What is the Average Cost of a UK Wedding?

Groom placing wedding ring on the Bride's finger.

Despite huge uncertainty caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the average cost of a UK wedding in 2021 and 2022 isn't showing any sign of dropping.

Over the past 12 months, COVID restrictions have resulted in tens of thousands of weddings being cancelled and, for those that have been able to go ahead, often with significantly reduced guest numbers.

While there is light at the end of the tunnel now and lockdown restrictions are easing, there is still a lot of uncertainty.

From time to time we've analysed average wedding spend and thought now would be a good time to update our figures to see what effect, if any, the pandemic has had on wedding spend.

The Average Cost of a 2021 & 2022 Wedding

It seems that despite all the uncertainty, couples are ready to celebrate their big day in a big way!

The average wedding spend, based on the cancellation cover taken out on wedding insurance policies purchased via our comparison table has increased by over £6,000 since we last looked at the data in 2017.

For weddings scheduled to take place in 2021 and 2022, we've found the average spend to be £20,493.

This figure does not include the cost of a honeymoon, excluded as part of the cover offered by wedding insurance, and so the total a couple spends will be even higher still.

Average UK Wedding Cost Graph

Graph showing average cost of a UK wedding between 2006 and 2021. For weddings taking place in 2021 & 2022, the average spend has increased to £20,493.

Following a dip in spending soon after the financial crisis of 2008, there has been an upward trend with the average in 2021 & 2022 looking to be higher than ever before, despite all the uncertainly caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Notes on the data: Once again we analysed the data from a sample of over 1,500 wedding insurance policies purchased via our comparison table to cover weddings scheduled to take place in 2021 and 2022. Our figure for average wedding spend is based on the amount of insurance cover purchased in respect of complete cancellation of the wedding.


The Average Cost of a 2017 Wedding

We last looked at the average wedding spend four years ago, in 2017.

The average wedding cost then, excluding honeymoon again, was £14,425. This was an increase of around £3,000 on the previous figure from 2012.

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How much does the average UK wedding cost in 2012?

The Average Cost of a 2012 Wedding

It seems the grim reality of the recession has affected even the most romantic event - weddings. It's not often that prices come down rather than going up, up and up, but that's what we're seeing with weddings. In 2008, the average cost of a UK wedding was over £20,000. However, in 2011 the average cost of getting married dropped by a massive 25% to £15,541 and in 2012 it will drop even further.

We studied the data from the sales of around 1,600 wedding insurance policies purchased to cover weddings taking place in 2012, via CompareWeddingInsurance.org.uk. We found that couples were purchasing policies to cover weddings for, on average, £11,441 of cover in respect of complete cancellation. Adding to this figure the £3,000 average cost of a honeymoon, this means that couples are spending, on average, £14,441 on getting married in 2012.

This figure represents a further £1,000 drop on the £5,000 decrease we saw in 2011.

It certainly came as quite a surprise to see such a drop last year. However, given the size of the sample and the fact that other sites (albeit with smaller samples) have also been reporting similar figures, we feel this is a very accurate reflection of average wedding budgets.

Regional Variations

Average Wedding Cost Shown RegionallyHaving looked at the national average, we also broke the data down into geographic regions to see if couples in different parts of the UK are spending more or less on their weddings than others.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, couples in London and the South East are spending more on their weddings than those in other parts of the UK. However, we were surprised at just how much more couples in the capital are spending on getting married - 42% above the national average.

See our recent article on average wedding spend across all UK regions for the full breakdown on all regions.

Average Wedding Spend In 2013

We also have provisional figures for average wedding spend in 2013. Again this is based on the level of cover in respect of complete cancellation offered by wedding insurance policies purchased via CompareWeddingInsurance.org.uk for weddings taking place from January next year.

We're expecting to see a further drop of around 6% to an average cost of around £10,800 or £13,800 including the honeymoon.

Why Are Couples Spending Less Money On Their Weddings?

The global economic downturn has certainly played a large part in reducing wedding budgets. With general economic uncertainty and with credit to finance a wedding perhaps harder to find, couples are possibly being forced into cutting back.

We're seeing evidence of a reduction in guest numbers in an attempt to lower costs too. We're also seeing more couples going down the DIY route in an attempt to still have those little 'nice to have' extras but at a lower cost.

Where Does All This Money Go?

Despite nearly a £6,000 drop since 2010, a £14,500 average wedding budget is still a lot of money! So where does all this money go?

The reception usually accounts for the largest part of the budget, with couples spending around £4,000 on their venue and feeding their guests.

The bride's dress, groom's suit and other attendant's outfits can often add a further £2,000.

Then add the engagement ring, photographer, flowers, cake, transport, stationery and the cost of the stag/hen festivities and you can see how it's very easy to spend well over five figures!

Budgeting For Your Wedding

Once you've set your budget you then need to stick to it! Keep your budget estimate in an accessible place - either electronically or in a notebook, whichever appeals to you more and update with real figures as you book suppliers and purchase wedding items. It might be a good idea to keep some budget back as contingency in case you find something irresistible that you hadn't planned on.

Wedding Insurance

Whatever you spend on your wedding, you'll want to make sure you avoid paying for items twice - if there's problem with your wedding dress or the venue goes bankrupt you'll want the reassurance of wedding insurance. If it's covered by your policy, wedding insurance will then pay for the replacement items so that you don't slip over your budget. At an average of £14,500, your wedding is still likely to be the third most expensive purchase you'll ever make!

Wedding insurance can cover things like:

  • one of your suppliers going out of business
  • damage to your dress or other attire
  • death/illness of the bride, groom or member of close family
  • loss of wedding photography

It's not that expensive either with policies starting from around just £20. To find out more about wedding insurance, see our FAQs and see our comparison table for a list of the prices and cover offered by a range of major providers.

Sources: Daily Mail Hitched W.I.F.E

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Leyton Solutions Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Insuremore Ltd, Insure For Travel Limited, Voyager Insurance Services Ltd, NDI Insurance & Reinsurance Brokers Limited and Alternative Propositions Limited who are all authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Leyton Solutions Limited is also an Introducer Appointed Representative of Blue Insurance Limited who is authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for UK business.

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