Say ‘I do’ to tying the knot without breaking the bank

Nationwide Building Society says 11 per cent of couples splash out more than �20,000 on their nuptials. Picture: Getty Images
Nationwide Building Society says 11 per cent of couples splash out more than �20,000 on their nuptials. Picture: Getty Images
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Wedding season is here again, and while it’s a happy time for couples and their guests, it also prove costly.

Here’s how the bills pile up – and how you can make clever cutbacks without it leading to wedding woes.

How costs mount up

The average cost of tying the knot is now £8,000, according to a survey of married UK couples from Nationwide Building Society – with 11 per cent splashing out more than £20,000.

With big costs to cover, some couples could be tempted into debt. Website MoneySuperMarket recently said it has seen a jump in people applying for wedding loans – including applications for over £20,000.

Nationwide also puts the average cost of being a wedding guest at around £400, of which roughly £150 is spent on the stag or the hen party, and £250 goes towards the ceremony itself.

What’s the first to go?

Couples looking to cut the cost of their wedding may want to consider how those who are already married successfully trimmed their budgets. Nationwide’s survey found the wedding dress was the most likely item to be “downgraded” to save money, followed by the number of guests, the invitations, the venue and the food.

Many high street stores now sell wedding dresses, or brides on a budget could go for a more vintage look by trawling second-hand and charity shops, or auction websites for a bargain.

When it came to the aspects of the wedding most likely to be ditched altogether, canapes came out on top, followed by favours, cars, suit hire and a paid-for bar.

Perhaps for some people, having home-made canapes with a personal touch, rather than ditching them altogether, and swapping champagne for cheaper forms of bubbly, could be a compromise.

Couples try to keep guests’ costs down

While trying to keep a tight rein on their own budgets, nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of brides and grooms actively consider how to reduce costs for guests attending their weddings, according to research from American Express.

It found the top three ways brides and grooms try to reduce costs are: choosing a venue within a close distance to family and friends to reduce travel costs, selecting a stag or hen do that won’t be too pricey, and asking guests not to buy gifts.

How the costs for guests can be eased further

Here are some tips from American Express for couples planning a cost-conscious wedding for their guests:

 Alert international guests early. Once you know the date, ensure any guests flying in to attend the wedding know as early as possible, so they can secure the best travel deals.

 Negotiate room deals. Many accommodation providers will provide a discount on rooms if you make a block booking for your guests.

 Consider the venue carefully. If you don’t want your guests to break the bank, look at the price of drinks your venue is providing to ensure there are some budget-friendly options.

 Make gift lists affordable. If you are sending out a gift list, ensure there are items that fit all budgets, so guests don’t feel concerned about not spending enough on you.