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Let's Stop Judging People For How Much They Spend on Their Weddings

Hitched Editor Zoe Burke explains why she's had enough of people judging wedding spends - so let's all mind our own business when it comes to wedding budgets

A couple running through two lines of guests waving sparklers in the air

A couple running through two lines of guests waving sparklers in the air

I recently saw a clip of a podcast on TikTok, where the hosts were decrying the average cost of a UK wedding as ‘bullsh*t’ and it caught my attention for a few reasons.

Firstly, the number cited is exactly that, an average - it’s pulled from a broad sample of wedding planning couples across the UK, but obviously it’s not the definitive figure. There are couples who spend £2k and couples who spend £200k. The number is there to indicate a mean average to give people an idea, a benchmark of what that middle range is.

By no means is it the amount you should or must spend - but it’s an interesting snippet of data. However, they went on to decry it because it was too low - with the hosts claiming that a 'good wedding' can be done for £30,000.

This is the part that really got me thinking. I have worked in weddings for well over a decade now and firmly believe that weddings are worth the investment - if you want to spend that money and can afford it.

If you don’t though, that’s fine. You can get married for under £1,000. As long as you aren’t expecting £10,000 worth of services and you’re happy with a simple affair for less - go for it!

It’s not a bad wedding, it won’t be any less meaningful for you. If all you can afford or want to pay for is a high street wedding dress and cake, but you’re surrounded by your loved ones in an affordable wedding venue, I’m not going to judge you.

It won't be the same as investing in the services of a specialist small business, but that's the trade-off for the lower prices. Specialist wedding services cost more for a reason.

And the same goes for if you want to drop £100,000 on a multi day wedding with fancy favours for all your guests and multiple outfit changes. If you can afford it and you want that kind of event, you also shouldn’t be judged.

Wedding Spend is "All Relative"

A bride and groom sipping champagne from coupes in a black and white photo
Pexels / evgeniy volivach

I’m so bored of reading the same old narratives that weddings are a huge waste of money, a lavish and decadent expense, ‘all that for one day’. It’s dull.

We’ve had years of people publicly dismissing weddings and shaming people for spending big on them - but why? They’re engaging the services of small businesses, it’s good for the economy, and it’s a chance to get together and celebrate love.

Wedding planner to the stars Sarah Haywood summed it up well in a LinkedIn post I often think of when I see publications attacking wedding spend: “Love certainly does not have a price tag. But should anyone choose to celebrate it by hiring the services of professionals, we charge for it without apology.

“It has got me thinking about why people are mostly only curious about the price tag associated with events we plan, and what part I might play in allowing only that narrative. Like many other service providers, I make a living working for wealthy people. But what I rarely state is that most of our clients are decent, hard-working, philanthropic, outward looking individuals who make a difference.”

She goes on to explain: “Some wealthy people spend a lot of money on their life celebrations. That’s partly because they lead extraordinarily privileged lives where every day they are fortunate enough to experience the very finest life has to offer. So when they come to us to plan a wedding for their son, their daughter or themselves, they’re looking for a team that has the skills and experience to elevate their ordinary every day to the extraordinary.

“Is that not what we all want for ourselves and our children on a wedding day? To enjoy an occasion that is more special than our ordinary every day? What is extraordinary to one group of people might not be to another. It is all relative. And we do this to celebrate and acknowledge the occasion we are celebrating. In most cultures, many still believe marriage to be among the most significant moments, where we affirm the very concept of family and celebrate friendship.”

It is all relative, and what may seem like tiny numbers to one person can be a huge spend to another.

It’s easy to lay into weddings for so many reasons - they can be seen as frivolous and those that buy into them as fickle, but why?

I can’t help but wonder if it’s because it’s predominantly a female-driven industry and weddings are very much still seen as a ‘women’s thing’, despite that being a totally inaccurate view.

I want to celebrate people who are taking the time to celebrate love - it’s important, it’s special, it’s something we don’t do enough of and something we’ll wish we did more of one day.

But I also don’t want to shame people who don't want to or can’t spend big amounts on their wedding days.

Can we all just agree it’s important to take the time to celebrate the special moments, and fixate less on the spend involved?