That UK average cost? It's all lies
As a bride-to-be, I read ALL the wedding magazines, including those little guides that tell you the average cost of a UK wedding is £25,000. Now, having done the deed, I call BS.
Sorry guys, but unless you’re having a reception in your back yard (which in London is basically as big as a tissue box), or have a guest list of 10, then there’s just no way you can stick to that budget. £25k? Try £30k. At least.
First off, let me give you a bit of context. We didn’t have a big lavish wedding, though it was beautiful, we didn’t have anything extravagant like crystal chandeliers or horse drawn carriages.
We got married in a country house in Surrey, and had about 100 guests, which I think is pretty average, judging by every other wedding I’ve been to. Now it’s worth knowing that Surrey is one of the most expensive counties to get married in, so we admittedly didn’t choose the cheapest option.
But we did save costs where we could. We were very lucky because friends did the stationery, DJ-ing and photography for free. My sister made the cake, and my parents brought the booze over from France as it’s much cheaper.
Bridesmaids dresses and usher suits were bought on the high street with discount vouchers, and we haggled on everything.
Still, we ended up spending over £30,000, and if we hadn’t had very kind and helpful friends, it would’ve been more like £35k. Which equals to a deposit on a small house somewhere. But let’s not dwell on that.
This isn’t a pity party though, I know full well no one forced us to have a big wedding. This is simply something to give other brides-to-be a little bit of guidance, so it’ll hopefully be a bit less of a shock when you sign those cheques.
Venue hire £5,500 Registrar £600 Five bridesmaids dresses £350 Usher suits £200 Food £8,500 Cake £100 Alcohol £2,500 Flowers £1,300 Decorations £200 Videographer £900 Car hire £500 Rings £640 Groom suit £1,160 Wedding dress, veil & shoes £2,500 Hair & make-up £685 Wedding insurance £80 Entertainment £700 Honeymoon £4,500
Grand total: £30,915
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Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.
Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).
Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at MoneySavingExpert.com, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.
However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.
Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.