratulations on your engagement , Wavechange brought that to my attention , I should cut down on the speed reading. Actually I am a hypocrite because I got married in a religious establishment but the costs were very small even allowing for inflation , but the whole social system in this country has changed completely and its now run on different lines I would just like it to be consistent.

Member

Thanks, Duncan 🙂

Costs seem to vary depending on where you are in the country too – I can’t work out the pricing structure, it doesn’t seem to be supply/demand driven like the housing market is…

Member

Congratulations on your engagement, Lauren.

I object to the commercialisation of Christmas, so I’m very unimpressed by the costs of marriage. As a single person, I don’t think I’m going to face the challenges of getting married. Unless the newlyweds will be going back to their own home after the ceremonies, perhaps it would make more sense to put the money towards a mortgage and get onto the housing ladder. Borrowing money seems to provide the opportunity of being in long-term debt.

Like Duncan I’m concerned that some will have no chance of a grand ceremony even if they would like one. But we live in a society where some are more privileged than others because they have been born with rich and generous parents and families. I’m old fashioned and believe that marriage provides a better environment for children and it’s sad that people have been conditioned into believing that if they are going to get married, only the full works will do.

Member

Thanks, Wavechange. I’m planning for a slightly more frugal day!

Most of my married friends had bought properties before getting engaged – me included – I had an interesting chat with my grandmother who pointed out that she married and then got a mortgage. It’s scary to think how comfortable people are with getting such a huge loan for one day! I appreciate that you supposedly only do this once and it’s a special day, but it feels like everyone sees it as an opportunity to overcharge. One tip I’ve been given is to not let any of the suppliers know that it’s a quote for a wedding, apparently that immediately encourages a few zeros on to the end of the quote…

Member

I’m not surprised to learn about wedding loans because so many are conditioned into accepting that debt is normal. Most students graduate in debt thanks to student loans. Maybe it would be better to pay their fees and recover them later, but that’s off-topic.

I wonder if couples should pay less attention to the wedding itself and more to their anniversaries, marking the achievement of happy years together.

Member

You could always go abroad and get married somewhere romantic and have a party to celebrate when you return. It would save an awful lot of stress and money.

Member

I’ve been to a very nice wedding reception in a village hall with family doing the catering and providing the drink, making the cake etc, after a registry office marriage. There is absolutely no need to spend a lot if you choose not to.

In a world of differences in wealth there will inevitably be different ways of having such a celebration, and that is entirely up to those involved to decide. A wedding is a big milestone in many people’s lives and they may want to make it a day to remember. Up to them –