Photography Articles - Emma Lowe Photography

How Much Does the Average Wedding in the UK Cost?

How Much Does the Average Wedding in the UK Cost?


Wedding costs can vary drastically between couples. Choices now are nearly endless to help you curate your perfect day. It’s difficult to know where to start, but I hope this guide will at least help give you an idea of what costs to expect. 



How many people you want to invite to your wedding can make a world of difference to the cost of your big day. Many more couples are choosing to have smaller, more intimate weddings to cut costs significantly and to ensure their hard earned money only pays for those truly special to them. Many more venues (hotels, barn conversions etc) offer a package price per person which can include food, drink and canapes for your guests. These packages are usually the best deal a venue can offer, but will add up depending on your guestlist length. For a package such as this, you can expect to be spending around £70-£150 per person. This choice does save you the stress of having to find a separate caterer or drinks for your guests as it’s all included in the price of your venue, but again it’s easy for these costs to add up, especially if you choose to add additional menu courses, canapes or drinks for your guests. For a cheaper alternative that suits a smaller gathering, you can expect to pay around £35-50 per head. This would involve hiring a space and caterer separately or having friends and family help prepare food. 



Your wedding dress, suit or outfit is one of the most important parts of your day. Not only because it’ll be the outfit that will be encapsulated in photographs forever, but also because you’ll need it to be comfortable and make you feel good. There are lots of different ways to either splurge on a custom wedding outfit or save money by buying second hand or making your own! Once you’ve chosen a date for your wedding, the next most important step is to decide what your budget is and where you’re planning to spend your money. You will want to decide how much you want to spend on each aspect of your big day. If you choose to buy a wedding dress from brand new, you can expect to spend around £1500. This would include a veil and shoes in some cases. For a tailored wedding suit, you would be looking to spend around £500-£700. 

For a more budget-friendly option, you can often find wedding dresses and suits in charity shops and other second-hand retailers. Alternatively, if you or someone you know can sew, you could create your own outfit.

Don’t forget to also budget for bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl and page boy outfits too if you choose to have them! It is very common for couples to ask their wedding party to contribute towards their outfits for the wedding, as they get to keep them after the fact. 


Location & Venues

Where you choose to have your ceremony and reception can also make up a lot, or a little, of your budget. More and more couples are choosing to have their ceremony in a registry office, where you can become legally married in a nice environment without the costs and then have their reception in a pub, a friends or family member’s house or somewhere equivalent that costs little or nothing to hire. These arrangements work particularly well with a more intimate guest list too, but you may be restricted by what food or drink you can provide, premises capacity and additional visions you may have had such as fireworks. Visiting potential venues for hire is one of the most enjoyable parts of wedding planning. Not only do you often get a free goodie bag and a drink just for turning up; you can also use these opportunities to get ideas and vendor contacts for your own big day too. If you do choose to have your wedding in a hotel or other such wedding venue, make sure to go prepared with an idea of how much you want to spend and also with questions to ask the staff whilst you are there (disabled access, can guests bring their pets etc). For a formal wedding venue hire, you can expect to spend between £3,000-£10,000 just for the venue hire. This price can vary considerably depending on the location of the property, which day of the week you want to get married on and what else may be included in the package offered by the venue. 


Wedding Rings

If you decide to commemorate your wedding with the exchange of rings, you may find looking at prices online or in shops can be very daunting. Designer rings or those which incorporate precious stones can set you back thousands easily. This may be an aspect of your wedding you have decided to spend a significant amount of your budget on, but for those who don’t have that luxury or have chosen to spend their budget elsewhere – there are other options. You may wish to browse local charity shops, second hand retailers or eBay in search of your ideal wedding bands. Very often, you can find older rings with precious stones in them for a lot cheaper this way and you can pay to have them professionally cleaned at the fraction of the cost of a brand new ring. 



To decorate your chosen venue, you may choose to employ a florist to supply and arrange flowers around the space itself, for bouquets and table centres. The cost of your wedding flowers will vary depending on which flowers you would like, the time of year and whether you want real or faux flowers. Renting table centerpiece arrangements that use fake flowers is a good way to save money on outright buying fresh arrangements. Consider, also, that you can purchase fake flowers on the internet for very cheap nowadays and there may be a friend or family member who is a dab hand at arranging them into a foam base or ribbons to create the look you want. As a rough guide, if you’re looking to decorate your venue and reception tables, have a bouquet for the bride and bridesmaids and buttonholes for the groom and his groomsmen, you will be looking at spending no less than £1,000.