Weddings are a time for love, laughter, and happily ever afters. However, the cost of a wedding can quickly become a nightmare for couples who are trying to save money for their future together. With the average cost of a UK wedding hitting an eye-watering £18,400, it’s no surprise that many couples are looking for ways to cut costs and save money without sacrificing the magic of their big day.
According to Pepper Money, Brits have taken out loans of £22,267 on average for wedding-related reasons in 2023. The data suggests that as the cost of living puts pressure on savings, couples are instead opting towards seeking financial assistance for weddings with loans or alternative funding sources. Additionally, data from Hitched shows that 11% of couples in 2023 are looking at loans for wedding expenses.
This is in spite of the fact that the average cost of a wedding in the UK in 2023 is less than it was in 2019, dropping from £31,000 to just under £20,000. Recent data suggests that people are spending less on their weddings compared to pre-COVID times. However, this doesn’t mean compromising, as couples are getting creative and making smart choices to trim their budgets.
Changes in Disposable Income and Consumer Spending on Weddings
Disposable income and consumer spending play a crucial role in the cost of weddings in the UK. Disposable income is the money that is available to households after taxes and other expenses have been paid, and it directly affects consumer spending, including weddings. As YouGov’s Financial Outlook 2023 whitepaper has reported, 67% of British consumers state their disposable income has decreased in the last 12 months. This decrease in disposable income and the rise in wedding costs have had an impact on consumer spending, including on weddings.
Whilst the average cost of putting together a wedding has gone up, the average spend by couples has gone down. One trend that has emerged is a move towards more intimate weddings, where the focus is on creating a meaningful and memorable experience rather than spending a large sum of money. According to WedInspire, the majority of couples are looking to invite between 30-75, so we’re certainly set to see more intimate ceremonies and micro celebrations across the next few years. According to Google’s search data “Small Wedding Venues Near Me” – has jumped from by 380%, from 730 average searches per month in 2019 to 3.5K per month in 2023.
The wedding industry is also adapting, with vendors offering more affordable packages and alternative options. For example, some venues are now offering mid-week or off-season discounts to attract more budget-conscious couples. Caterers are also offering more flexible and cost-effective menu options, such as buffet-style or food truck options, whilst florists are offering more sustainable and affordable options, such as potted plants and locally sourced flowers.
2019 vs 2025 Wedding Expenses
The increasing average costs of weddings highlight the importance of budget planning for couples. As wedding expenses continue to rise, it becomes crucial for couples to carefully allocate their resources and consider cost-saving strategies to ensure they can have the wedding they desire without straining their finances.
When it comes to wedding expenses, the venue is often the largest and most significant cost for couples. The research conducted by Nimble Fins reveals that the average cost of a wedding venue in the UK is £7,600, closely followed by Catering (£5,600) and Rings (£4,000). When we take into account how much these wedding expenses have risen since 2019 – we predict that overall wedding costs could hit an average of £31,939 in 2025.
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Cost in 2025
- Flowers: The average cost of flowers in 2023 (£1,050) increased compared to 2019 (£680), indicating a higher expenditure on floral arrangements for weddings.
- Venue: The average cost of the wedding venue in 2023 (£8,400) also saw a significant increase compared to 2019 (£5,406). This suggests that couples may have been willing to spend more on their chosen wedding venues.
- DJ: The average cost for hiring a DJ remained relatively consistent between 2023 (£1,050) and 2019 (£1,005). This indicates that DJ services maintained a similar price range during this period.
- Wedding Dress: The average cost of a wedding dress in 2023 (£1,350) increased slightly compared to 2019 (£1,100). This suggests that individuals were willing to allocate a slightly higher budget for their wedding attire.
- Catering: The average cost of catering in 2023 (£5,600) showed a significant increase compared to 2019 (£3,887). This indicates a higher expenditure on catering services for weddings.
- Photography: The average cost of photography in 2023 (£1,300) increased compared to 2019 (£1,155). This suggests that couples were willing to invest more in capturing their special moments through professional photography services.
- Videography: Similar to photography, the average cost of videography services in 2023 (£1,150) increased compared to 2019 (£968). This indicates a higher willingness to invest in preserving wedding memories through videography.
- Wedding rings: There has been a noticeable increase in the average cost of wedding rings from 2019 to 2023. In 2019, the average cost was £2,419, while in 2023, it rose to £4,000. Couples should be aware of this upward trend and consider it when budgeting for their wedding expenses. It is important to allocate a reasonable amount for the wedding rings and ensure that it aligns with their overall wedding budget. This represents a significant rise in just four years.
The most searched-for wedding expenses are Wedding Rings with over 66,000 searches each month in the UK. Followed by Wedding Dress (32,000), Wedding Flowers (12,000) and Wedding Photography (10,000). This search demand shows that these wedding staples are the most important elements of a couple’s wedding. But with rising costs, where are couples looking to save so that they can afford to go big on the parts most important to them?
Demand For Small Wedding Venues on the Rise
Whilst searches for “Wedding Venue” see an average of 2.7K searches each month, trends are seeing couples look for smaller-scale affairs. According to Google’s search data, “Small Wedding Venues Near Me” – has jumped from 730 average searches per month in 2019 to 3.5K per month in 2023 as couples look for low-key wedding venues. For couples looking to save on their venue costs, more are considering alternative venues such as community halls or local barns. These types of venues can be more affordable than traditional wedding venues, and many are designed to cater to large events like weddings. Additionally, these venues offer a blank canvas that can be transformed into the wedding of your dreams, with the added benefit of customising the space to fit your style and preferences.
Furthermore, some couples are choosing to have their wedding on a weekday or during the off-season to reduce venue costs even further. Low-season winter months of January, March and November often offer couples cheaper rates with many venues and suppliers adding discounts for those looking for a wedding bargain. This can be a great option for couples looking to save money on their venue costs while still having a beautiful and memorable wedding.
Destination Weddings vs UK Weddings
Destination weddings have gained immense popularity among couples who yearn for a distinct and unforgettable way to celebrate their special day. The surge in interest is evident through the upward trend in Google searches, with a remarkable 15% increase in the past month and an impressive 24% rise in the previous year for the term “destination wedding.” Moreover, one of the most compelling advantages of opting for a destination wedding is its considerably lower cost compared to a traditional wedding. Data provided by Money.co.uk revealed that the average expense of a destination wedding is around £11,099, a mere fraction of the cost of a conventional wedding. By having a destination wedding, couples can save money on various wedding expenses, such as venue rental fees, catering costs, and decorations. Many resorts and hotels offer all-inclusive wedding packages that can be tailored to fit any budget. Additionally, couples can choose a location with a favourable exchange rate to reduce costs even further.
However, destination weddings may not be suitable for all couples. It is important to consider the logistics and costs associated with travel and accommodations for both the couple and guests. Additionally, couples should ensure that they are following the necessary legal requirements for getting married in their chosen destination.
Sarah Green, Retail Director at Pepper Money comments, “Weddings have witnessed a significant surge in expenses, putting pressure on couples to find ways to achieve their dream celebration without excessive costs. The cost of weddings have been on the rise since 2019, with an average increase of 34% in 2023. This surge in prices has had a notable impact on couples planning their weddings, as it has resulted in higher overall expenses and potentially required adjustments to budget allocations. However, there is no need to despair, as practical strategies can be employed to curtail expenses while still preserving the beauty and quality of the occasion. By adopting alternative venues, exploring catering options that offer value for money, and adopting a mindful approach to decorations, couples can substantially reduce their wedding budget. Whilst financial options such as homeowner loans could be a financially viable solution to funding the wedding of your dreams when it is harder to save.”
Whilst weddings can be costly, in 2023 couples are finding ways to save money without sacrificing the magic of their special day. With the average UK wedding costing £31,974, couples are getting creative to trim their budgets. Intimate weddings with 30-75 guests have become popular, and there is a growing trend of searching for small wedding venues. The wedding industry is adapting by offering more affordable packages and options, such as second-hand wedding dresses. Couples are also finding ways to cut costs on catering, decorations, and photography services. By exploring alternative venues, catering options, and cost-effective decorations, couples can have a memorable celebration while staying within their budget.