How Much Should A Wedding Cost?
Ah yes, the elephant in the room. It’s big, it’s a grey area, and it can be scary if you don’t know what’s going on. Sound elephantine enough? Wedding budgets are super scary things, and it can be incredibly intimidating to come into it not knowing where to even begin. It can turn the mood very quickly from exciting to very sombre: excited, giggly, alcohol-fuelled planning swiftly makes way for tables, addition and colour coordinated pens.
Naturally, you’d probably look on the internet, or ask friends if you’re happy with candid coffee chats about your dollah. However, if you have looked online for some help, you’ll probably have noticed a recent trend of publications and outlets absolutely SLATING modern weddings and their suppliers for costing too much. Rinse wedding fairs for what they’re worth with fake email addresses, don’t hire wedding photographers because all your guests will have iPhones, and don’t join the wedding industry because everyone involved are money-grabbing pseudo-nice, anti-feminists, have all been genuine nuggets of wisdom that have been churned out recently. Ok great, you think, these are cost-saving tips. But what they’re saving for you in money, they’re losing you in quality and skill.
What’s most important for us (and most other people in the industry too) is that you have the day you want to have, and if that means no photographer, cakes made by your grandma and a reception at the local pub, then we completely support you in that decision, and wish you not only the best day but a lifetime of happiness. However, if this isn’t your dream day, and you want to know how much a wedding should cost, we’re here to help.
Question: How much does a wedding cost?
Answer: however much you want it to.
If you think that’s a cop-out answer, we’ve helpfully collated most of the other facts you can glean off the internet on this topic: the average wedding is £27,000, and an average London wedding is £38,000, according to Harper’s Bazaar. Most of this (about £5000) is spent on food, followed by the dress (just over £1000). But the reason we don’t think these are particularly relevant to this article is because beyond average breakdowns of a certain number of couples, the numbers don’t tell you anything about your specific situation. Genuinely and truly, weddings are unique celebrations, all about your relationship and your irreplaceable story, celebrating with your one-of-a-kind group of loved ones to create an inimitable and unforgettable experience. These kind of things can’t be signposted by what some entirely detached bride from Ealing did with her day, nor a groom from Edinburgh who you wouldn’t know if he punched you in the face. Your wedding should cost what you think is fair for what you’re getting – it really is as simple as that.
We realise this isn’t hugely helpful for budget preparation though, so our plea is to really do your research with your suppliers to ascertain your budget. Articles that suggest you should forgo suppliers in an area really important to your day absolutely break our hearts to read. One of those recently was aimed at photographers and the price tag they carry. Photographers can seem like a lot of money in an age where most of your guests will have a great phone camera and some editing software (VSCO or instagram, anyone?) but behind that price tag is exceptional skill, top of the range equipment (better than your iPhone 7 camera, no matter how well it takes up-close shots in focus) and years of experience . It’s also reflective of the time spent editing them and crafting them to send to you so that they’re absolutely perfect and trust us when we say, this takes a hell of a lot of time and skill. If getting photos of the major parts of the day is important to you, then relying on the multitude of phones from your relatives and friends is a risky business. The angles, lighting, focus, and timing won’t be the same. Even if you don’t want organised, static photos but are looking at candid shots instead, your friends still aren’t going to be able to anticipate the best moments quite as well as a photographer with loads of weddings under their belt would do. Not to mention that as talented as your friend may be at manipulating Instagram filters, they are never going to be able to capture your wedding day like a good photographer would – compare your friends Facebook photos to those of a professional photographer and you will see what you are paying for. If you like a photographer, take a look at their portfolio (which should include multiple weddings, to show you the true breadth of their work), and have a meeting with them or a pre-engagement photoshoot, to see if you get on well with them. If you do, your photos are going to be exceptional, and you’ll treasure them forever. Well worth the price tag, we think.
This goes for all suppliers, too. If you want to cut corners, cut corners in areas that aren’t as crucial to you. If you’ve seen a dream cake on Pinterest and want everyone to have at least one piece, make sure you go to someone who shares your vision – don’t leave it to someone who has only ever made one square fruitcake with marzipan and some misspelt writing icing before. The best ingredients, time spent and the skill involved in the intricate work of wedding cake decoration all deserve proper payment. The same goes with the dress, the venue, the food, the wine, the shoes, the entertainment…decide what is most important for you and work from there.
And as for the suppliers, remember that they’re not out to get you at all. We’re not going to hammer the line that they’ve got mouths to feed and rent to pay – you know that, and chances are you do as well. More importantly than their price tag, the wedding industry especially is full of exceptionally talented people who pour their heart and soul into your wedding day and do everything in their power to make your dreams come true. Very few wedding suppliers feel blasé about a wedding they’re asked to contribute to, because they realise how important it is for you. If you do your research, you’ll unearth an incredible goldmine of ridiculous innovation and creativity. Strike up a conversation with your supplier and be completely honest about what you want and what you can do, and you’ll unearth an incredible goldmine of care too.
Cookie-cutter, we are not. Money grabbing, we are not. Pseudo-nice, we are absolutely not. Anti-feminist, we. Are. Not. Here to help you have the dream day you want, on your budget, no matter what your budget? You bet your life we are.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.
Written by Ellie Kime