How to Budget For a Wedding

budget for a wedding

Weddings are no small feat. There are several factors to think of, right from the venue, to the wedding dress to catering and entertainment for the guests. All these factors are tied together by one common thread, the budget for a wedding.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed at the prospect of planning an entire wedding. Take it one step at a time and try to enjoy the process together. Your wedding is not just one day – it’s the entire planning process leading up to it.

Couples often struggle with the budget for their wedding. A survey has found that the average wedding cost (including the honeymoon and guest expenses) was around £30,000, a definite increase from £26,000 in 2018.

Wedding outside on a budget

Tips on how to Budget for a Wedding

So to fit into your budget you need to keep a close eye on the numbers and monitor your expenses thoroughly. Here are a few ways to budget for a wedding.

The 50/20/30 rule

You need to start saving for the wedding in advance. A big wedding costs thousands of pounds, and it can take years to gather these funds. Start by looking at your current monthly budget for your personal and joint expenses. Split the budget into the 50/20/30 rule. For example, 50% of your budget is for fixed expenses like rent, bills and subscription services. 30% of the budget is for variable expenses, like date nights, holidays, shopping and transport. 20% of the budget should be allocated to your savings account.

When you are saving for a wedding, you could allocate 30% of your budget for savings and 20% for variable expenses. Get a prepaid card to put a halt on overspending and make sure you stay in budget.

Identify priorities

Sit down with your partner and identify what you want out of the wedding. Your partner may want a live band while a designer dress is important to you. Find your priorities and agree to spend most of your money on those things. You can compromise on the other things, like decorations and a videographer. You may have to do a little DIY to make the venue look beautiful. It all depends on what’s important to you.

Find a theme

Use social media, Pinterest and online magazines to find what kind of theme you want for the wedding. Some people like to have a colour theme, like white and gold, while others go for a Disney wedding or Harry Potter theme. Find a style that works for both of you and stick to it. Your table decorations, bouquets and party favours should align with the theme. It’s much easier to make decisions for the wedding when you have a theme in mind.

The Venue

The venue you choose is going to create a great impact on the overall budget for a wedding. A good portion of the money will go to the venue, and it is important that you find a place that provides everything you need. No point in paying £6000 for a place and then having to spend more on hiring tables, chairs, heating, or ACs, is it? Also, the sooner you book the venue, the lesser you will have to pay. Last-minute bookings will push the price upwards.

Holidays, wedding seasons, and Sundays tend to be reserved way in advance. The cost of the venue is almost always high during these days. That’s one of the reasons, many couples are now getting married on Friday evenings or better yet, on week-day noon.

Caterers (Food, Cake, and Wine)

The venue may or may not offer caterers, which means you have to pick one yourself. Don’t forget the cake! If you’ve got friends or acquaintances known for their baking skills, talk to them. If the cake lady (or gent) offers to take care of welcome drinks or appetizers, by all means, go ahead. You’ll end up saving a few pounds. Make sure the wedding menu is not too complex with too many items. Sometimes, a simple menu provides the best food.


You will need to set aside anything between £1000 and £1300 for the photographer. They charge based on the number of hours and also the location. If you want the photographer to come to another city, you will have to include the travel expenses (and hotel expenses, if required). You might get a friend to take up wedding photography, but do you want to compromise on something that’ll capture the special day’s memories forever?

Wedding Dress

On average, your bridal gown will be around £1100, while the bridegroom’s suit will cost about £400. While you can easily go over the budget for a wedding, you can also cut down the cost to less than a thousand by checking for any special bridal discounts that boutiques offer at times. Make sure you include the cost of your underwear. You can get the hair and makeup done for another £400-£600. Of course, if you are good at makeup or like the minimalistic look, you’ll save quite a bit here.

Entertainment for Guests

Live bands tend to charge a lot of money, although you can hire acoustic duo’s who can perform at different times of the day to maximise that budget. The acoustic guitar could be the perfect background music for record signing and while guests are waiting for the ceremony.

Alternatively, you could consider a DJ as an alternative to live bands. It’s essential to understand what sound system is in place if you plan to use your own music.

wedding entertainment

Flowers and Decorations

If you want fresh flowers for the wedding, you’ll have to pay a thousand pounds or more. If the venue offers a few basic decorations (without flowers), see if you would like to take it up! You can always add a bunch of flowers at random places instead of going for complete flower decoration.

Invitations and Stationery

We like to call these sneaky costs as they tend to pile up with each new addition. You can use the internet to order personalised wedding invitations, stationary, invites, and gifts for guests. Instead of getting them packed by professionals, ask your friends to come over and help you with it. Anyone you know has great handwriting? Awesome! You don’t have to spend on a calligraphy expert.


The average cost of the honeymoon is about £3000. The prices seem to be increasing each year. If you cannot plan your honeymoon to your favourite destination within the budget, you can wait for off-season travel deals. Or you could have a UK honeymoon that costs way less an start saving for your dream trip.

Add a special touch

Assign a small portion of your wedding budget for an extra special touch to the big day. You could splurge on fireworks or a photobooth for the guests.

Take a hard look at your finances and keep track of your wedding spending.

Whether you want to ask your parents or family to help with the expenses or not is your choice, but we did notice that parents seemed more inclined to help when the budget was limited and fixed. However, there will always be exceptions.

Keep a firm eye on the extra expenses (no matter how small they are) and set aside a separate amount for emergency expenses (in case you can’t avoid a particular cost). As for the rest, hold the purse strings close and think with your brain.


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