Your wedding day is one of the most special and important days of your life, but with the average 2013 wedding expected to cost over £16,000 ($21,119) in the UK, it’s not something you can plan for (or save for!) in a few short weeks!
Unless you happen to be on the TV show ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’ that is, with a nice £12,000 budget in your pocket – but then who wants their hubby to be picking out everything from the venue to the all-important dress?!
If you, like the vast majority of couples out there, are paying for and planning your nupitals yourselves, here are the basic items you’ll need to buy and how much you’ll likely need to save for them…
1. Venue – £1,600 ($2,112)
Your venue is one of the most expensive single costs of your big day! You’ll likely also need to book it many months in advance – even half a year or more – so it’s a lot of cash you’ll have to fork out near the start of your wedding planning.
If you want to marry in one place, such as a church, and then have your reception elsewhere, you’ll be paying two lots of venue charges – but as your marriage is a much shorter affair than the celebration afterwards, the cost for that venue is often minimal in comparison.
2. Food & Drink – £3500 ($4,620)
Expect to pay around £40 a head for food, so with an average of 50 guests you’re looking at a pretty hefty expense here! Add around £1000 alcohol costs for all those bottles of celebratory champagne and another £500 for a beautiful wedding cake, and the food and drink costs quickly add up.
3. Rings – £600 ($792)
Wedding bands cost an average of £200-£400 in gold or white gold, with perhaps a sparkle or two for her. If you want a show-stopping ring that’s dripping with diamonds (you’ll be wearing it for the rest of your life after all!) then you could easily be looking at £1000+.
4. Dress – £800 ($1,056)
It’s your big day which means all eyes will be on you, so you naturally want to look your best. For a luxurious gown you’ll be looking at £800 or thereabouts – although if you have your heart set on a gown in the finest quality lace you’ve ever seen, this is one of the most expensive fabrics around and it’ll likely cost you much more!
5. Bouquet – £100 ($132)
Budget around £100 for a gorgeous bouquet, either in fresh, rare blooms or a fabric one you can keep and treasure forever.
6. Shoes – £50 ($66)
Few people splash out on designer shoewear for their big day simply due to the fact that it’s hidden under your dress all day! Unless you’re wearing a shorter-length gown, this should be a decent amount to pay for a pair of nice, ivory satin pumps to match your dress.
7. Invitations – £100 ($132)
For an average of 50 guests at £2 each, invitations soon add up – and they’ll cost more if you want each one beautifully handmade! DIY invitations is a great way to save money without cutting down on style.
8. Photographer – £1000 ($1320)
Wedding photography is another major cost of your big day, and it’s not something you want to try to save on as you want high quality, beautiful photos to remember your special day by! Find out a more accurate cost for wedding photography in your area.
9. Music – £500 ($660)
Whether you’re opting for a local string or wind quartet for a classical sound at your wedding, or you’re hiring a DJ to get those guests rocking, remember to budget a good £500 or so – after all, nothing creates a grea atmosphere like great music!
10. Centrepieces – £300 ($396)
For 10 tables with a centrepiece each, you’re looking at £30 each – however, this is one area where you can easily save money with some nice, DIY centrepiece ideas.
11. Bridal Lingerie – £150 ($198)
Just as your dress is important, you’ll no doubt want something glamorous and new to wear underneath it! £150 will get you some pretty luxurious bridal lingerie such as a bra, brief and suspender set, or a baque with matching stockings. However, if you want a premium quality corset you’ll likely need to budget a bit more than this – especially if you want some new lingerie sets for the honeymoon too!
12. Hair and Makeup – £200 ($264)
Most women rarely treat themselves to a full, professional makeover and hair-styling session, so your wedding is the perfect chance to indulge in just that. You’ll probably want to pay for a ‘practise’ session beforehand to get the look just right, and if you’re also paying for your bridesmaids’ hair and makeup to be done too then expect this cost to rise!
13. Bridesmaid Outfits – £600 ($792)
Luckily, bridesmaids’ dresses are much, much cheaper than the bridal gown itself! Some bridesmaids are happy to buy their own dress, since they’ll be keeping it afterwards anyway, however if you’re footing the bill for a dress and shoes for 4 bridesmaids then you’ll need around £600 for it all.
14. Honeymoon – £4000 ($5,280)
Last but definitely not least is that wonderful honeymoon trip you will be making as the new Mr and Mrs! You’ll no doubt want to jet off somewhere tropical and unique, so with flights, hotel, dining out and all the attractions you’ll be visiting whilst there this often costs up to a third of the total price of your wedding!
Total Cost = £13,500 ($17,820)
So, that’s how to budget for a slightly less-than-average priced wedding – but remember, if you start adding in lots of other small costs such as favours for your guests, rented chair covers, tablecloths and the like, it quickly adds up!
How much are you planning to spend on your wedding?
Estelle Puleston is a bride-to-be busy planning her own wedding alongside running Esty Lingerie, her handmade lingerie business.