How My Wedding Cost £57,000

Paying for a wedding really can break the bank, and expenses may vary by tens of thousands, depending on size, location, and taste. We asked a recent bride to spill the beans – anonymously, of course – on every wedding-related expense, from the dress to the table vases.
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Job: Event planner & blogger. Husband is a professional sportsman.
Age: 29
Location: London
Combined salary as a couple: £250,000

Wedding location: Near Bath, UK

Number of bridesmaids: 6
Number of groomsmen: 2 (best men)
Number of ushers: 3
Flower girl: 1
Page boy: 1

We always wanted to have a party more than a wedding, and I think we created that. We were lucky to have contributing parents, which meant we had more to play with than we first expected. I worked at a party/ wedding venue at the time so my ideas ran away with me and, admittedly, my eyes became bigger than my budget. I was used to working to such tight budgets for people that when it came to my own I wasn’t so strict. We laugh when we say the word 'budget' now, as in fact it just became a list of things and no budget was adhered to at all! But we wouldn’t have changed a thing as we had simply the best day of our lives (even if it cost us the deposit on a house!).

Essentials


Marriage licence: £70
Engagement ring: £12,500
Wedding bands: £1,000

Hen & Stag Parties


My sister planned my hen party in the UK. My husband went to Ibiza.

Hen party: £200 (cost per person)
Stag party: £1,000 (cost per person)

Venue Costs


The hotel is one of our favourite places. We got engaged here and knew then that we wanted to get married here, too. Neither of us is very religious so we had a civil service in the courtyard of the venue – we hired the entire hotel, including all rooms, for two nights. We were only the second wedding to be held there so I think we were lucky on the price. And because we knew the owner, we were able to work around my husband's schedule and hold the wedding in July; usually the venue will only hold weddings from October to May. They even allowed us to have the whole hotel and dining room the night before the wedding for just the cost of the catering and rooms!

Venue hire wedding night (including all 30 bedrooms, wedding breakfast, pizza oven for the evening and half a bottle of wine per person): £25,000
Catering for the night before the wedding: £2,500
Bar tab: £3,000
Cake: £150 (the head chef at the hotel I worked for made this as a favour/ present for us)
Table decorations: £1 scratch card per person: £100
Bottles of café patrón to toast speeches: £200
Two large round tasselled balloons for ceremony: £108
Sax player during canapés: £150
Band: £1,800
DJ: £625
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Flowers


We were lucky that our venue is in the countryside and is very rustic and floral; the wedding breakfast room was filled with potted plants and herbs so we really didn’t need to do too much. Plus I had worked with the florist before, so I got a discount.

Table flowers: £300
Cake flowers: £15
Dried-flower confetti: £50

Bridal bouquet: £95
Bridesmaids' bouquets: £45 each: £225
Flower girl headband: £35
Men: 8 buttonholes at £ 3.95 each: £31.60
Mums: 2 corsages at £7.50 each: £15

Dress & Accessories


I bought my dress off the rack and then took it to an amazing local seamstress to have it altered. I took the sleeves off, added bits, tightened other bits. I loved the process. My husband had his suit tailor-made. My wedding shoes were a gift: Valentino Rockstuds.

Dress: £1,000
Shoes: Gift
Bridal party hair (including trial): £560
Bridal party makeup: £500
Groom’s suit and shoes: £1,050

The groomsmen/ushers wore their own navy suits
Groomsmen's ties and cufflinks: £210
Bridesmaids' dresses (tailor-made from Dubai): £60 each: £360
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Stationery


Probably the only expense I regret. We spent a lot of money on our invites and, while I loved them, in hindsight it was an overspend.

Invitations and postage: £900
Photography: £1,800
Video: £1,540