Written by Martin Neeves
In bygone years a wedding used to be a simple affair that just involved a ceremony at the church and a simple celebration. The dress would have been made by the bride or be her “Sunday Best”. The groom would have put his best suit (best “bib and tucker”, whistle and flute” etc). Now many weddings have become major social functions and the expectation of modern brides and grooms has grown immensely. This can fill both the happy couple and the family with worry. There can be great social pressures to have that “wedding to remember”, or we must not look shabby against our social peers.
The problem for many couples and their families is that they have not planned for the happy event. The first thoughts that a wedding is imminent can often be the engagement. Tradition has it in the UK that the Bride’s parents pay for the wedding, and often the Groom’s family will also help. Increasing numbers of couples are footing the bill themselves, but often with no idea of the costs involved.
After attending hundreds of weddings as the photographer, I am amazed at the costs involved, but am sure that many couples do not understand it- until the final bill comes. Also, many go into the project with planning that equates to “on the back of a fag packet” and get surprised by the final costs. It can end up being a bit like another student loan!
This article tries to give an idea of the highlight the potential costs and provides you with a complimentary spreadsheet to help you budget and plan for the happy day.
The possible costs
The BBC reported approximately 250,000 couples got married in 2014 and that the average wedding will cost £21,000. But that hides the number of weddings that cost a lot less than this (and some that cost a heck of a lot more). Now there may be savings to be made, or perhaps compromises.
The Dress. For instance it is possible to buy a good quality second hand dress for just £100 or sometimes less. But you could pay £4,000 or more for a top designer dress; there are many options in between those 2 margins.
The Wedding Venue. The cost of a venue varies dramatically as well. A big venue might cost up to £6,000. Even a church now has a legal fee for marrying in a church, in 2015 that is £486 (Fees page of the Church of England website www.churchofengland.org/weddings-baptisms-funerals/fees.aspx):
Publication of banns - £28, Certificate of banns, if required - £13, Marriage service - £413, Marriage certificate, at registration, if required - £4. This basic is the legal fee and will include the cost of the Vicar, the church, calling your banns, the marriage certificate, lighting and all administration. You should note that there are likely to be optional extras, over and above this fee for items like a verger, heating the church, having an organist, bells, choir or flowers.
Reception venue: This may be included in the wedding venue costs, but can vary from £150 for a Village hall to £6,000.
Catering: This may be included in a venue cost, but may need to be added if you are using something like a church hall or marquee in the garden. This can vary from £5 per head to one venue I have seen charging £149 per head. The average seems to be around £50 per head. There are a variety of options for managing the costs, like finger buffet etc.
Photography/Video: This is an area where people often have sharp intake of breath. It is difficult to give a ball park figure but a photographer charging less then £1,400 for a basic photo set is likely to be new to the marketplace or one of the budget photographers or weekend warriors (those having a weekday job not related to photography) who are not true professional photographers. They are often then ones you hear the horror tales about; so bank on at least £1,400 for all-day files-only coverage. Albums would be extra.
My FREE gift to you – the wedding budget spreadsheet.
Please click here to download our complimentary Wedding Budget Spreadsheet to help you plan ahead.
If you want to use a wedding photographer who is going to charge realistic prices and deliver some great images for you, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.