How much does a wedding cost in UK?
Updated: Nov 18, 2022
How much does it cost to get married in the UK these days? The answer, in truth, is that it depends on three main factors:
How big do you really you want your wedding to be?
What does a great wedding day look like for the two of you? Specifically, what are the things that are truly important to you?
What is your realistic budget?
These questions may sound simple enough, but they are actually soul searching and, in our experiences lead couples to focus on a good range of wedding options for that they can then consider and find what’s right for them.
Knightor Winery, Cornwall
For many of us the “cost of living crisis” has meant a thorough reappraisal of our finances: cutting back on luxuries, deferring holiday plans and for many, or scaling back wedding plans. This is not just a feeling we get from the couples we help, but a fact. Hitched.com published their annual wedding survey of couples getting married and this shows the extent to which COVID and the financial crisis have hit couples’ budgets. In 2019 the average spend on a wedding excluding honeymoon and engagements ring was £31,974. In 2022, this number has nearly halved at £17,300.
This trend is further evidenced by a survey undertaken by GazeboShop.co.uk this year. They asked their audience to say how much they thought was a reasonable amount of money to spend on a wedding, with answers options ranging from £0- 50,000.
Their data revealed, in 2022, £6,000-10,000 is the seen at the most popular amount people think should be spent on a wedding. Their data also showed that only one in ten felt that they would be happy to spend between £21,000 – £30,000 – close to the previous average, pre-pandemic.
We are seeing two forces at play that are changing the landscape of weddings and ensuing celebrations:
Covid Pandemic - this changed so many things in our lives. With size restrictions in force throughout the pandemic, it normalised smaller weddings. The enforced distance between us somehow rationalise our family and friend relationships, distilling our circles to those that we had real connection to, rather than people we happen to see a lot in the run of everyday life in normal time. Gone is the need to invite distant relatives or fair-weather friends. Our advice is always to surround yourselves with those you genuinely love and care about the most, and return this kindness to you. There is no price that can be paid to feel totally enveloped in the love of your nearest and dearest on your special day.
Financial Crisis – most of the couples and businesses we speak to have financial concerns about the impact of ever rising cost of living. This is reflected in both Hitched and Gazebo Shop’s surveys too. Less expensive does not need to mean less special. Oh no. In fact, we think you could be upgrading your wedding experience seriously…
In this article we are going to share our take on the new thinking that’s revolutionising weddings in the UK.
Low budget: no problem
If you have less of a budget than you might have had three years ago you have two choices:
Keep guest numbers high and reduce cost per head – DIY and back yard weddings are good examples of how to achieve this. Or perhaps take a leaf out of our great-grandparents book and opt for a church wedding followed by a church hall knees up – a trend that was THE way to do things post-Second World War. There are also some beautiful wedding venues that allow you a real DIY wedding experience too e.g. Higher Holcombe in Devon and Little Seed Field in Yorkshire
Scale back on guest numbers and keep spend per head relatively high, see the magic unfurl!
What’s a realistic budget?
Your wedding day can look however you want it to, but it probably involves a legal wedding ceremony either on the day, or at some other time to legalise your celebrant-led wedding ceremony. (The price guides below are averages and you should make specific enquiries at your chosen wedding venue to get exact costs.)
Fees vary from county to county, and parish to parish if you are considering a legal church wedding. Here’s how we see the different options currently priced, on average. As a guide: you can get married legally at a registry office of your choice in England and Wales for as little as £57 (cost of a statutory meeting with any registry office – this is no frills, in an office) plus £70 fee for giving notice. So less than £200.
In Scotland, a registry office wedding ceremony costs around £300 with notice fees of around £90.
Also in Scotland, Celebrants can perform a legal wedding ceremony anywhere you like ( as long as they are prepared to travel there!) costs are from £500-750 plus £90 notice fees.
A registry office wedding ceremony will cost around £300 plus £70 to give notice.
At a church you can expect to pay around £30 each for the Banns (the equivalent to giving notice) and around £250 donation to the church for your ceremony.
Wedding ceremonies and celebrations with everything included
Wedding packages that combine photography, bridal hair and make-up, catering, drinks and flowers/décor are always popular. Most of our wedding venue partners found on our site can help you put these packages together on a bespoke basis using wedding service providers that are tried and tested and know your wedding venue well.
If you are thinking of eloping, just the two of you, and staying either at the venue you have chosen or close by in a love nest of your choosing for a few days we see prices ranging from £2000-£5000.
If you are thinking of a wedding day for 4 – 12 people, we recommend a budget of £3000-£7000. To have everyone stay for a few days, we see the average budget rising to £4000- £8000.
If you’d prefer a wedding with for around 13 – 25, a budget of £3500 – £9500 is appropriate.
For larger weddings, a good proxy is to add on around £150 per additional person. And, If you don’t feel you’d want to spend the extra £150 on some of those people, then don’t invite them!
Why have a smaller wedding or elopement wedding?
In essence a smaller wedding allows you to reduce the size of your wedding ceremony and celebrations without having to compromise style and luxury. In fact, we’ve seen so many couples create really indulgent wedding experiences by taking this route, without breaking the bank.
A smaller guest list does not mean an inferior wedding day, in fact, we’d argue to opposite. A smaller wedding can be super-special, indulgent and can last for far more than one day! In fact, most of the couples we help have a three-or-four-night stay with guests joining them for all or part of this time. This is great because everyone gets to enjoy some relaxed time together and well as the wedding celebrations in sumptuous surroundings chosen by the bride and groom. What’s more, it makes the whole celebration feel far more inclusive (as everyone is on hand to help!) and what could be better than having an extended “wedding bubble” including just those you really want there, even if that turns out to be just you two and your dog!
Plus, in addition to spending less, you will also benefit from:
Feeling more relaxed in the run up to and on the day of your wedding You’ll actually get to spend quality time with everyone you invite on your wedding day
You can do things the way you want rather than feeling that you have to please others or measure up to certain expectations
Not having to stand up and speak in front of 100s of people, in fact you don’t have to make speeches at all unless you want to!
Your whole wedding will be more authentic, personal and meaningful, creating unique and special memories that will last a life time
Top tips for saving costs on your wedding and upgrading your wedding experience
Here’s our top tips on saving money on your wedding plans in the coming years:
Keep your location wedding on UK shores whilst exchange rates are not in our favour and making going abroad more expensive
Try and lock in prices with wedding day service providers now if possible – with inflation at 10% at the moment you will certainly save money if you are able to book services early and negotiate a price guarantee
Combine your wedding and mini-moon/honeymoon by arranging accommodation where you (and maybe family/friends) can stay on for a week or so. This will save on travel costs and provide you and your guests with a stay that you/they can spend their holiday fund on.
Elope! Just you two or the two of you and up to 4 guests means your budget can provide a super indulgent and unique experience at a fraction of the average wedding price.
Combine your wedding ceremony with a naming ceremony – one event covering more than one celebration is a great way of making your money deliver more for the same price.
DIY whatever you can – your guests will love contributing and it will create a real sense of involvement with investment of time and skills of your guests, making your wedding day totally unique.
Get married in the winter months when most small wedding venues offer cosy winter packages at a fraction of the price of summer dates. This also give you a fabulous reason to get creative with winter themes around food, décor and dress.
Small wedding venues that are perfect for downsized weddings, but deliver the wow factor
If you like the idea of spending less on your wedding, without compromising the quality of the experience then take a look at the options we see couples choosing: In order, Alexander House, Scotland; Brickhouse Vineyard, Devon; Camel Studio, Cornwall; Cosawes Barton, Cornwall; Coombe Trenchard, Devon; Frieda and the Moon, Cornwall; The Guildhall Bury St Edmunds; Knightor Winery, Cornwall; Little Seed Field, North Yorkshire; Millbrook, Devon; Tree Top Escape, Devon; Pauntley Court, Cotswolds; Porthpean House, Cornwall; Roman Baths, Bath; Riddles Court, Edinburgh; The Cornish Place, Cornwall; The Folly, Devon; Treseren, Cornwall; Twyning Park, Cotswolds; Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Cornwall; Fallen Angel, Cornwall; Little Quarme, Exmoor: The Cove Cafe, Cornwall; and, Harburn Barn, Scotland.
Just click on the link in the text or the image below to see more details on each of these exquisite intimate wedding options.