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How much does a wedding cost? 2023 expenses and wedding budget revealed

Get your wedding budget in order with our guide to the key expenses to expect

A wedding budget jar
Chloe Best
Chloe BestLifestyle Features Editor
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We all know that weddings can be expensive, but when you're just beginning to plan your wedding it can be difficult to know just how much money to set aside in your budget and what the key expenses are.

Unfortunately, due to rising inflation and the increasing price of the cost of living, wedding costs have also risen year upon year – and show no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

But just how much does a wedding cost, and how much does your number of guests and destination impact on your overall budget? We've gathered all the key data you need to know for 2023…

A bride and groom holding hands showing their wedding rings
The average cost of a wedding has risen in 2022

How much does a wedding cost in the UK?

According to the 2022 National Wedding Survey by Hitched, the average UK wedding cost £18,400 in 2022. This was up six per cent on the average amount couples spent in 2021, which was £17,300, and a whopping increase of 102 per cent from 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic and its restrictions meant that micro-weddings costing an average of £9,100 became the norm.

Key wedding costs

There are some elements of a wedding that can prove the biggest expenses of your big day, such as your wedding venue – at an average cost of £8,400 according to the aforementioned study. 

MORE: How much should you spend on a wedding ring?

Other key costs include the bride's wedding dress (£1,350), photography (£1,300), videography (£1,150) and catering (on average £70 per head).

A couple dancing at their wedding reception© iStock
Your wedding venue can be one of the biggest expenses

How much does a wedding cost abroad?

The cost of a wedding abroad can be dependent on the destination chosen, and how many guests you are inviting. According to research from American Express, Spain and Ireland are the top destinations to tie the knot outside of the UK this year, with 12 per cent of wedding guests heading to each location respectively.

MORE: How to avoid hidden costs of destination weddings

In Spain, the average cost of a wedding in Spain stood at 20,000 euros in 2022 – equating to around £17,200. The figures, shared by Statista, say that this included all expenses, such as wedding outfits, the venue, music and catering.

A bride and groom at a beachfront destination wedding ceremony© iStock
Spain is one of the most popular locations for a destination wedding

In Ireland, the average wedding costs 25,000 euros (around £21,500), according to a survey by The Wedding & Honeymoon Show. However, for 31 per cent of couples this cost can increase to as much as 35,000 euros (£30,000), making Ireland a particularly expensive destination for a wedding.

How much does a wedding cost for 50 guests?

The average couple invited 81 guests to their wedding in 2022 according to Hitched, so having a smaller guest list of around 50 guests is likely to help you make significant savings on your big day. When you consider that meals alone can cost around £70 per head, that alone could save you as much as £2,000. Meanwhile, a smaller guest list may also allow you to book a more intimate venue, which could also offer some savings compared to bigger venues.

READ: How many people should I invite to my wedding?

How much does a wedding cost for 200 guests?

Naturally, a bigger guest list means a bigger budget. With 200 guests you can expect your wedding to cost anywhere between £24,000 and £34,000, depending on the style of wedding you're hosting and the time of year you're planning to marry.

Bride and groom sitting at wedding breakfast outdoors© iStock
The size of your guest list can have a big impact on the cost of your wedding

A lavish wedding with a sit-down meal and extravagant décor will likely place your wedding at the upper end of the price limit, while a more relaxed, rustic wedding with DIY elements could help to make a bigger wedding more budget-friendly.

What is a good budget for a wedding?

Based on the current average wedding costs, a budget of around £18,000 would be sufficient to cover your expenses. However, your personal budget will vary depending on what you have planned for your nuptials and when and where you're going to tie the knot. Some things, such as photography or videography, may be non-negotiable, whereas you may be able to reduce costs on other elements, for example, if you're happy to buy a high street wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses.

MORE: 9 sneaky wedding venue costs that can derail your budget

Who traditionally pays for the wedding?

Tradition previously stated that the bride's family should pay for the wedding, but this has changed over time, with more couples covering the cost of their nuptials, while 63 per cent receive money from family or friends to help pay for the big day.

A couple dancing at their wedding reception© iStock
Friends and family often contribute to the cost of the wedding

How much does it cost to attend a wedding?

It's not only the couple hosting the wedding who have to consider their budget, as recent research from American Express has found that UK wedding guests are expected to spend 18 per cent more on attending weddings in 2023, or an average of £1,045 per wedding this year.

Costs that wedding guests have to cover include buying a wedding gift, accommodation, childcare, travel, outfits and accessories.

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