Average Cost of a Wedding in the UK

Let your wedding be the joyful (even relaxed!) event you imagine it should be. Regardless of who is paying for it or how much you'll spend, planning a wedding will be much less stressful if you decide on and stick to a budget. Understanding the typical budget items, as well as ranges for these costs, is a great starting point. Once you have a budget in mind you can actually enjoy picking and paying for your dress, flowers, venue, rings, etc. for this special day - so long as you stay in that budget!

Average Cost of a Wedding in the UK

An "average" wedding in the UK costs around £20,000. However, the concept of an "average" wedding cost is a bit misleading - you can get married for as little as £50 at a register office (i.e., £46 for the ceremony and £4 for the marriage or civil partnership certificate) or spend hundreds of thousands of pounds for an extravagant, luxury affair. To help guide your wedding budget, we've researched the market and determined a lower range, median and upper range for the usual wedding costs. Most weddings will fall near the median numbers. Use these numbers as a guide as you start planning for your big day.

Wedding CostsLower RangeMedianUpper Range
Wedding & Reception Venue£500£4,500£10,000
Photography and/or video£500£1,500£4,000
Wedding rings£150£500£1,000
Attendant's outfits£0£250£400
Groom's suit£50£250£400
Mother-of-the-bride outfit£0£200£400
Hair and makeup£80£200£400
Headdress and/or veil£30£150£250
Other wedding jewelry£40£125£300
Ceremony fees£50£200£500


Average Wedding Dress Cost

Feeling beautiful in your wedding dress does wonders on the big day. Get the dress right, and you'll glow and float your way down the aisle to your beaming husband-to-be. In the interest of finding a dress you absolutely love and is within budget, we have two tips.

  • Don't try on a dress that is outside of your budget. We all have a slight tendency to think products that cost more are better - try on an expensive dress and you may think it's just perfect, even if it's not. Then this less-than-ideal dress (in terms of budget and look) may stick in the back of your mind, nagging at you, making it harder to spot "your dress."
  • Don't impulse buy. Like with all retail shopping, leave the decision for a night. See if you wake up the next morning still dreaming about how you'll look in it. Once the shopping adrenalin has worn off, you may remember that you hate strapless dresses!

That in mind, how much will you pay for your wedding dress? While a thrifty bride to be can find plenty of dresses around the £200 mark, a bespoke, designer dress can cost thousands. In the table below, you can see an estimated range for wedding dress costs.

Average Wedding Dress Prices

TypeLow PriceHigh PriceAverage Price
Gently Used (e.g., from ebay, gumtree or preloved)£25£7,000£200
High Street/Online (e.g., ASOS, John Lewis, Monsoon)£95£650£325

Average Wedding Ring Costs

Wedding rings can vary significantly in cost, depending on what retailer you visit, the type of metal, the width/weight of the band and the presence of any diamonds or other details. To give you an idea of how the price changes across these features, we priced wedding bands at Goldsmiths, as illustrated in the following chart.

Chart showing how wedding band prices change by size, metal and stones
How Wedding Band Prices Change by Metal, Size and Stones. Source: Goldsmiths

If you are trying to save money on rings, go for a smaller band width. If you really like the look of a wider band, you can opt for a lower-priced metal, such as silver or white gold instead of platinum.

Average Wedding Ring Costs

Wedding Ring Type3mm Width, Plain Finish5mm Width, Plain FinishWith Pave Diamonds
Sterling Silver£40£60n/a
9ct White, Yellow or Rose Gold£200£380£675
950 Palladium£230£500n/a
18ct White, Yellow or Rose Gold£380£600£1,000

Venue and Catering Costs

Paying for the wedding venue and catering will take the largest portion of most wedding budgets. If you're set on a stately home or a castle, it's not unusual for costs to start at £70 to £150 a head. Depending on the size of your guest list, this budget item can run into the tens of thousands pretty quickly. At the other end of the spectrum, plan an intimate affair in a friend or family's garden and you'll just need a caterer for £35 a head or so.

If you like the idea of a destination wedding, you may find that by getting married abroad can actually save money!

Wedding Ceremony Cost

You can get married for as little as £46 for the ceremony and £4 for the marriage or civil partnership certificate, if you exchange vows at a register office. Of course, you can choose other settings but they will cost more. The table below will give you an idea of some popular ceremony venue costs.

Ceremony Costs
Register Office£50
Church of England - home parish£456
Church of England - outside your parish£497
Other Venues - low end£200
Other Venues - high end£1,000

Paying for your Wedding

Whoever is paying for your wedding should consider carefully how they will cover the bills, so that this joyous life event doesn't become a source of stress. If you have already saved enough funds for your dream day, then be sure to have a rewards credit card in your wallet. You can get cashback, miles or other points every time you spend money for your wedding. A rewards card is not a good idea if you can't pay the full balance back every month, because rewards cards tend to have high interest rates that would quickly wipe out your rewards, and then some.

If you need to borrow money to pay for any wedding expenses, then a 0% purchases card can help you avoid interest charges during the promotional period, while you pay your debt off. Still, try not to borrow more than you can pay back in a year or so. Having a large debt to pay off is no way to start a marriage (money is historically one of the biggest stresses/causes of arguments between couples!). For instance, if you put £8,000 of charges on a purchases card, you'd need to pay the credit card company £667 a month to pay back this debt within your first year. Be sure to plan your budget carefully so that you can comfortably pay for the expenses. Your wedding may be a glorious day, but it is only one day of a hopefully long and happy marriage!


Comments and Questions