Despite the simplest of civil marriages costing less than £50, the average
cost of getting married in the UK is around £11,000 with the vast majority
falling between £5,000 and £15,000. This may seem a staggering sum, but
when you add up all the various elements that make up a traditional wedding,
you will see how easy it is to reach (and exceed) this amount. It is,
therefore, important to decide at the outset who is going to pay for your
wedding to avoid any unwanted financial pressures and conflicts during
the planning period.
Traditionally, the wedding day is hosted by the bride's parents and paid
for by the bride's father. Today, the etiquette of old is far less rigid
and only about 30% of weddings are paid for by the bride's parents. More
and more couples are opting to pay for their own wedding since they are
then free to choose exactly what they want without the worry of putting
their parents under financial strain. Recent research has shown that about
50% of weddings are now paid for by the bride and groom and about 15%
are paid for by everyone contributing in varying degrees. However, many
brides' fathers have prepared themselves for their daughter's marriage
by saving well in advance and they welcome the opportunity to exercise
If you intend to adopt the tradition responsibilities for paying your
wedding expenses, the following usually applies:
The Bride's Father pays for:
Engagement announcement in newspaper.
Stationery and postage expenses.
Bride's and bridesmaids' dresses and accessories.
Page boy outfit.
His own suit and bride's mother's outfit.
Transport for bride and himself, bridesmaids and bride's mother to
Transport for bride and groom, bride's mother, bridesmaids and himself
from ceremony venue to reception venue.
Flowers for the church and reception.
Bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids*
Buttonholes for participants and guest*
Photographer and/or videographer.
Reception and all associated expenses.
Overnight accommodation for close family if required.
Wedding present for his daughter and her new husband.
Wedding consultant fees.
*Sometimes considered the responsibility of the groom.
The Groom's Parents pay for:
The parents' meeting following the engagement announcement.
Their own outfits.
Wedding present for the newly-weds.
The Bride pays for:
Something old, new, borrowed and blue.
Hairdresser and beautician on the day.
Her going-away outfit.
Present for groom.
The Groom pays for:
Bride's wedding ring.
Hiring of his own, best man's and ushers' suits.
Transport for best man and himself to ceremony venue.
Civil or church ceremony fees.
Presents for the bride, bridesmaids, pages, ushers and best man.
His going-away outfit.
Transport away from reception venue for himself and his new wife.
Wedding night venue.
Press announcement for wedding.
The Bride and Groom pay for:
Present for the bride's parents.
The best man does not usually pay for anything although he will pay for
the marriage ceremony on the day with money given to him by the groom.
Alternative Ways of Paying
Paying the full cost of your wedding may be beyond the means of many bride's
parents. Indeed, you may feel it is unreasonable to even consider anyone
but yourselves footing the bill, especially if you are both working or
are older than the traditional age for first marriages. However, many
parents would like to contribute to the cost and you should be sensitive
about your parents' desires.
If your parents wish to contribute and you are happy for them to do so,
it is well worth sitting down with them and discussing what sum they feel
comfortable paying. This way, when you have agreed your budget, you will
know the extent of what you will have to pay yourselves.
Alternatively, you may wish to estimate the costs for the type and style
of wedding you want and then let your parents see what your estimates
are. Etiquette dictates that you show your estimated costs to the bride's
parents first so they have first refusal. Once you know what the bride's
parents are happy with paying, you can then decide whether it is appropriate
to show the estimate to the groom's parents or simply decide to pay the
Probably, the question of who will pay for your wedding was talked about,
albeit in broad terms, when you discussed your engagement with your parents.
Knowing your parents' feelings on the matter will give you the best possible
guidance on who you can approach now that your plans are more tangible.
Saving for Your Wedding
Unless you are well off, chances are that you will have to save up to
pay for some or all of your wedding. Even if your parents are paying the
usual wedding expenses, there are several expenses that the bride and
groom are responsible for. You may want to have an exotic honeymoon or
buy a special designer wedding dress that you have fallen in love with.
If you need to save, why not open a joint wedding account with a building
society. You could each arrange for a standing order to transfer money
from your current account shortly after you get paid each month. It is
surprising how quickly a sizable sum can accumulate. But do shop around
for the best rates since they do vary. Generally, you will find that the
longer you are prepared to leave your money invested, the better the interest
rate you will receive. However, on some savings accounts if you withdraw
early, there will be an interest penalty, so make sure you are aware of
the conditions of withdrawal. Most major building societies have web sites
that enable you to check their current rates. Alternatively, most good
quality national newspapers have a personal money guide section that is
usually published on a Saturday. The guides often give a summary of the
best rates on offer for the different types of savings accounts available.
Internet Savings Accounts
Internet savings accounts such as those operated by first-e and egg are
currently offering the highest interest rates due to their low operating
costs and introductory promotions. If online only banking is to your liking,
then check out these savings accounts.
Why not consider buying some premium bonds. With interest rates generally
low, you will not lose out on too much interest but you stand to win one
or more of 500,000 prizes each month. Your investment (minimum of £100,
maximum £20,000) is 100% safe and refundable and who knows, you might
win the £1,000,000 top monthly prize. The odds of winning any prize in
each month's draw (the smallest prize is £50) are 21 thousand to one for
each £1 premium bond. You can get an application form from any post office
or you can telephone the National Savings helpline on 0645-645000.
The National Lottery
The national lottery may seem an attractive method of getting very
rich quick but when you consider that your chance of winning the jackpot
is about 14 million to one, it is extremely unlikely. However, the odds
of winning a prize each draw (minimum £10) is 54 to one for each £1 entry.
But remember, if you don't win a prize, you lose your stake, so entering
the lottery is gambling and not a savings plan!
Whichever method you choose to save, some degree of self discipline and
sacrifice will be required. But it will be well worth the effort if it
means that you will be able to afford the wedding of your dreams and you
are able to start your married life without a debt for your wedding.
Reprinted from WeddingGuide.co.uk