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A complete survival guide to getting married
So you’re engaged? Congratulations! At this point, you’ll probably be looking forward to starting your married life with your partner, excited for what the future will bring for you both. But first you’ll have to get through a pretty big event that will either be one of the best days of your life or fill you with dread even thinking about it! Your wedding day is a huge event to plan, and managing the cost of it can leave you feeling stressed out, but we’ll help you get through the pressure and focus on the good times.
From the minute you get engaged and start to look at the cost of various wedding expenses, it’ll quickly become apparent that it’s probably not going to be a cheap affair. But how much you decide to spend really depends on you as a couple. Ask yourself a few basic questions: do you want a no-fuss intimate ceremony with just a couple of guests, or do you want a massive extravaganza with hundreds of people? Do you want an expensive designer gown or a budget vintage dress? Do you want a fancy sit-down haute cuisine meal or a ‘bring and share’ buffet?
For most people, the answer will be “somewhere in between” and that’s okay too. It’s just important that the two of you decide together how much you can afford, as well as how much you’re willing to spend on your day.
How much the wedding can cost
To give you some guidelines, here are the average prices for wedding costs according to Brides Magazine. See these as a starting point, so if you want to spend drastically less on one area and a lot more on something else, that’s totally up to you.
According to the stats, the average UK wedding costs £24,716. This includes everything from the wedding rings, outfits, and venue, to the catering, flowers and photographer.
How to pay for it
The idea that the father of the bride covers the whole cost of the wedding has become pretty outdated now, mainly down to the cost of ceremonies rising so dramatically. However, one or both sets of parents might want to contribute something towards your special day. It’s best to find out how much your parents are willing to give you, if anything, early on in the wedding planning process, so you can account for it in your budget.
You may be able to pay for your wedding out of any savings the two of you have, or, if the wedding isn’t for a couple of years, it’s a good idea to start saving for it. If you don’t think you’ll be able to raise the money, you could consider covering the cost with a loan. When you have your budget worked out and you know how much you want to borrow, look at some of the cheap loan options that could be available for you, and decide what you’ll be able to afford to repay.
You could also consider putting some of the cost of your wedding on a credit card. It’s good to be aware that if you pay for your honeymoon on a credit card, you’ll be covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means you’ll be protected on anything you buy that costs between £100 and £30,000, so you won’t lose out if anything if – for example – the travel firm goes bust.
Bear in mind that if you take out any form of credit to pay for your big day, you should be as sure as you possibly can that you’ll be able to make the repayments. Getting into debt that you can’t afford to pay back isn’t the best start to your married life!
“I dos” and “I don’ts”
Our top “I dos”:
Do spend within your means and budget: it’s important that when you budget for how much you’re going to spend on your wedding it’s realistic. There’s no point planning to spend £100 on your wedding dress if you want a designer frock because you’ll go over budget straight away. Take some time to work out how much you can spend on each aspect of your wedding and try your best to stick to it.
Do decide what’s important to you: while you’re trying to work out what you should spend your money on, talk about what your priorities are. Is it important that you have the dream venue, or would you rather be able to invite hundreds of your family and friends? Do you care about expensive flowers or would you rather spend it on a band for the evening do? This will help you work out what you’re willing to splash out on, and what you’re happy to cut back on.
Do ask for help: if you’re already living together or aren’t bothered about fancy gifts, you could set up a page to ask your guests to contribute towards the cost of your honeymoon. This will mean you’ll only have to budget for the wedding itself and guests won’t feel that they need to buy you a present for the sake of it.
Our top “I don’ts”:
Don’t feel the social pressure: with so many couples documenting their wedding on Facebook and Twitter, it can be tempting to try to compete to have the most fabulous day. If you want to have a lavish and elegant ceremony, that’s fine – just don’t feel that you have to so that you can impress people you haven’t seen since school.
Don’t go overboard: it’s all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning your special day, but remember your budget; otherwise the costs will start to mount up quickly. Research* carried out for us last year found that one in five couples borrowed money to pay for their wedding, and half of those regretted going into debt for their big day, so you could learn from their mistakes.
Don’t forget to enjoy yourself: lastly, try not to get too worked up with details and the logistics of the day. Remember, the most important thing is getting married and starting your life with someone you love. Of course it’s important to you to have a day you’ll both remember, but make sure it’s for the right reasons.
*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 2nd May and 12th May 2014, of whom 500 were Scottish residents.