What did you think of the last wedding you went to? Was it great fun, beautifully styled and memorable for all the right reasons? Well, while it might have been a pleasure to attend, it may well have cost the bride and groom in the region of £24,000 to host it. Venues, catering and outfits (plus the rest) can drive the cost of weddings into the territory of healthy house deposits, so it’s hardly surprising that lots of couples planning to tie the knot worry about how to pay for their dream day.
We talked to three real life brides-to-be…
We got up close and personal, digging through their finances and asking the kinds of questions you’re too polite to ask to find out exactly how they’re paying for their dream day. With marquees, Prosecco vans and big bands to fund, find out how they’re making ends meet to throw their perfect wedding…
The brides we spoke to already manage various debts very sensibly already. They’re currently paying off their mortgages, credit card loans and car loans without too much trouble, and aren’t too phased about using some form of finance to help secure the things they want for their wedding day.
Abbey and her fiancé have a positive attitude towards borrowing. Currently neither of them have a credit card or loan, but Abbey says that using finance might be something they look into “if something needs paying for and we know that we will have the money the following month to pay it off”. “However, the most important thing is that we end up as husband and wife, so we don’t want to go crazy and spend more than we can truly afford”.
This attitude towards borrowing is a healthy one, as Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySuperMarket, explains. “It’s very easy to create a situation where you’re putting yourself on the back foot financially from day one – and you don’t want to be paying for a wedding two or three years on.
“Instead, if you save every month into a savings account, over a year or more you could put by a couple of thousand pounds between you.”
Digging into savings
Using savings is a prudent and popular method of funding a wedding – and one of our brides is digging into hers to pay for the big day. “We’ve had a long engagement so we’ve had plenty of time to save” Abbey explains. “And, we’ve organised it so that we’ll get married next June, going on honeymoon nearer the end of the year. That way, we’ll have a few extra months to pay for that aspect of getting married”.
This is one of the most sensible ways to pay for a wedding, though it’s only possible if you’re happy to delay tying the knot. Unfortunately, saving over a long period of time isn’t an option for Louise as her and her fiancé only have six months to organise their wedding. “We got engaged of May of this year, and we’re getting married on November 19th” says Louise. “So, we have a fairly quick turn around and need to pay it all off before the day”.
Help from family and friends
Louise and her fiancé are managing to pay for their wedding – a day they’re expecting to cost in the region of £18,000 – using their combined salaries. But, they are getting a little bit of help from their families too. “My mum offered to pay for my wedding dress” says Louise “…my sister is a graphic designer, so we haven’t had to pay for the invitations or table plans, and we’re having the party at my in-laws’ house”.
Lucy is also lucky enough to have some creative friends and family that will be making the day extra special for her. “My friend is a hairdresser, so she’ll do mine and the bridesmaid’s hair on the day. Another friend is a florist so that will cut costs on decorations. My fiancé’s aunt will be marrying us, and my mum has a Prosecco van so she’ll be providing the booze. And, as my fiancé and I are actors, our musical friends will no doubt be involved in creating a memorable day!”.
So, what’s the best option for you?
The key thing we learnt from talking to these brides is that you’ll need to have a strong hold on what your values are when it comes to money. If you’re happy to borrow, then borrow. If you have family that are willing to help, then count yourself lucky. And if you’re in a position to save? Do it – for as much or as little time as you have. There are lots of ways to have the wedding of your dreams, but the best option will be to pay for it in a way that best suits your situation.