So congratulations, you are engaged, you have hopefully enjoyed a little time together since the big news was announced, you have told your family and friends and you have set your budget!
However, a budget is almost impossible to both set and stick to without knowing the actual cost of a UK wedding. I appreciate this can vary hugely depending on guest list, venue choices etc etc. I would say mine was quite an average wedding in terms of guest list and luxury and so I thought I would share a little of what I learnt re budgeting.
I got lucky with my wedding dress. I didn't really have a budget in mind as my Dad was kindly buying this separately to the wedding budget. Do be warned that high street stores stock dresses from around £5-600 right up to £3-4,000 so if you do have a strict budget don't let them put you in a dress you cannot afford. Obviously designers will be even more!
My dress cost me £806.40! It was a little over £1,000 and after I left the appointment the boutique offered me 20% off if I purchased within one month so I had a mad dash around other stores and couldn't beat the dress so purchased it at a very good price!
My alterations cost £250 and my veil was £140. I also purchased some amazing L. K. Bennett shoes, which came in at £182.50 including the inner soles. Therefore dressing the bride cost a total of £1,378.90
Bridesmaids & Ushers:
We chose four bridesmaids and three ushers for our big day. The bridesmaid dresses were sold to me at 20% off because I had bought my wedding dress from the same store so came in at a total of £672, however, they were a huge let down despite being made to measure and cost a further £290 to alter. They wore their own shoes but the cost was still a total of £962.
Fortunately the boys were not so bad! We hired suits from Austin Reed, which cost £110.50 per person including the groom so the boys, who also wore their own shoes were dressed for a total price of £442.
We chose to buy a cake from Marks and Spencer. A part of me wanted a luxuriously tall, incredible, fancy cake, however, once I realized the price of these structures, which can set you back over £1,000 if you are not careful I decided it wasn't really worth it for that one cutting the cake photo. We spent £229 on a lovely chocolate wedding cake covered in a hard white chocolate casing from Marks. It was three tiers and served 120 guests. There was none left by the end of the evening, I didn't even try a piece myself so it was obviously popular and tasted good!
The only issue with these cakes is you will need to collect them the day before the wedding and you will need someone to assemble. However, they come with instructions and an online video and my Dad managed without any issues.
This is a tough one, as it really is the only part of the wedding you are left with after the big day, so do make sure you give a reasonable amount of the budget to this area. We hired a photographer from 1pm for a 1:30pm ceremony as we decided it wasn't worth the cost for the "getting ready" photo's and chose to take these ourselves. The photographer gave us four hours of coverage so captured all the guest arrivals and ceremony, all of the group shots we asked for, some shots of the two of us, the speeches and cutting the cake. Aside from the first dance everything was captured.
Choosing four hours instead of eight hours meant the photography came in at £750. I appreciate this is a very personal choice and you may well want the evening captured professionally. As a result we chose to have a photo booth for four hours during the evening for slightly more relaxed shots. The costs was £495 and was well worth it. People were queuing to go in and we have some amazing evening memories to look back on.
So photography worked out a total of £1,245
We got lucky with our cars and found an amazing company very close to our venue. As our church and venue were so close together we hired a 1923 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Landaulette for £370. The chauffeur collected my Mum and the bridesmaids for a further £40 and then came back for me, which saved the price of a second car. As my fiance and I couldn't agree on the car the company kindly switched them over during the ceremony at no extra cost so we traveled back as a married couple in a gorgeous open top 1921 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. As a result total transport cost £410.
A lovely friend of a friend who we met at another wedding kindly designed our beautiful wedding stationary. She put hours and hours into perfecting what we wanted and charged a total of £250 for the design. We had day invites and R.S.V.P. cards as well as evening invites and R.S.V.P cards, name places, order of service and thank you cards all mocked up. These were then printed via a friend including envelopes for £200. Eleven months before our big day we also sent out save the date fridge magnets from Not-on-the-High-Street at a total cost of £62.50, however, we didn't send these to everyone as we hadn't finalized our guest list at this point. So stationary cost a total of £512.50 plus postage!
I will blog in due course about our flowers and venue, hair and makeup but I hope this has given you a little insight into what a wedding costs and will enable you to think about what you can afford to be more or less extravagant with or where maybe asking for friends and family help could save you pennies.