We Breakdown the Wedding Budget to Help You Set Your Wedding Budget

Discover the average wedding budgets in the UK and how to plan your wedding budget for your dream wedding. Read our guide for budgeting tips for your wedding day.
Amabel Polglase
February 12, 2023
min read

In the UK, the average wedding cost is £18,400. So, creating a wedding budget is important to ensure you don’t overspend when planning your big day.

Of course, the earlier you start saving for your wedding, the easier it will be to meet all the costs associated with the wedding. And given the number of things you need to think about, it’s important to plan well ahead of time.

This article ensures you’ll have all bases covered ahead of your wedding, breaking down the standard wedding budget and offering an insight into the prices typically associated with each aspect of your special day.

Typical Breakdown of a Wedding Budget

The typical wedding budget list consists of the following:

·   Venue and catering

·   Photography

·   Décor

·   Flowers

·   Clothing

·   Stationery

·   Favours

·   Cake

·   Music/entertainment

·   Unexpected costs

Read on for more detail on this wedding budget list and get some valuable information to help you plan for your big day without financial difficulties.

Venue and Catering | 40% of the Budget

You won’t be surprised to learn that the venue and catering cost is the largest segment of most wedding budgets, requiring approximately 40% of the overall cost of the celebrations.

Some venues offer wedding deals as packages, while others break down the cost of your big day into segments, depending on what you wish to include. Typically, you can expect to pay the following:

·   Rental cost for the venue - the average cost of a venue hire was £7,600 in 2021, which we expect to have further increased with inflation. Remember, you can access significant cost savings if you host your wedding out of season or during the week.

·   Catering services - catering is usually charged per guest and largely depends on the type of food and drinks as well as the style of service (buffet or a sit-down meal) you are looking to have on the day. As an approximate, the wedding specialist BrideBook has advised on a catering budget of £3,100 for 100 guests. Whilst another source advises on £65 per head, so make sure you get some quotes early on to allocate enough wedding budget to caterign.·   Other costs – you also need to factor in the price of staff, tables, chairs, cutlery, and other equipment, although many venues incorporate this into the package cost of the day.

Tips - consider if you’d like to leave a tip for your caterers and waiters and plan for it in advance.

Photography | 15% of the Budget

Hiring a photographer is one of the highest costs in your breakdown of a wedding budget, as you want to have photos and video footage that you can keep forever.

While the cost of photography varies considerably, you can expect to pay approximately £1,200 for a standard wedding package. This includes the photographer’s time, travel, prints, albums, and video footage of the day.

Remember that you must also cater to the photographer’s food on your wedding day.

Décor | 10% of the Budget

The cost of your wedding décor depends on what you have in mind for your wedding day celebrations. However, you should allocate approximately 10% of your budget to account for the following:

·   Centrepieces

·   Bouquets

·   Boutonnieres

·   Ceremony décor

·   Reception décor

·   Table linens

·   Chair covers

·   Backdrops

·   Lighting

A great way to save money on the cost of your wedding is to make some of the decorations yourself, particularly your centrepieces. You can get creative with your wedding décor and personalise it to ensure that it is unique to your special day.

Flowers | 10% of the Budget

Flowers are a hugely important part of your wedding day celebrations and feature prominently throughout.

You can partner with a local florist to arrange the flowers, and it’s helpful to allocate approximately 10% of your budget for the different floral arrangements you’ll need. It’s up to you what flowers to order, but you will need to plan for the following:

·   Bride’s bouquet

·   Groom’s boutonniere

·   Bridesmaids’ bouquets

·   Groomsmen’s boutonnieres

·   Corsages

·   Centrepieces

·   Flowers for the ceremony

Clothing | 5% of the Budget

Although you can certainly buy clothing ahead of your wedding day, hiring wedding clothing is the best way to save money if you’re trying to plan your wedding on a tight budget.

Most wedding dresses cost between £900 to £3000, which is the biggest cost associated with buying wedding clothes.

But you should also set aside between £500 and £1,000 for the groom’s tuxedo, the groomsmen’s suits, the flower girl’s dress, and your bridesmaids’ dresses. Again, opt to hire your wedding clothing if money's tight, and you can cut the clothing budget in half.

Stationery | 3% of the Budget

You need to plan wedding stationery well in advance, and there are many ways to go about it.

You can create it yourself with the help of an online platform like Canva, or you can hire a professional wedding stationer to help you.

Whichever you decide, you need to cater for save the dates, invitations, RSVP cards, address labels, thank you cards, postage, and table cards. If you opt for DIY designs, you must factor in the cost of printing your wedding stationery at home.

Favours | 2% of the Budget

Wedding favours are gifts that you offer to your wedding guests as a way of thanking them for attending your wedding.

You might offer some delicious chocolate or a small memento of the day for your guests to take home with them. You will need to consider how to present your favours and whether wrapping is required.

The key thing to remember with favours is that it’s the thought that counts – you don’t need to blow your budget with super expensive gifts for your guests.

Cake | 2% of the Budget

It’s a centrepiece of the day, but you can design your cake any way you please, assuming around 2% of your budget to cover the cost. You’ll need to consider the cost of the cake itself and how much it costs to deliver to your venue.

Music/entertainment | 10% of the Budget

Some venues include music as part of their wedding package fees, but if you want to hire a band or a live DJ, you will need to add this to your breakdown of a wedding budget.

Music and entertainment costs vary significantly and depend on what you and your partner are looking for. But expect to pay £500+ for a live musician to entertain your guests during the wedding reception.

Unexpected costs | 2% of the Budget

When creating a wedding budget, you should keep some money aside to cover unexpected costs. Some aspects of your day might go over budget, and you may even need to replace a supplier at the last minute, so once you’ve settled on your budget, set about 2% aside to serve as a backup fund for any unexpected costs.

How to Set a Wedding Budget in the UK

Budgeting for a wedding can be tricky due to the number of expenses you need to consider, but it’s certainly not impossible. You can follow these simple steps to help you create a detailed wedding budget that you can then stick to throughout the process of planning for your big day:

Decide who is paying for what

There are likely to be several people involved in your wedding finances, so deciding who will pay for what is an important first step.

Include your parents, partner, and anyone involved in the wedding in an initial meeting to agree on who is paying for what. 

Work out how much you have to spend

During your initial meeting about your wedding costs, you should also determine how much money you must spend.

It’s important to settle on a figure from the start instead of working out the costs as you go. Arriving at a figure and then sticking to it will ensure you don’t overspend. Be honest with your partner on how much money you are willing to spend, without sacrificing other financial goals. If you need to some pointers to discuss your wedding budget, read our guide on how to talk about money with your partner without conflict.

Make a list of what you need to pay for

It’s now time to make a wedding budget list. You can use this article as a guide when contacting suppliers to enquire about their prices.

Work out how much you can save up

It’s best to plan a wedding 12-24 months before the big day. Not only does this give you time to prepare all the arrangements, but it also ensures that you and your partner have sufficient time to save up to cover the costs associated with your wedding day. Make sure to check out our rewards page for discounts on travel, food and more for your big day.

Decide what is important to you

Given the expenses you need to consider ahead of your wedding day, it’s important first to decide what’s important to you and your partner. For instance, if you only want a DJ and aren’t bothered about a live band, you can save a fair amount of money for entertainment.

Apply this logic to all aspects of your wedding planning to create the perfect day for you both.

Make a budget plan

After working through the above steps, all that’s left is to create a budget. Decide on the best format and share it with everyone involved in the wedding planning process. You can then work through it as you pay for the various costs associated with your special day.

Stick to your budget

With your budget in place, all that’s left to say is that you need to stick to it! We understand that it’s tempting to splash out ahead of your wedding day, but you must remember that you have made a budget for a reason, and overspending will cause stress.

So, ensure you and your partner are disciplined and constantly refer to your budget before committing to any expense.


Planning a wedding can be stressful, but working through your budget methodically and sticking to it throughout the planning process will make a huge difference. You can use the HyperJar pre-paid card and our dedicated savings jars to help you breakdown a wedding budget, ensuring that you don’t overspend as you prepare for your big day.

Amabel Polglase

Chief Marketing Officer

Amabel has diverse experience in business, marketing and entrepreneurship, including founding her own successful startup. She served in several senior leadership roles prior to joining HyperJar including Zilch and Curve Card where she led brand, marketing and communications. Before joining the fintech revolution, Amabel was a managing global client partner at Facebook and prior to that at McCann-Erickson, the world’s largest ad network. She volunteers at Girls Out Loud, a charity created to empower and inspire teenage girls, and is also a mentor at The Girls’ Network. She received her MA in history and international relations from the University of St Andrews.

Download the app today!

Download now