How much should I be spending on my wedding?

It’s the biggest day of your life, so there’s the temptation to say “hang the expense!” Everyone, however, has some kind of budget in mind. And the million dollar (£773,000) question is “Am I above average, or doing it on the cheap?” In this post we talk around the subject to give you a better idea of whether you are throwing the cash around like confetti or tiptoeing towards the mean side of frugal.

Who has got the maths right?

So, what do most people spend? It rather depends on who you ask (or what you read). Cosmopolitan reckons the UK average for tying the knot in 2017 will be £16,842. In 2015 Brides Magazine put the figure at a rather more extravagant £24,000. The same year, however, Nationwide Building Society suggested £7,500. Harper’s Bazaar reckoned on £27,000 in 2016, with the figure in London reaching £38,000.  So take your pick!

Pippa raises the bar

But forget what most people spend – what do famous people, the celebrities, spend? We know we shouldn’t compare ourselves with those on the A List but most of us just can’t help ourselves.

The most recent headline-grabbing nuptials were those of Pippa Middleton, who married hedge fund manager James Matthews (who is presumably worth a bob or two). Nobody knows for sure (even Pippa?) but leading wedding planning website and app Bridebook crunched some speculative numbers. Based on an analysis of over 170,000 weddings, and a review of over 70,000 wedding industry suppliers’ price estimates, they came up with a cool estimate of £246,949.

If you’re wondering about the maths (while you get your breath back) the estimate for the venue was £65,000 (they did the reception in the garden at her parents’ place but a super luxury marquee for 350 guests, another for the drinks reception, plus one for the caterers don’t come cheap. Catering £75,000, dress £10,000, drinks £17,720, photography and video £7,500, cake £2,600, stationery £5,125.

If that’s not enough to make your eyes water there’s music and entertainment at £8,250, wedding rings £19,000, outfits for the rest of the bridal party £10,000, veil £2,000, hair and makeup £1,500, decorations £6,000 and toilets £4,000, as well as wedding favours, church fees and transport – phew!

Big sister goes one better

Compared to her sister, however, that’s peanuts. Kate and Will racked up a bill for around £20 million.  The Australian newspaper Herald Sun estimated that A$32 million went on security, with A$800,000 just for flowers.  Still, they did invite a lot of people - about 1,900 guests attended the ceremony in the local church (Westminster Abbey) approximately 600 were invited to a little luncheon reception at his granny’s house (Buckingham Palace), and about 300 sat down for evening dinner hosted by his dad (also at granny’s).

Talking of dad, his wedding to Lady Di cost more than three times more than William and Kate’s, when you allow for inflation. They really pushed the boat out with little indulgences such as 10,000 pearls hand-sewn into Diana’s gown, 27 wedding cakes, and a dress with a 25ft train…oh, and a two week honeymoon on Britannia, the family yacht.

Wedding of the millennium?

Mind you, royals have always liked to go over the top when tying the knot. Way back in 1468 Margaret of York (sister of Edward IV and Richard III) married Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy (after lengthy negotiations undertaken by his half-brother Anthony, who went by the colourful title of Grand Bastard of Burgundy). The celebrations, which took place in the town of Bruges, were estimated to have cost £250 million in modern money. The festivities included a four-day joust between the most prestigious European knights and a crown built for the bride coated in pearls and diamonds. Widely regarded as "the marriage of the century" it is re-enacted at Bruges for tourists every five years with the next event taking place in August 2017.

A heavenly day that doesn’t cost the earth

So, how about you - what kind of festivities do you have in mind? Summer or winter, indoors or out, Rock ‘n’ Roll or old fashioned romantic, a quiet affair with a few close family and friends or a big blow-out, formal wedding breakfast or a relaxed al fresco affair? The options are endless but one thing is certain - at Clevedon Hall we have the setting, the facilities and the expert team to create a celebration that would do a royal couple proud…but without breaking the bank!

We’d love to hear your ideas, and to discuss ways we can make things even more magical – come and see us soon.