The day you get married is as special a day as they come, but wedding costs can often be higher than you think.
Here we take a look at how much weddings can cost, from dating and engagement all the way through to the big day itself – for the bride, the groom, the family, and even the guests,
What we found
Experian research in 2014* found that the average couple (meaning those either planning to get married, are married or that have been married) say the budget came in at just under £4,000 (£3,998).
However, once they were asked to itemise separate costs, such as the dress, the venue, the rings and the honeymoon, the total average cost leapt up to £6,627 – suggesting that perhaps many of us underestimate how much a wedding will cost.
Around seven in ten (69%) pay for it from savings, while around one in five are using some form of credit, whether that be a card, a loan, or paying in instalments.
The hidden costs you might need to budget for
The most expensive ones are likely to be the largest and the smallest items – the venue itself (or maybe plural ‘venues’) and the ring, whether engagement or wedding ring. These tend to average around 3-4k each, according to some experts.
Then there’s hiring various people to provide services – the catering, the photography and video, the entertainment and in some cases the stylists.
And no wedding would be complete without specially arranged flowers, a sumptuous cake and some personalised stationery to use for invitations, thank you notes and so on.
And there’s the clothes – the wedding dress is likely to be the biggest expenditure, with the average cost in excess of £1400, but there’s also the groom’s suit, plus perhaps outfits for bridesmaids and pageboys.
Finally, don’t forget the honeymoon – for many it’s essentially a normal holiday, but for many it’s a once-in-a-lifetime, forget-the-budget chance for a holiday to remember – so this can really make costs go up.
Being a guest can cost too
An Experian survey** in August 2015 suggested that the cost of weddings can rock the boat for many couples – not just for the bride and groom. It found that one in four people had argued with their partner about the cost of attending a wedding, and that one in six had actually missed the big day of loved ones because they couldn’t afford to attend.
11% of people in a relationship had spent more than £800 each on attending weddings, while 4% had actually spent over £2000. One in three of those borrowing money to go to someone else’s wedding had no clear plan on how to pay it back, or had never even thought about it.
Experian Expert James Jones told us: “Sitting down with your partner to put some thought into your budget at the beginning of ‘wedding season’ is advisable.
Discussing not just how much you can afford, but also how you’re going to pay for it can help avoid arguments in the run up to the big day and make sure you come out the other end without a nasty financial hangover.”
Funding the wedding
If you’re budgeting for a major event like a wedding it can be important to be able to access the best credit deals to suit your finances.
When you make a credit application, most lenders want to make sure you’re able to pay it back before they commit to giving you credit. They’re looking for proof that you’re a reliable and responsible borrower – they want to know that you will make repayments on time and that you aren’t already over-stretched.
Checking your Experian Credit Report can help with this, as the more you know about how your credit report works and how lenders and others use it, the easier it is to improve your credit rating, and give yourself the best chance of getting the most favourable deals to help you budget for it.
*Research was carried out online on behalf of Experian Consumer Services by Canadean Consumer among a representative sample of 1,445 UK adults who are married, have been married or who are planning their wedding.
**Research was carried out online by Canadean in August 2015 and used a sample of 2000 UK adults.