28 Nov 2018

How to save for a wedding

Your big day can come with a big price tag – the average UK couple spends £32,273 on a wedding. But planning ahead can help you save up and cut costs. Follow these three steps to help you afford the wedding you want.

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Step 1: Estimate your expenses
Step 2: Consider cutting costs
Step 3: Start a saving strategy

Illustration of a book

Step 1: Estimate your expenses

Having a wedding budget will help you set saving goals and ensure your spending doesn’t spiral out of control.

Start off by listing all the costs you’ll need to cover. You can get an idea of how much things are by doing online research and asking for quotes from wedding suppliers. Don’t forget, it’s always worth haggling a bit!

No idea where to start? Here are some average wedding costs according to a recent survey by Hitched:

  • Venue hire – £5,221
  • Honeymoon – £4,545
  • Food – £4,151
  • Engagement ring – £2,657
  • Drink – £1,739
  • Wedding outfit – £1,321
  • Photography – £1,166
  • Entertainment/music – £1,014

You may want to look into a few options for each item – this can help you adjust your wedding plan until the budget is realistic.

The sooner you start researching, the more options you’ll have. Things like venues, photographers and bands are often booked more than a year ahead of the wedding date.

Step 2: Consider cutting costs

Can’t afford your perfect wedding? Don’t worry – with unconventional ceremonies and DIY receptions becoming increasingly common, there are plenty of ways to get creative and save money at the same time. Here are five of our favourites:

Pick an off-season wedding date

May to October is when most couples get married, with July and August being the most popular months. As a result, prices tend to skyrocket during this period. So, getting hitched in the colder months could help you get your dream wedding for less. Why not embrace the season and go for a Christmas theme?

Avoid the ‘W’ word

Why is it that sticking the word ‘wedding’ in product’s name makes it twice as expensive? Whatever the reason, you may save money by going for similar products that aren’t marketed towards brides and grooms to-be.

Pick an unregistered venue

In a similar vein to avoiding ‘wedding’ products, why not consider a non-wedding venue? This might be a town hall or even your garden – and you could use the space for both the ceremony and reception. Just be aware, you can’t officially marry at a location that isn’t registered for weddings. But you can always sign the paperwork at a registry office afterwards, which may cost as little as £120.

Enlist family and friends

You may be able to reduce stress and costs by asking your loved ones to help out. It’s best to give them tasks that match their strengths. Know a great baker? Ask them to make your wedding cake. Have a ‘Monica’ in your life? Perhaps they could be your wedding planner. Don’t forget to provide clear instructions and thank them with a gift or a mention in your speech.

Dress for less

Love a charity shop bargain? Then why not purchase your wedding dress, suit or outfit second-hand? You could always get it tailored for a bit extra. Otherwise, consider buying from a sample sale or a high-street store. Even ASOS sells bridal wear and wedding suits!

Step 3: Start a saving strategy

Now you’ve got an idea of your wedding budget, it’s time to do a reality check: how much can you put away and how fast?

Start by reviewing your monthly income and spending. What’s left over at the end of the month? Can you increase this by changing your habits or finding extra income? Remember to take into account any one-off costs or payments that are coming up, like car insurance renewal or a Christmas bonus. Be realistic too – don’t try and live off noodles for 18 months.

Once you’ve worked out what you can put away each month, decide when you need to purchase each item for the wedding. Remember, some suppliers will let you pay in instalments and many require an initial deposit.

If your saving schedule is longer than you’re prepared to wait, you may want to revisit steps one and two again.

Ultimately, you should end up with a clear budget and a series of achievable, time-specific targets. Consider setting up a direct debit to your savings account or scheduling payments into a Pot – this can help you avoid spending money you should be saving.

Make sure you’re putting your money in the right type of savings account too. You may want something with easy access, so you can withdraw money for purchases anytime without being charged.


Why not share your own money tips for getting hitched on the community forum? Next, you might want to learn about sharing finances with your partner.

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