Getting the best value out of your wedding budget – first up, how to build a budget

You got engaged! Congratulations! An incredibly exciting time for you both and, of course, for your families. After the initial rush of hugs, kisses and the occasional pop of Champagne corks, it’s time to get down to business and start planning what you both want, when you want it and where you want it to happen. All crucial questions, but there’s one more: how is it all going to be paid for?

A quick online check will provide templates to help you decide what’s important and what isn’t and only when you are confident that you know how you would like your wedding day to look can you start thinking about the financial side of things.

How to create a wedding budget

1. Make a list of absolutely everything that you need/want for your wedding day.

2. Add realistic costs, allowing for inflation, next to each item on the list.

3. Total it up.

4. Count the number of months between now and the big day and divide the total by the months. This is how much needs to be set aside every month, starting this month! 

Wedding wish list budget – based on 50 guests

Item to be paid for

Anticipated cost based on UK average costs in 2024

Wedding venue9000This may be plus food and drink
Church ceremony or Registrar600Essential cost
Marriage Licence35Essential cost
Two simple gold wedding bands400Variable
Bride & Groom outfits (incl alterations) and shoes2500Very variable
Hair and make up including trials700Very variable
Food4000@ £80 per person
Beverages1500@ £30 per person
Cake300Depending on size and layers
Flowers and other room decor500Very variable
Wedding favours and gifts to special people400Variable
Hire of furniture, table linen, crockery, cutlery etc.500Depending on the venue
Confetti70Biodegradable flower petals
Music and other entertainment1500Variable
Overnight accommodation for bride and groom200Possibly at the venue or nearby
Wedding stationery and postage400Variable
Wedding insurance150Varies according to the overall cost of the wedding
GRAND TOTAL£29,655Furniture/tableware hire has been deducted

Based on a wedding date set two years from today the above figures mean that you will need to save about £1235 per month, every month to cover the above costs.

Impossible”, I hear you say, and I agree. £30,000 is a lot of money and could be the deposit on a house, a brand new electric car, financial security for the future or a massive debt around your necks for many years to come.

Time to look at the absolute essentials, a few lovely extras and perhaps deleting a handful of expensive luxuries that you can manage without.

Now revise the original wish list to include the essentials and three or four ‘must haves’. Now, consider the other big ticket items: venue, food and beverage, photographer, videographer, entertainment and honeymoon and look at the figures again.

Wedding budget – revised – based on 50 guests

Item to be paid for

Anticipated adjusted cost£

All inclusive venue hire5000Some venues include food, beverage, some decorations and entertainment in their wedding packages, others don’t.
Church or Register Office service600Essential cost
Marriage licence35Essential cost
Two simple gold wedding bands400Variable
Bride & Groom outfits (incl alterations) and shoes1500Groom – hire or buy off the pegBride – bridal outlet purchase
Hair and make up including trials0DIY or a friend
Cake100M&S two tier naked cake + decoration
Flowers and other room decor30010 x M&S bouquets
Photographer750Five hours from Angela Fitch Photography
Videographer0Complimentary ceremony video from Angela Fitch Photgraphy
Wedding favours and gifts to special people250Forget the wedding favours, nobody will notice!
Confetti0DIY – easy! Check out our blog
Overnight accommodation for the bride and groom200Local hotel or Airbnb
Wedding stationery and postage100Use Canva and DIY print, hand deliver wherever possible
Wedding insurance150Variable according to the cost of the wedding

What a difference and you haven’t changed the date, trimmed the guest list, denied yourselves something nice to wear, settled for cheap wedding rings or changed your honeymoon destination! 

Again, based on a wedding date set for two years hence, your monthly saving commitment has been slashed to £557. Does that sound more realistic?

Maybe a further tweak or two is needed?

Wedding budget for a something a little less complex – based on 50 guests
Item to be paid forAnticipated costNotes
Venue500Choose a nice village hall in a pretty village
Church or Register Office service600Essential cost
Marriage License35Essential cost
Two simple gold wedding bands400Variable
Bride and groom wedding outfits incl. alterations and shoes1500Variable
Hair and makeup0DIY or a friend
Food – for a tasty buffet or hog roast2500Using an outside caterer
Beverages500Prosecco toast, table wine, beer and soft drinks
Transport0Ask a friend or walk if possible
Cake100M&S ‘naked cake’ + decoration
Flowers and room decor100Garden and wild flowers + a few shop bought statement blooms
Photographer500Three hour ‘Essential Package’ from Angela Fitch Photography
Videographer0Complimentary video of your ceremony from Angela Fitch Photography
Wedding favours and gifts to special people200Skip the wedding favours and five to only the mothers & bridesmaids
Confetti0DIY – check out our blog!
Overnight accommodation for the bride and groom200Nice to treat yourselves after the big day!
Wedding stationery and postage0Go digital
Wedding insurance150Still worth the investment
Honeymoon2000Still something nice, but a little cheaper

The above outline, albeit modest will certainly cover everything lovely wedding need but may means a little more hands-on organisation by the bride, groom and perhaps one or two family and friends. The big difference is that the commitment to save is now down to £390 a month. If that’s still a challenge, trimming the guest list by 10 names and taking a UK honeymoon will cut costs by about £1600, taking the total cost to £7,685 and monthly saving commitment to a more manageable £320.

How to make the savings without anyone noticing

The venue

Switching a flashy hotel or castle for something more modest or even a humble village hall may not be what you had in mind, but believe me, it really can work if you choose the right location.  

Not all venues are equal! Photographing a recent wedding at The Hundred House Hotel at Norton, in Shropshire, I found five minutes to check out their wedding package flier and it made a refreshing change to see great value for money. 

This particular venue includes much of what any couple could ask for on their wedding day.  £4,000 covers a three course wedding breakfast for 40 guests, an evening hog roast for 60 guests, chair covers, linens, games for the children, a DJ and an overnight stay in their bridal suite, which comes complete with four poster bed and a swing! 

Speaking as a photographer, your images will look equally beautiful whether you’re sipping Champagne on the battlements of an ancient castle, enjoying Prosecco within the beautiful garden backdrop of a county hotel or strolling hand in hand along narrow, wild flower fringed lanes with a backdrop of Cotswold cottages, the Cornish coastline or the Lake District.

Beautiful backdrop
Stunning Backdrop
Photography Backdrop

Photography and videography

Question: do you actually need your photographer for the entire day? Your photography, along with your wedding rings and your own beautiful memories are the legacy of your wedding day, so it’s crucial that your photography is done well. 

Professional photographers are insured, we know how to cope will all sorts of lighting conditions, we’ll put you at your ease and make helpful suggestions about where to stand, we will give you gentle guidance on what to do with your hands and we have the right camera and lenses to make the most out of whatever happens on the day. 

The alternative to hiring a professional is to ask friends to use their phones or cameras and, whilst you will get some entertaining documentary style shots of people having fun, you can miss out on the hero shots that a professional will spot and be in place as the action unfolds. 

If funding is tight I would strongly recommend that you book a professional for the important part of the day, that’s arrival at the venue, the ceremony and group and portrait photographs afterwards. Your friends can fill in the gaps of bridal preps, the groom’s party having a laugh and a joke before the service and the love and fun of your evening entertainment.

My ‘Essential package’, includes three hours of photography on the day, colour and black and white images save to a memory stick and a back up stick presented with six complimentary fine art prints in a personalised keepsake box for £500. This may sound expensive, but it’s great value and you’ll enjoy your photographs now and for years to come.

Videography is a completely different skill and, with your officiant’s permission, we record the entire ceremony so that you have the exact moment when you got married to keep forever and we do that for free! What’s not to love?

All Angela Fitch Photography wedding packages include your entire collection of portraits, groups and documentary style images in colour and black and white, all supplied on a memory stick and a duplicate collection on a second stick as a back up. You receive your collection, with six complimentary fine art prints, presented in a personalised keepsake box for you to share digitally or in print for personal use as you would like to. 

I’m very much a ‘your day, your way’ photographer, so if you prefer no group shots, or don’t like documentary images, just say the word and I will craft a collection that you will love today and 

cherish forever.

Confetti Shot
Silhouette Shot
Strolling shot

When to get married

The day of the week and the season usually affects venue and catering prices. Summer Saturdays at country castles come in at over £10,000 and that’s just the use of the building, whereas a mid-week country hotel will come in at under half that cost and it’s still a beautiful venue.

Summer is peak season and most venues charge more, although that’s not usually the case with village halls and smaller venues, so switching to spring or autumn can save money. Similarly, weekends, including Fridays, are more expensive than mid-week. Winter is the cheapest time of year to get married in the UK, but with that comes shorter daylight hours, an increased risk of inclement weather and fewer options as marquees can be cold and rural locations may be muddy.

As a photographer, every season has its pros and cons and the uncertain weather patterns experienced in the UK over the past few years mean that we can have a dry, sunny day in November and it may pour with rain in August. Check out our ‘Plan B’ blog so that you’re prepared should the sun not come out to join us on your big day!

Wild Flowers

Where to get married

The geographical location of a wedding can also influence cost. The most expensive places to tie the knot are: London, South East England, North East England, Northern Ireland and Scotland where prices range from £40,000 in London to £31,000 in the North East. 

Choosing a slightly out of the way destination can slash thousands off venue and other essential costs, making a spring wedding on a Wednesday in Worcestershire cost considerably less than a summer Saturday at The Savoy!

Wedding Backdrop

Over the years I’ve photographed weddings in just about every type of venue, all over the UK and on location. My job is to help you create a collection of beautiful photographs of the most amazing day of your life and if any of my money saving ideas help then all the better. Do give me a call on 07585 904636 if you would like to talk some more!

Wedding Venue Backdrop
Backdrop for wedding photography

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *