Wedding Budget Breakdown | Essential Checklist & Allocation

average wedding budget breakdown

Having a simple wedding budget breakdown you can use as a checklist when planning your wedding can be a lifesaver to make sure you don’t forget anything and have any unexpected surprises.

Knowing how much you should spend on your wedding is definitely subjective as everyone has differing preferences of what makes a perfect wedding. Although having a general idea of how much each element of a wedding costs can be an excellent way to get a ballpark figure to help with estimating the total budget and choosing suppliers.

The average cost of a UK wedding is around £25,000, which definitely does sound like a lot, however can quickly be spent if you’re not carefully making the most of it.

In this post you’ll be able to see a simple table that can give you a snapshot of an average wedding budget, then go through each element, highlighting things to watch out for and ways to get the best value for money.

Wedding Budget BreakdownCost Estimate
Wedding Venue£6,000
Photography & Videography£2,000
Wedding Cars£400
Wedding Flowers£750
Room Dressing & Furniture Hire£750
Wedding Cake£500
Entertainment & Music£1,000
Wedding Dress£2,500
Bridesmaid Dresses£300
Groom’s Party Attire£1,000
Beauty – Hair & Make-up£500
Wedding Stationary£500
Registrar & Religious Venue£400
Wedding Favours£600
Wedding Rings£1,000
Risk & Contingency Budget£1,250
Total Wedding Budget£24,775

Wedding Venue


Your wedding venue is definitely one of the most important aspects of your wedding planning as it affects every part of your big day. Being willing to spend more here can make a big difference, especially if you can cut spending elsewhere.

Also to note, a lot of wedding venues can provide additional extras at no extra charge which can help offset costs you were planning to spend. This can be anything from a DJ and dance floor to room dressing and should be factored in when comparing the price of venues.


£5,000 (varies on number of guests and requirements)

I’ve split catering out into it’s own section, although depending on the venue they may offer the catering included within the package.

When negotiating with the caterers and the venue to get the best price, try and think of things that would make your day even more special and be a minimal cost to them. Then when they’ve gone as low as they can on price, adding in these extras can improve your overall value for money.

For example, adding an extra round of welcome drinks or an extra canapé at half price will reduce the average price and give your guests a little bit extra. You may end up paying more, however the value you get will increase.

Another way to save on catering is to reduce the evening food option. Depending on when you have your wedding breakfast, if it’s later in the afternoon, your guests aren’t going to then want another full meal a few hours later so it’s just going to get wasted. Instead consider having a lighter meal such as finger food that people can quickly grab if they’re hungry.

Photography & Videography

£2,000 (if you have both)

Arguably this could be split into two sections, however with the way the market is moving in this space a lot of companies work in a small team of 2-3 people. They’ll then split the responsibilities to make sure they capture your perfect moments in both photo and video.

Possibly controversial, however in my opinion whilst a video may be an amazing way to capture your day and regularly watch in the months after your wedding, are you really going to watch a 15 to 20 minute video on a regular basis?

Instead if you just get a photographer, possibly a better one that just focuses on photography, that can capture a few key moments, these are the ones that you’re going to have up on your wall forever. Then only having 1 person delivering one product will help reduce costs quite considerably.

Wedding Cars


From sports cars to luxury classic cars, everyone will have their own preference for their special day and aspects like how far your ceremony is from your accommodation and reception will also play a key role.

If you know someone with a good car, they may let you borrow it for your big day. I’m sure they’ll be flattered and you’ll also save a decent amount of money.

Wedding Flowers


Trying to work out how much wedding flowers cost can be difficult. As with many things for a wedding you can go extravagant and spent an absolute fortune, or keep it simple and keep costs low.

Flowers can definitely add that wow factor to a room, although opting for a mix of plastic and real flowers can help save quite a lot of money here. If you are wanting to put flowers somewhere high and out of reach, such as on the top of doorways or behind the altar, these pay be the perfect place to utilise plastic flowers.

You’ll be surprised how good plastic flowers can look, I know I was!

Room Dressing & Furniture Hire


Once the flowers are taken care of, you still have to consider the other aspects of the room. This can be everything from hiring the tables and chairs to making the table centerpieces.

The more you can DIY here the better savings you’ll get. Hiring in a professional to dress your wedding will cost a fortune, however if you know what you want, slowly acquiring the items you need in shops and online can add up to some quite decent savings.

Wedding Cake


The wedding cake is definitely a memorable part of your day. The amount of tiers you want will have an impact on price, which will mainly be driven by how many guests you have at your wedding.

Entertainment & Music


When choosing the entertainment for your wedding, there’s definitely many options. Do you want live music? Do you want something more traditional, like a string quartet?

Live music is obviously going to be more expensive, however having a mix could be the right balance. Some venues may also offer some entertainment for free such as a DJ.

Wedding Dress


Wedding dresses are such an important part of the whole experience and making sure the bride feels amazing is worth every penny.

When choosing wedding dresses, just make sure you factor in any alteration costs. These can quickly add up and may mean buying a more expensive dress to start with that comes with free alterations could end up being the cheaper option or possibly even get you the dress you prefer.

You’ve also got to include buying a veil, shawl and any other accessories.



To complete the look after spending all that money on a dress you’ll want some fantastic shoes to match. However, just remember to factor in that you’ll be on your feet most of the day and need to be able to dance.

If you already have some great shoes that will work, then that could be an easy saving. Although if not and you need to buy some more, you will be able to keep them for future occasions.

Bridesmaid Dresses

£150 (each)

Making sure your bridesmaids look amazing will enhance your wedding photos and make sure they’re full on board with your magical day.

Asking your bridesmaids to pay for their own dress could be an option to save money here, also how many bridesmaids you have will play an import part.

Groom’s Party Attire


This element is often forgotten about, although making sure the groom and their party look their part on the day is definitely essential.

Opting to rent various parts could save a decent amount of money here instead of having to buy new suits and shoes for everyone. Remember you all don’t have to match exactly, just making sure to have a common theme.

Beauty – Hair & Make-up


Looking absolutely stunning on their wedding day is the dream of any bride to be, so having a professional on hand can make all the difference.

With various trials and then for the actual big day can mean the costs can quickly stack up. You may also want to include some of your wedding party, which can be a nice way to start your day together.

Wedding Stationary


The section on wedding stationary is to cover elements such as your save-the-dates, invitations and place cards.

The total figure can vary quite widely depending on what you choose, especially because every small increase in cost per item is multiplied by the size of your guestlist. opting for a more simple or even DIY approach here can save you quite a significant sum.

Even things like choosing a more bulky save the date such as a fridge magnet can cost a fortune in postage fees alone!

Registrar & Religious Venue


Whether you’re having a religious wedding or not, you’ll need to factor in fees for the formal process of actually being united by the registrar. Usually religious venues like churches and synagogues ask for a donation of a few hundred pounds to cover the ceremony.

Wedding Favours


These little gifts for your guests can give them something to take away to remember your magical day. This can be something as simple as a little box of chocolates or possibly something more elaborate such as a

In my view, wedding favours are quite an expensive element that doesn’t really add much value. At £5 to £8 at least per guest, for usually a customised item with the happy couples names on, can add up quite rapidly.

Not having any wedding favours can be a simple way to save money and possibly allow you to spend more elsewhere on something you value more.

Wedding Rings


The lasting symbol of your wedding, your wedding bands need to be considered in your overall wedding budget. The price here can vary depending on what metal you choose, whether you go with the traditional gold (including white gold) or platinum.

Platinum wedding bands are typically more expensive than gold. Also if you opt for a white gold wedding ring, you’ll also need to get it dipped every few years This dipping process will cost around £40, although will make you ring shine like new which is great!



An often overlooked part of the budget, albeit at a small cost relative to the overall day is insurance.

If you want any help, this post I’ve written on how to choose the best wedding insurance for you may be useful.

Risk & Contingency Budget

5% – £1,250

Possibly from my years in finance, however I would strongly recommend factoring in a level of risk or contingency into your budget of at least 5% of the total estimate. This will then help cover if something costs more that expected or whist looking at different venues or suppliers you find something that’s a perfect but very expensive.

For example, it could be falling in love with a specific wedding dress that’s over budget or wanting to stretching to a slightly more expensive venue. Treating yourself to something you want is definitely part of the day, and if it means your day might costs an extra 5-10%, if it’s going to make you day significantly better and more memorable, that’s what you’ll remember.

Gifts Received

I haven’t added this into the total wedding budget as in my view should be considered as an unexpected happy bonus, although a lot of guests that come to your wedding will get you a gift.

Nowadays a lot of gifts are money. Traditionally gifts used to be used to prepare the new happy couple to move into a house together, so a lot of gifts revolved around buying household items like cutlery sets and pans.

Although now a lot of people that get married have lived with their significant other for quite some time so already have a lot of these items. These monetary gifts can add up to quite a sizeable sum, often a few thousand.

This money can help offset what you’ve spent for your wedding or be put towards the next expense, usually your honeymoon.

Summary – Wedding Budget Breakdown

Overall, as long as you plan for your wedding and consider all the aspects that will make your perfect day come to life, you’ll be able to make sure you don’t have any unexpected surprises.

Knowing in advance how much elements usually costs is a good start and also having insurance in place if anything were to go significantly wrong will hopefully give you peace of mind that you’re on the right track.

I hope this post has helped give you a good insight into what expenses to expect for your wedding, good luck and I’m sure you’ll have an amazing day!