How much does the average UK wedding cost?

07 Mar 2022

Wedding spend was up by 90% in 2021, signalling a nationwide increase in the average total wedding cost

Image: Sandy Millar via Unsplash

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The National Wedding Survey by has revealed that the average cost of a wedding increased from £9,100 in 2020 to £17,300 in 2021. 

Surveying more than 2,000 British couples who held weddings the previous year, the research sought to uncover actual spend rather than intended spend for a more accurate representation of the weddings market. 

Interestingly, while almost half of respondents (48%) admitted that they had gone over budget, just 9% managed to spend less than they thought they would. 

Family continue to offer a financial crutch to couples, with 66% receiving money from family members to fund their weddings, and parents paying 61% of the total wedding cost. 

A breakdown of the couples' top five spending priorities can be found below: 

  1. Venue (£7,600)
  2. Catering (4,680)
  3. Wedding dress (£1,300)
  4. Photographer (£1,200)
  5. Groom's outfit (£500)

Their guests' experience was of utmost importance to 81% of the couples. Guest safety is also a relatively new consideration for couples in the wake of the pandemic, with 52% of weddings in 2021 featuring hand sanitiser and a third of weddings requiring guests to take a Covid test before the big day.


Above: Getty Images

Trends and traditions were also highlighted in the survey. Trends such as teetotal weddings and eco-conscious wedding planning choices were uncovered, as were the wedding traditions and conventions that still ring true: 

  • One in ten couples chose an alcohol-free celebration
  • 12% of couples adopted the new American tradition of the ‘first look’ – made popular on TikTok, where the couple break tradition and share a moment alone to see each other ahead of the wedding ceremony
  • 22% of couples included eco-friendly and sustainable elements in their wedding. 11% of couples even chose to rent their wedding attire
  • The first dance (83%), cake cutting (80%) and 'something old, new, borrowed and blue' (62%) traditions were still considered important features of a UK wedding 
  • 80% of couples saw at least one person change their last name – an increase of 5% since 2019, while only 12% included the bouquet toss in their day – a decrease of 31% from 2019. 

For more findings from the survey, find the full report here:

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