/ Money

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?


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 .


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…


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.


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…


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.


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…


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.


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.


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 – just like whether if you go on a cruise you choose steerage or the “owner’s” suite. We have to resist the envy that occurs when we see people better off than us, and realise you don’t have to have or spend loads of money to have a happy life.


I have not been to a wedding where the family has provided much more than the cake and decorations but at other events the food is usually much better quality and it’s more personal. Employing commercial caterers means that a significant amount of the budget goes to pay the organisation that provides the food.


I think it is plain stupid to spend extravagantly on weddings and have not a whit of sympathy for people who do. What is apparent is there is an entire industry and the media seemingly hell-bent on normalising weddings as a justifiable reason for getting into debt, or spending money that could be more usefully spent on a capital asset or added to savings for a future event.

” Statistics show 42 per cent of marriages end in divorce, and 34 per cent of married couples divorce before their 20th wedding anniversary. However, a study from Relate found 87 per cent of couples said they were in a good relationship, and that half rarely or never argued. The statistics show that many couples who were previously in good relationships end up getting divorced within 20 years of their nuptials.

Relate counsellor and sex therapist Peter Saddington has given the nine most common reasons for divorce he sees in couples.
1. Money problems
Problems can arise when it comes to money if husband and wife have different value bases, for instance, if one person likes spending money freely and the other is more frugal and prefers saving. ”

By many peoples standards we are well-off but then when we were poor we had a Registry wedding and a meal for the immediate family at a local hotel. If it were over £1000 , accounting for inflation , I would be surprised. It is being careful with money by habit that has meant we have never paid large amounts of interest to the banks.

Being tight with money is not to be deplored but a realisation that money is hard to come by particularly even if you do live in a work hot-spot.

One wonders how far these cost of wedding figures are inflated by ethnic traditional weddings which are hugely elaborate BUT do often involve serious cash gifts to the couple from relatives and friends. So it may be very expensive indeed but the net benefit may be substantial.


I’m unsure why people are still getting married.


There is something tastelessly competitive about wedding arrangements. The same is happening to high school proms. I dislike seeing wealth flaunted and am deeply saddened to realise that a lot of the extravagance is funded by debt. The ostentatiousness is one American import I feel we could do without.

Conversely I have no objection to arriving in style. The Pippa Middleton wedding seemed to feature an endless fleet of vintage and classic luxury cars. Others splash out on horses and carriages. A relative had a London Routemaster bus with special destination blinds and route number.

Perhaps one indulgence is sufficient – a lot of money can be saved by not having superfluous seat covers, fancy drapes, and elaborate garlands and bows all over the place.

In our family the generation below us does not seem to be inclined to get married so no upcoming celebrations for us.

Some people think it’s the bride’s big day; it is not – it is her mother’s.

Best Wishes, Lauren. Cheeky question: Will your next Conversation be on Best Buy layette sets?