A breakdown of what you’ll be spending money on when it comes to your wedding celebration

from the wedding venue to food, a dress and beyond…

It may not be the most exciting of subjects when it comes to planning a wedding, but discussing your wedding budget is important and should be done early on in your wedding planning process.

There’s so much more to planning a wedding than just booking a brilliant wedding venue and picking that perfect dress. This article has been designed to break down everything that we believe should be included in your overall wedding budget. Read it, remember it, print it out…we hope it will help you start to get organised for your very special day ahead.

Wedding Costs to Consider


  • Wedding insurance
  • Hen and stag parties
  • Wedding invitations and stationery (including the cost to post them out)

Wedding Day

  • Cost of a church or registrar (plus marriage certificates)
  • Wedding Transport (for yourselves and potentially your family/guests)
  • Wedding dress/grooms attire/bridesmaids dresses and grooms party wear
  • Wedding hair and beauty
  • Wedding rings
  • Wedding venue/room hire
  • Wedding food, drink, tea/coffee, bubbles for the toast(s)
  • Evening reception buffet and bar
  • Wedding flowers and décor (including table linens etc)
  • Wedding favours
  • Wedding photographer and/or wedding videographer
  • Wedding cake
  • Wedding entertainment
  • Accommodation for the night of the wedding
  • Thank you gifts for bridesmaids/groomsmen/parents


The honeymoon
Travel insurance
Photo albums

Top Tip:

When it comes to your wedding venue cost, ensure that you are aware of VAT and services charges relating to your overall bill.


After witnessing your wedding ceremony it’s a nice idea to celebrate being married with a glass of fizz and a few nibbles to keep you going until the wedding banquet is announced. At Harper we have a canapé menu to discuss with the wedding planning couple before the big day, so that they can determine how much food they want their guests to eat ahead of their three course banquet.

Wedding food

Most venues will be able to provide you with a menu price or prices for each course. If the venue uses external caterers, then the price per head  is likely to be an estimate or average. Traditionally, couples tend to choose 3 courses for their sit down meal, especially if you are having further food in the evening. Plus, your guests can’t mingle while they are at table so prolonging the meal is not necessarily ideal.

Drinks with food

As wine and drinks go during the wedding breakfast session of your day, we suggest that half a bottle of wine and mineral water per person should suffice. Remember that your wedding party will be very different demographically from who you might have round for a house party. Including family and elderly teetotal relatives, there should at least be some of your party who aren’t massively keen on booze. It is rare that significantly more than 3 glasses of wine are drunk on average. If you are worried then provide 4 but make sure the venue will not charge you for unopened bottles.

Fizz for the Speeches

Allow a glass of champagne or sparkling wine per person. This should last throughout the endless speeches!  If you are looking again at a ‘package’ then make sure you know how it changes when/if you want to upgrade your choice.

Evening bar

This is up to you and can be a dangerous area! Many venues, especially hotels, may charge very high prices on the bar so be careful and do check the bar tariff before you decide. Put some money behind it if you wish, especially if you are inviting extra guests for the evening. You could also consider making your wedding a free bar if you wish to be very generous but don’t over-estimate what will be consumed. Don’t forget that your day guests will already have consumed an average of a bottle of wine each by this stage (2 reception drinks, half a bottle of wine and a glass of champagne) so are unlikely to drink much more during the evening (there are exceptions of course and you will know who they are!). If you are inviting extra guests for the evening then estimate a more usual consumption and of course many of these guests will be your age.

Evening food

We believe that you will wish to provide food for your guests in the evening, ranging from something light to something more substantial if you have those extra evening guests. Reflecting this many venues will provide ¾ size portions for day guests if you are putting on a spread for the extra guests.

Five Ways to Trim your Wedding Budget

If you are worried about your wedding budget and are thinking of ways to cut it down slightly then consider the following…

Get married mid-week

Mid-week weddings can be considerably cheaper than a weekend wedding. Minimum guest numbers may be lower too.

Choose a winter wedding

Summer weddings have been a popular choice for many years, but there is so much to love about getting married during the winter.


Rather than spend part of your wedding budget on expensive décor, consider creating your own.

Offer Prosecco instead of Champagne

Its customary to celebrate with a glass of fizz at any special occasion, but if the cost of Champagne is tipping your wedding budget over the edge, consider asking to swop this for bottles of Prosecco instead.

Delay your honeymoon

There’s no rule that say’s you need to rush off on your honeymoon the day after your wedding. If you run out of budget, delay your honeymoon until you’ve had time to replenish your bank account.