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How Much Does a Wedding Cost? The UK Average Revealed

Curious about how much the average wedding costs? We surveyed over 2,400 couples to find out what couples are spending on and how much you need to save

Happy bride and groom leaving a wedding ceremony hand in hand

Ever wondered how much the average wedding costs? Our National Wedding Survey revealed the average cost of a wedding in the UK in 2022, so if you want to know how much you need to start saving, read on!

Our study revealed some fascinating data - as well as how much the average wedding cost in 2022, we can also tell you what the spend breakdown was, how many couples turned to the bank of mum and dad, and what couples prioritised as they paid for their wedding. 

Better get ready to make your wedding budget...

Here’s our breakdown of the UK’s average wedding cost and how you’re spending it, based on a survey of 2,457 couples who married in 2022*.

Average Wedding Cost in the UK: 2023

So, here it is - drum roll please! The average wedding in the UK in 2022 cost £18,400. This is 6% up on the average cost of a wedding in 2021, which was £17,300 and up 102% from 2020, when the pandemic restrictions saw wedding spend drop to an average of £9,100. 

It’s a decent yearly increase (over £1,000!), especially when it feels like the cost of living crisis is dominating so much of our day to day lives, but 70% of couples who married in 2022 said the current economy didn’t impact their wedding spending. 

This might be down to financial contributions rising, with 63% of couples saying they received money from friends and/or family towards the cost of their wedding (up 2% from last year), or it might be down to more savvy wedding planning - over a third (34%) of couples said they cut their guest list to save money, and 37% said they increased the number of wedding vendors they enquired with, in order to do more price comparisons. 

Infographic breaking down the key wedding spends that make up the cost of a wedding

So what are couples spending all their money on? Here are 10 key wedding spends broken down for 2022:

  • Venue hire - £8,400 
  • Wedding dress - £1,350
  • Photography - £1,300
  • Videography - £1,150
  • Wedding band/DJ - £1,050
  • Flowers - £1,050 
  • Invitations & paper goods - £300
  • Catering per head - £70
  • Wedding hair & makeup - £155
  • Bridesmaid hair & makeup - £85

Couples also increased the number of suppliers they hired for their wedding, with the number rising by 20% compared to 2021, meaning 2022 weddings involved an average of 10 different vendors. 

Shaking off the last of the pandemic restrictions, we also saw the average number of wedding guests rise to 81 - that’s almost 10 additional guests per wedding compared to 2021’s fairly modest guest list of 72. With an average wedding catering spend of £70pp, this racks up to £5,670 if you’re catering for 81 guests. This is a 21% increase compared to 2021. 

The cost of hiring a wedding venue has increased by 10.5% compared to 2021, and wedding photography costs have risen by 8% - this is likely down to couples needing to cater to larger wedding guest lists

Nearly half of all couples (47%) went over their initial wedding budget in 2022. Whilst 59% of couples used savings to pay for their wedding, more than one in 10 (11%) took out a loan to cover the costs of their big day in 2022. 

This could be down to the fact that couples have other financial priorities as they plan - 58% are saving up for a honeymoon too, and with honeymoon spend rising by 23% now travel is back on the map, they need to save up more than ever for the beach honeymoon that over half (52%) of all couples have. 

Nearly a third of UK nearlyweds (32%) are also saving up for a house as they plan their wedding and honeymoon, and 29% are paying off credit card bills and debts. On top of this, a further 18% are also working on paying off their student loans. 

So there you have it - the average cost of a wedding in the UK is £18,400 for 2022 - £1,100 up from 2021.

*Survey taken of 2,457 U.K. individuals married in 2022. Survey distributed via email and Hitched social channels. Survey conducted throughout November and December 2022 and January 2023.

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Average Wedding Cost in the UK: 2021

Bride and groom embracing outdoors with a rich green leafy backdrop

The average wedding in the UK in 2021 cost £17,300**. This was 90% up on the average cost of a wedding in 2020, which was £9,100. 

It’s a huge yearly increase, but it does make sense when you consider the limitations on weddings in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 2021 Average Wedding Cost Broken Down

Here are the seven key areas couples were spending on in 2021:

  • Venue hire - £7,600 
  • Wedding dress - £1,300
  • Photography - £1,200 
  • Groom’s attire - £500
  • Catering per head - £65
  • Bridal hair - £80
  • Bridal makeup - £70

Couples who married in 2021 paid £7,600 to hire their dream wedding venue - this was a 40% increase on the £5,406 couples were paying in 2019. It’s clear to see that after two years apart from everyone, with weddings on hold, the setting in which everyone celebrates together became even more important. 

Photography spend also increased by 4% - your wedding photography is your lasting memento of your big day, so it makes sense to invest in it. Sharing special moments with loved ones has never been more appreciated, so you can understand why couples were willing to spend more to make sure these memories were captured. 

Our survey also revealed that two thirds of couples (66%) were given money by family or friends to help them pay for their wedding - if you combine that with the 7% who borrowed money from a friend or family member, almost three quarters of couples (73%) had some financial help from a relative or friend to pay for their wedding. With 48% of couples going over budget in 2021 as they strived to create that perfect experience, you can see why support from friends and family was so popular.

We also learned that parents pay, on average, 61% of the total wedding cost. That’s right, in 2021, mum and dad paid for three fifths of the total wedding cost - that’s £10,553 of the total average £17,300 spend. They must really love you guys. You can read up on who pays for what traditionally at a wedding here.

**Hitched surveyed 2,060 couples who married in 2021 via an online survey conducted in November 2021-January 2022.

READ MORE: How to Ask Your Parents for Wedding Money

Average Wedding Cost in the UK: 2019

Bride and groom tucking into a pizza surrounded by their guests all enjoying a slice too

Here are the top 10 wedding spends for 2019:

  • Venue hire – £5,406
  • Honeymoon – £4,645
  • Food – £3,887
  • Engagement ring – £2,419
  • Drink – £1,587
  • Wedding dress/outfit – £1,313
  • Photography – £1,155
  • Mini-moon – £1,135
  • Entertainment/music – £1,005
  • Video – £968

READ MORE: How to Save Money on Your Wedding Venue

Average Wedding Cost in the UK: 2018

Bride and groom walking hand in hand outside of a wedding venue

Here are the 10 biggest costs of a wedding in 2018:

  • Venue hire – £5,221
  • Honeymoon – £4,545
  • Food – £4,151
  • Engagement ring – £2,657
  • Drink – £1,739
  • Wedding dress/outfit – £1,321
  • Photography – £1,166
  • Mini-moon – £1,051
  • Video – £1,027
  • Entertainment/music – £1,014

Average Wedding Cost in the UK: 2017

Bride and groom with sunglasses holding a dog in front of large balloons

Here’s the breakdown of wedding spend in the UK in 2017:

  • Venue hire – £4,354
  • Honeymoon – £3,630
  • Food – £3,353
  • Engagement ring – £2,084
  • Drink – £1,342
  • Wedding dress/outfit – £1,209
  • Photography – £993
  • Mini-moon – £911
  • Entertainment/music – £813
  • Video – £801

READ MORE: 21 Wedding Budget Tips from Real Couples

Average Wedding Cost in the UK: 2016

Bride in a white suit kissing a groom in a black suit in front of a graffiti'd wall

Let’s see how the 2016 average wedding spend broke down:

  • Venue hire – £3,738
  • Honeymoon – £3,366
  • Food – £3,072
  • Engagement Ring – £1,742
  • Mini-Moon – £1,082
  • Wedding Dress – £1,055
  • Hen Do – £1,041
  • Drink – £965
  • Photography – £905
  • Accommodation – £747

Still mulling over how to make that wedding budget work for you? We've got some seriously innovative wedding budget hacks right here.

It’s worth noting that this is an average cost - you don’t need to spend the same figure, as your wedding will be wonderful regardless of your budget. In fact, we can help you out with our guides to having a wedding whatever your budget may be: