What economic crisis Wedding bill rises to 22,000 (and bank of mum and dad foots much of the bill)
Average cost has risen by more than 7,000 in a decade
Number of guests has fallen by seven per cent from 101 to 94More than half of couples admit they share cost of big day with parents

John Stevens


23:26 GMT, 27 March 2013



00:13 GMT, 28 March 2013

Counting the cost: The average wedding bill is now almost 22,000

Counting the cost: The average wedding bill is now almost 22,000 (file photo)

Any groom will know that there are some things you just don’t mention to a stressed-out bride. And it seems one of them is the grim state of the economy.

For while most of us are tightening our belts, brides are spending more and more on their big day.

The average cost of a wedding is now 21,939, research has found – an increase of more than 7,000 in a decade, and 14 per cent in the past three years.

In 2003 the bill for the big day was 14,643, rising to 18,781 in 2006 and 19,265 in 2009.

But while weddings are becoming more lavish, they are also becoming more intimate. Since 2009 the number of guests has fallen by 7 per cent, dropping from 101 to 94 last year. It means the average spend per guest has gone up by more than a fifth, from 191 in 2009 to 233 three years later.

The most expensive part of a wedding is now the honeymoon, with newlyweds on average spending 3,548 – an increase of 24 per cent in three years.

Twenty-two per cent of couples take their honeymoon in Europe, while 7 per cent stick to Britain and 63 per cent go elsewhere in the world. Eight per cent don’t take one at all. More than a fifth of the budget is spent on food, with an average bill of 3,313, and drink, which costs 1,328.

The average couple spends 3,315 on their wedding and engagement rings, while venue hire costs 2,763.

According to the survey, by You & Your Wedding magazine, brides typically spend 1,119 on their dress, but grooms spend a mere 317 on their outfit. Some of the reason for higher spending is that more and more brides are choosing to have beauty treatments before their big day.

Of the 2,300 questioned, more than a third said they were having their teeth whitened, 9 per cent said they were having laser hair removal and 5 per cent were opting to have Botox.

The bank of mum and dad is footing much of the bill for these lavish weddings. Fifty-three per cent of couples shared the cost of the big day with their parents, while 11 per cent had the whole day paid for by their family. Only 31 per cent paid for it entirely by themselves.


Summer is still the most popular time of year to get married, with 15 per cent of couples choosing to tie the knot in August.

January and February each attract just 2 per cent of couples. Maxine Briggs, editor of You & Your Wedding, said: ‘Couples still want their big day despite the tough economic climate.

‘It’s a great occasion that people are still willing to save and invest in to ensure they and their guests have a day to remember.

‘Personalisation is the key trend now, wanting something a little bit different. The survey illustrates just how diverse 21st century weddings are becoming.'