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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 2,000 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 2021, 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 2021, we can also tell you what the spend breakdown was, how many couples turned to the bank of mum and dad, and how much of the total cost parents contributed to. 

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 2,060 couples who married in 2021*.

READ MORE: How to Make a Wedding Budget

Average Wedding Cost in the UK: 2021

Bride and groom embracing outdoors with a rich green leafy backdrop

So, here it is - drum roll please! The average wedding in the UK in 2021 cost £17,300. This is 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 is 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 has 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. 

Catering spend is also on the up - in 2019, couples spent a total of £3,887 on their wedding catering, however our survey revealed that in 2021, couples spent an average of £65 per head on catering, with 72 guests on average attending - that’s a total spend of £4,680. Who can blame couples for increasing their catering spend by 20%? After two years at home eating endless lockdown banana bread, delicious meals cooked by someone other than yourself are worth more than their weight in gold. 

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

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.

READ MORE: How to Ask Your Parents for Wedding Money

Average Wedding Cost in the UK: 2019

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

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 Up to £10,000 on Your Wedding Venue

Average Wedding Cost in the UK: 2018

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

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

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

Two brides in sunglasses posing together

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:

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