As we head into a new year of engagement announcements and wedding planning, we take a look at the ever-changing average cost of a wedding in the UK.
It’s no secret weddings are an expensive business, and it probably comes as no surprise that the average cost of a wedding in the UK is at an all-time high.
According to research carried out by Bridebook‘s Wedding Survey in 2019, the average cost of a wedding in 2019 rose to around £30,355.
The costs of weddings over the decades have consistently risen, proving huge budget gaps between our own, our parents’ and our grandparents’ generations when it comes to wedding planning.
The Average Cost of a Wedding Over the Decades
Wedding costs are up 3000% since the 1950s and set to reach an all-time high in the 2020s.
Average Cost of a Wedding: 1950s
Our 1950s bride is Jean. Her whole family helped with all the wedding preparations, as she had just two weeks to plan the big day.
- Average weekly wage – £9.55
- Cost of the wedding – £70
- Cost of the wedding dress – £8
- Number of guests – 60
- Location of the reception – South Hackney Church
- Food Served – A cold buffet and dessert
Janet married in the 1960s. Her total wedding costs were just £60 and her charming wedding pictures perfectly reflect the swinging era.
- Average weekly wage – £18.25
- Cost of the wedding – £50
- Cost of the wedding dress – £20
- Number of guests – 60
- Location of the reception – The local railway club
- Food Served – Chicken salad
In the 1970s, Bernie managed to achieve her dream day with weddings costs totaling just £100. Intimate and rather rock n roll, Mr and Mrs Shortt served steak and chips in the local pub.
- Average weekly wage – £34.64
- Cost of the wedding – £100
- Cost of the wedding dress – £30
- Number of guests – 15
- Location of the reception – The local pub
- Food Served – Steak or chicken, and chips
With the 1980s economy booming we saw more brides spending a higher percentage of their wages on their wedding celebrations. Nicky, spent 7 times the national weekly wage – something very familiar to brides today. In true 80’s style she served Black Forest gateaux – a staple pudding of the decade.
- Average weekly wage – £145.88
- Cost of the wedding – £1,150
- Cost of the wedding dress – £120 (Hired)
- Number of guests – 150
- Location of the reception – A dance centre
- Food Served – Prawn cocktail, chicken, potatoes, black forest gateaux
Our 1990s bride, Claire, had a lot to live up to. The nation had become wedding obsessed, with films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Father of the Bride breaking box office records.
This is also the first time we come across weddings venues changing from local pubs or clubs to the larger and more glamorous hotels and country houses we recognise today.
- Average weekly wage – £340.18
- Cost of the wedding – £5,000
- Cost of the wedding dress – £690
- Number of guests – 80
- Location of the reception – A countryside hotel
- Food Served – Soup, duck or chicken and cheesecake
Our millennium bride is Holly Dunham. She spent four years planning her big day saving for the mounting wedding costs.
She was the only one of our brides to receive no financial help with her wedding costs.
- Average weekly wage – £532.34
- Cost of the wedding – £17,000
- Cost of the wedding dress – £825
- Number of guests – 96
- Location of the reception – Family home
- Food Served – Hog roast
Average Cost of a Wedding: 2010s
Wedding costs continued to grow as we settled into the 2010s, with average total costs reaching over £26000 in 2019. By 2018, The Independent revealed this cost had hit £30,355.
Average Cost of a Wedding in 2020
By the end of the 2010s, it was said the average total cost of a wedding in the UK had it £31,974 in 2019. Therefore, we predict these costs will only rise has we head into a new decade.
And it’s not just the cost of the actual wedding ceremony set to rise, the prices of honeymoons and added extras are also growing.
According to WeddingPlanner.co.uk, the average cost excluding the honeymoon and guest spend it £16,250 in 2018, meaning at least half the cost of a wedding in the UK was attributed to costs such as catering, guest spend, hair and beauty, photography and the whole host of added extras couples pull in to make their big day stand out.
Wedding Planner also hinted that, the average spend among our couples getting married in 2020 will be around the £17,000 mark (excl extras) and the total cost upwards of £33,000.
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