10 May 2019

Budgeting for your wedding: dos and don’ts

4 min read


If you’re not careful, the cost of your wedding can quickly mount up. Take a look at our budgeting ‘dos and don’ts’ to help you stay on track

Wedding planning can (and should) be one of the most exciting things you’ll do with your partner, from choosing a beautiful venue to tasting your food and picking flowers.

But it can also be very stressful, especially when it comes to your finances. With so much to think about, costs can quickly mount up and become overwhelming.

Infographic showing average UK wedding costs. This image is an infographic and has alternative text available if you are using a screen reader.

How much does a wedding cost?

  • £30,355: The average cost of a wedding in the UK
  • £6,152: Venue
  • £5,862: Food and drink
  • £1,039: Music and entertainment
  • £858: Flowers
  • £323: Wedding cake



So, how can you have the celebration you want while making sure you’re spending what you can afford? Stay on track with our budgeting ‘dos and don’ts’.

Wedding cake topper

Do work out what’s important

Before you start planning anything, take the time to sit down with your partner and talk about what you want from your wedding – big or small, home or away, themed or traditional. Aligning your expectations from the start will help to avoid any disagreements later on, and make planning for the big day a whole lot smoother.

Don’t forget to be realistic

With all the excitement, it’s easy to get carried away when you start thinking about your wedding. But being sensible with your spending can help to avoid post-wedding financial stress. Write a list of everything you’d like and then highlight your priorities. This will make it easier to work out where to allocate your money, and where to cut costs, when it comes to drawing up a budget. Don’t forget to include your guest list in this process – inviting too many people can quickly bump up costs!

Old mobile phone

Do your research

It’s worth putting the time in to do your research so you have an idea of what different things cost. Ask friends who have got married recently for advice or recommendations, take a look at wedding magazines, visit a wedding fair or look online to work out rough costs for the type of things you want.

Don’t assume parents will make big contributions

Make sure you have a conversation with parents, family, or anyone else who might want to contribute to your wedding, early on. This way you can work out if they’re able to help and, if so, what they’re comfortable offering before you put together your budget and pay any deposits. Even if someone can’t offer money, they may want to help in other ways, like baking the cake or making decorations – every little helps!

Wallet with money

Do draw up a budget

Setting a budget will make it much easier to keep things under control while planning your big day. First, work out how much you have to spend and, if you want to save more, how much you’re realistically able to put away each month – using a Budget Planner can help with this. It’s a good idea to factor in a little extra money to give you a bit of a buffer for any unexpected costs later on.

Don’t forget to track your spending

Once it’s done, try putting your budget into a spreadsheet or Google Sheet. Then you can put in a cost every time you get a quote, spend anything or put down a deposit, and you’ll get an update of what you’ve spent in total, and how much you’ve got left. This can help you keep track the whole way through the planning process, so you know if you’re overspending or, if things have cost less than expected, if you’ve got a little extra in the budget.

Shopping bags

Do shop around

It may seem like a lot of effort, but getting quotes from lots of different suppliers – from wedding cakes and catering, to photography and music – can help you to save money.  Don’t forget to ask about things like VAT, delivery and services fees, and whether all of these things are included in the final quote. For venues, ask what the different options are when it comes to pricing – there are often less popular months or days of the week to get married, which can make the venue considerably cheaper to hire.

Don’t forget about DIY

If you haven’t got a big budget, there are lots of things you can do yourself to keep costs down. Things like decorations, table centrepieces, save the dates, invites and wedding favours all give you the chance to get creative and make something yourself. You could also ask friends or family that want to contribute to help bake the cake, make canapés for the reception, do the flowers or make a playlist instead of having a DJ.

Padlock and key

Do think about insurance

Weddings can be incredibly expensive, so it’s worth thinking about whether you need insurance – especially if you’re spending a lot. Each policy will vary depending on what you choose, but it’ll typically cover you if anything goes wrong with the venue, or a supplier makes a cancellation. You may also get some protection for things you pay for by credit card, but you won’t get the sort of cover that insurance offers.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Wedding planning can be very stressful, but it’ll soon be forgotten once the big day comes around and all your efforts have paid off. Make sure you enjoy your long-anticipated celebration to the fullest. 

More on getting started with money