The money generated by the wedding industry in the UK is estimated to be around £7bn a year. This year could be a bumper one with the recent royal wedding boosting the market. The wedding of William and Kate cost a great deal more than most, at a figure estimated to be in millions, although comparatively less than the £70m cost of the wedding of Charles and Diana.
The average cost for a wedding in the UK, according to estimates from businesses in the wedding industry, currently seems to range from £11k to £25k. Clearly, anyone trying in any way to emulate the royal couple may find themselves at or above the top of the range! A recommendation across the industry is that having a budget for a wedding is essential if you want to effectively manage your expenditure. A common observation is also that a superb wedding can cost as little as a few hundred pounds or as much as £20,000! Starting with a checklist of needs and wants, a calendar and a commitment to stay within an agreed budget provides a good framework for an exciting and participative pre-wedding planning phase.
‘Cutting your cloth accordingly’ may become a common part of the planning and it may be helpful to have items prioritised as essential or optional/luxury. Allocating the budget to items of expenditure can be done as percentages or as fixed amounts, with an understanding that over-spending in one area is likely to squeeze others. Guard against the excesses encouraged by the emotive appeal of the glossy wedding magazines, wedding fairs and persuasive marketing that every ‘little extra’ is ‘essential’ to make the day ‘extra-special’.
Having and keeping to a theme may help to identify a budget that is easier to control. Relatives may want to buy or contribute to particular parts of the wedding. Bearing in mind that the estimated average cost of a honeymoon is now £4k, a close relative offering to pay for that would make a significant contribution.
Unless you have unlimited funds, what you perceive as an affordable budget needs to be set in the context of life and economics before and after the wedding. This time of financial uncertainty might seem unfair in the fairytale wedding world. However, it is important to remember that the success of celebrating a wedding should be less dependent on the lavishness of the occasion and on the amount of drink and food consumed, and more on the support and feelings that families and friends have for the bride and groom.
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