The Bridebook National Wedding Survey 2018 figures are in. With the average cost of a wedding *when including all of the suppliers that you can think of* reaching an all-time high of £30,355, we thought that it was about time to talk about the wedding budget.
STOP! Right there. This isn’t the time to leave.
We know that talk of wedding budgets can be hugely deflating and not particularly fun. It is not our intention to scare or lecture, but rather help those that need it. So, by show of hands, how many of us really know how to split our wedding budget to make sure that we have covered everything? Just as we thought. Let’s get to it.
A little caveat before we begin. Every wedding is different, our priorities (food and drink, flowers, or photography) are different, and our budgets are different. And that is okay!
The Budget Breakdown
Armed with the stats (thank you Bridebook), we have put together the ultimate budget breakdown to help you plan your day. There is also a bonus budget planner (just the one spreadsheet page!) that you can download. The idea is simple. You decide on an overall budget, then use this breakdown to plan all of the aspects of your day.
Now, don’t for a second thing that this exercise is going to be romantic, it’s not, in fact it is possibly going to be the least romantic thing about your wedding, but it will help you to get to grips with financing your big day. Of course, the breakdowns can be tweaked to suit your priorities (not into flowers but love live music? then reallocate what you would have spent). What are you waiting for? Read on for our wedding budget allocation tips, and don’t forget to download and print your budget planner from the link at the end of this post!
1 / Venue
Venue Hire. Food + Drink. Travel. Accommodation
Budget Allocation = 45%
The biggest chunk of your budget will be spent here. With the average venue hire cost coming in at £6,152 (£5,468 for a marquee) and food and drink at £5,862, it is easy to see why that is the case. Venue hire costs can, and often do, differ based on day and wedding month, and accommodation may or may not be included within this cost (it is important to allocate some of the budget to this area just in case it is not, even if just for yourselves). Food and drink costs will likely be dictated by number of guests; something to bear in mind. Travel may not be an essential but is certainly worth thinking about if you need to get to your venue on the morning of the wedding, or if you need to transport guests from the ceremony to the reception venue. Our “Venue Checklist” is well worth checking out and taking along to any viewings so you know what to ask and look out for!
2 / Ceremony
Reading the Banns or Giving Notice. Ceremony Fee. Marriage Certificate
Budget Allocation = 2%
Both religious and civil ceremonies come with their fees, all of which are pretty unavoidable we’re afraid.
3 / Photography
Photographer. Albums. Travel Expenses
Budget Allocation = 10%
Fortunately, most photographers are open about the coverage that they offer and the prices involved in doing so. Be aware, engagement shoots, albums and sometimes the full collection of images come with fees that are in addition to the day rate. You may need to cover travel expenses for your photographer if they are coming from far away, and be kind to those that are with you all day; a meal will be much appreciated. The budget allocation here is set out to cover all mentioned items.
4 / Floristry
Bouquets. Buttonholes. Ceremony Décor. Reception Décor
Budget Allocation = 6%
Go to your florist with your budget and work with it/toward it. This might mean that you have to compromise and swap out expensive stems for more seasonal blooms, but that doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on style; there are so many options, many that you wouldn’t have considered. Foliage, coloured chiffon and tonnes of candles are all ways stretch how far your floristry budget can go.
5 / Outfits + Beauty
Wedding Dress. Groom’s Attire. Accessories + Shoes. Bridesmaids + Groomsmen. Hair + Makeup
Budget Allocation = 15%
Factor in dress alterations and all of the accessories, and don’t forget your groom! He’ll want to look good, too. There is so much out there on the topic of whether it is essential, as the couple getting married, to pay for bridesmaid and groomsmen outfits – do what works for you. You’re not likely to forget about hair and makeup on the day, but don’t forget to factor in trials and treatments for the days and weeks running up to the wedding day for you and your partner.
6 / Entertainment
Ceremony. Reception. Evening
Budget Allocation = 5%
It goes without saying that it is hand on heart not essential to have live music throughout the day. We come back to the priorities that you have as a couple. Individual tracks will likely be expected for the ceremony and playlists that you can supply to the venue are perfect for the reception. In the evening you will have to decide between DJ, band or neither. The kind of day that you want will play a part in how you make your decision here.
7 / Finishing Touches
Stationery. Favours + Gifts. Wedding Cake
Budget Allocation = 2%
Reported stationery costs were so much lower than we had expected. Invitations, a table plan, and the order of the day provide so much information to guests and are also a lovely keepsake, BUT there are so many websites are available to do the job of printed stationery at a fraction of the cost (don’t forget postage) and with little environmental impact. Favours and gifts are best when edible or alcoholic (there is nothing quite as sad as seeing abandoned favours), and wedding cakes come in so many different shapes and sizes (doughnut wall, anyone?), with prices usually depending on size and cake matter.
8 / Honeymoon
Budget Allocation = 15%
Don’t forget to include your honeymoon in your budget as this usually (but not always) comes soon after the wedding. You’ll thank us for this one.
We do hope this budget breakdown has been helpful! Don’t forget, you can also download our FREE wedding budget planner here – it is a one page mini spreadsheet for you to print off and fill out with your estimate and actual figures for each of the mentioned cost categories.