That's the average cost of a wedding in the UK in 2019. Yes, really - according to hitched.co.uk. And it's gone down by £299 from 2018!
More realistically, Hello! magazine has suggested that around £17,000 is the actual norm, going up to just over £24,000 in London so no need to panic just yet. So what are people actually spending their budget on? I've googled a couple of websites to get an idea of current trends and together with what I know of the industry, I'll hopefully be able to advise on ways that you can reduce the amount you spend.
Brides and grooms are more concerned than ever with the need for a fabulous venue and they tend to spend the most on food and drink. The cake alone can cost between £200 - £300. Couples are now having an open bar which adds dramatically to the cost. Personalisation is also big business for suppliers with couples wanting to do things their own way - whether that's having alpacas roaming around among your guests to arriving by helicopter. Having something different and Instagram worthy has definitely increased in popularity over the last few years.
So, if you're working to a budget - how do you still get your dream wedding but make sure that you're not still paying for it 5 years down the line? Here are my top tips for making sure that you don't compromise on having the perfect day and can still afford a cup of coffee when you get back from honeymoon.
Holding your wedding ceremony at the venue where you're hosting your wedding reception is very popular and can save immensely on cost. Check with local venues if they have wedding packages - most places will have put together a package for a certain amount of guests for a sit down meal and a later reception for more guests. It's worth shopping around as you can save quite a bit of money doing it this way and then adding to the cost, if needed, by inviting more guests or having an alternative DJ to the one the hotel provide.
The added bonus of having the venue host the ceremony and reception is the saving that you would make on transport costs. By all means arrive in style in a beautiful car but having everything in the same place will mean that you don't have to worry about how you're going to get from the church/registry office to the venue.
Also, think about having your wedding later in the day and instead of having a sit down meal - why not go for a buffet or the new trend of grazing platters? I got married at 4pm and after the photographs at the church - we all went to our chosen venue for arrival drinks and a beautiful buffet. It meant that I had a very chilled morning to get ready, our photographer took some lovely photos of me, my bridesmaids and my mum at the house before we left for the church and everyone we knew came to see us get married and helped us celebrate afterwards. No-one was left out and we didn't have to decide who was 'important' enough to come to the wedding breakfast and who we would just invite to the evening 'do'. As an added thought - I also made my own veil, wrap, bought my shoes and gloves from BHS and 'borrowed' my jewellery.
Tap into the talents of your friends and family - if someone in your family is a baker - ask them about a cake. If they aren't comfortable making a full on 7 tier wedding cake complete with miniature figures of the bride and groom, then ask about just one cake and individual cupcakes for your guests. These can also be given instead of wedding favours in a lovely little box with an added note thanking them for helping you celebrate.
Having fresh flowers at your wedding creates a wonderful sense of occasion - not to mention the scent that comes off them! However, having beautiful blooms everywhere can cost a fortune. There are a few ways that you can save money though. Any florist will be able to advise you on which flowers will be in season over the period of your wedding. These will obviously be cheaper than imported orchids from Thailand - for example. Bigger flowers mean you will need fewer in your display or bouquet and that means less money. Choose flowers that are cheaper in general - a bouquet of gypsophilia for your bridesmaids bound with pretty ribbon can look just as beautiful as an ornate bunch of roses or peonies. Current trends for flower arrangements incorporate pampas grass and woody stems rather than trailing blooms and having a few tall displays at focal points throughout the room means that you can have smaller displays on your tables.
Set your budget and open a separate bank account. Either deposit a lump sum or pay a certain amount into it each month and this way you can keep track of your wedding finances. Another good way of getting stuff for free is to apply for a credit card with benefits. There are cards out there that give loyalty points for whatever you spend and then these points can be used to buy other things or just enable you to treat yourselves after the wedding. A friend of mine used her loyalty points to buy wine to use at her wedding reception in a marquee at her parents house.
Bridebook.co.uk has a fantastic directory that you can search for various suppliers in your area and it's definitely worth checking out moneysavingexpert.com as well. Believe it or not - they have some fantastic advice on rings, venues, food and honeymoon locations!
Whatever your budget, the most important thing is that you are marrying the love of your life. If you can go all out on a spectacular wedding on a 100ft yacht and fly all your guests to the Caribbean - that's wonderful. If you want to marry at your local family church and invite 30 of your closest friends and family - that's wonderful too. However way you want to celebrate your wedding - make sure that you enjoy your day, look around at how happy your friends and family are and remember that it's not the end of the world if you can't afford to release the two doves that would only create a mess on Uncle John's morning suit anyway.