Wedding supplier costs; what you should expect to pay

28 Nov 2018

Industry experts detail how much you should expect to pay for your wedding suppliers and the service you should receive in return

Image: rawpixel via Unsplash

One of the biggest challenges when planning a wedding is sticking to a set budget, especially when you are presented with so many wonderful options for your special day. From the dress and bouquet to your venue and photography, there are so many aspects to consider and most couples will begin their wedding planning with little idea for how much each will cost. 

While cost-saving can be appealing, a sub-standard service will only cause you stress and upset - the last emotions you want to feel on your wedding day. Start your wedding planning with a general idea of how much a good, professional and reliable supplier will cost.

Here, a host of industry experts share the associated costs for a number of wedding essentials and explain just what you're getting for the price you pay. 

Venue

Once your engagement has been announced, the first step in planning your wedding is to set a date and find your venue. This will be one of your biggest outlays and prices can vary considerably, so when looking for your venue find out exactly what you get for your money. 

Francesca Cribb, group marketing manager for Bijou Wedding Venues, says: "Most couples plan to celebrate their marriage at a specialist wedding venue; a unique location or a country house with wonderful grounds that can easily accommodate a larger guest list than your average party.

"As you’ll also need planning support, luxury food, fizz and comfortable surroundings, it’s no doubt that the largest portion of your wedding budget (around 60%) will typically be spent on hiring the perfect wedding venue with everything you need to throw a great celebration, included.

"Aside from the cost of hiring the venue (which could also be available to you on a private, exclusive-use basis for 24 hours), you’ll also be gaining the planning support and expertise of the team, the wait staff and service, as well as banqueting tables and chairs, linen, cutlery and so much more. Wedding venues and their teams go the distance to ensure that you’ll be more than satisfied with the money you spent on booking the perfect venue."

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Dress

Another priority is the dress and whatever your budget, your bridal gown should make you feel like a million dollars. By visiting a few bridal boutiques, you will get an idea quite quickly of the prices you can expect to pay. If you're on a tight budget, consider off-the-peg dresses and find out when sample sales are due to take place. 

Eleanor Rafferty, owner of The Ivory Secret in Crediton, Devon, comments: "When you buy a wedding dress, so many people will have been involved with its creation – from the designer themselves, to the production team and skilled craftspeople who have pieced it together. Often hours of hand-sewing or embellishing will be required, therefore expect to pay more for gowns that have extensive detailing.

"Fabric choices also affect cost; silk and natural fibres being the most expensive. That said, we source many synthetic alternatives that are a high quality alternative while suiting a smaller budget. With prices starting from £200 for individual pieces in our Catherine Deane bridal separates collection, ranging to £2,400 for our most embellished gowns, The Ivory Secret has a range of options to suit many budgets."

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Groomswear

The groom should also look smart, suave and sophisticated on his wedding day and finding a suit that offers the perfect fit while ticking all the boxes in colour, cut and style is no mean feat. Look online or visit menswear suppliers to get a more accurate indication of the price you're looking at.

Anna Hare, owner of Pure Brides and Grooms in Norwich, Norfolk, says: "Weddings are not necessarily all about the bride; we’ve seen a huge increase in the numbers of grooms who want to look fabulous on their wedding day, and they also want all the gents/boys in their party to wear a matching outfit. 

"This is most easily and cost effectively achieved by hiring your menswear. Here at Pure Suit Hire our suits range in price from £60 up to £175, with the majority of our full outfits averaging around £100.  We offer our grooms the most choice in Norwich, and we enable them to hire all the suits for their party along with the option to either buy or hire their own. We offer the largest size range, from around the age of two right up to a 60-inch chest, and by doing so, accommodate every member of the groom's party."

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Photography

When it comes to your wedding photography, you'll want to put your faith in a highly experienced individual who can perfectly capture all those precious wedding moments as they unfold. Not only that, but you'll want someone who you can get along with on the day and who commands your guests with authority yet likeability. Your wedding photography lasts a lifetime, so don't take this decision lightly. 

Roland Blunk of Suffolk photography team, ROL&REW, says: "One point that should be understood, is that the 'wedding shoot’ is only a part of any photographer’s work. As much time and invariably far more, is spent on picture editing and post-production following the event.

"If you put your wedding photography in the hands of a student photographer, then perhaps a very token fee of around £500 is applicable. They may have commendable enthusiasm and be keen to increase their portfolio and experience, however this may be a high risk, cost-cutting manoeuvre.

"A semi-professional photographer with perhaps a little more experience and a few good shots could charge around £750, but this can still be a high risk commission. For around £1,500 you may be targeting good competent work, safer but may lack flair. 

"Moving up the ladder, you would expect to receive a far higher level of consistently good photography, with a defined style running throughout. And for this you might expect to pay a minimum of £2,000."

Read more about photography prices and an encounter Roland's business partner, Andrew Florides, experienced where he had to highlight the extensive work of a wedding photographer here.

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Stationery

As the first insight into your wedding theme, your wedding stationery can serve as a personal reflection of you as a couple and offers a beautiful keepsake. Save the dates, invitations, RSVPs, orders of service, menus, table plans, table names, place settings and menus can be provided as an all-encompassing stationery suite or you can choose a selection of the components you need. 

Jane D'Arcy, owner of Norfolk-based Little Pea Designs, says: "Personalised and co-ordinated wedding stationery packages vary greatly in price dependent on many factors but a couple looking for an exclusive, quality stationery suite of save the dates, invitations, seating plan and place cards should expect to spend between £500 and £1,000.

"For this, you should expect to work with a stationer that is able to understand your requirements and capture your ideas. They should be able to advise on all aspects of wedding stationery from invitation etiquette to the most suitable designs for your needs. It’s also important for your stationer to liaise with other suppliers on the details and styling."

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Image: Cara Zagni Photography

Flowers

Beautiful bouquets and floral displays which echo your colour scheme can bring a wedding theme to life in an instant. While the cost for your perfect flowers can be considerable, the price is warranted by the expert services of a professional florist who will advise on seasonal and aesthetic suitability and arrange your floral choices to ensure the perfect finish. The price can also account for delivery to the venue on the day of or before the wedding.

Megan Nurse at Bridget's Flowers in King's Lynn, Norfolk, says: "A standard wedding package usually includes bouquets (average of four/five including the brides), buttonholes, a few floral displays and delivery; we charge anywhere between £250-500 for this service.

"A more advanced package including table displays, church and reception displays, archways, floral installations, foliage runners etc, could cost anything from £750-2,000 (an average spend of £1,000-£1,500). It all depends on how lavish and luxurious you would like to go.

"The great thing about wedding flowers is the price can be adapted and altered to work within your budget. Florists who use locally sourced flowers from growers and farmers in the area can also cut out shipping costs and pricey overseas fees."

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Cake

It's the masterpiece all your guests will be waiting for, so don't cut corners on your wedding cake. 

Suzanne Thorp, owner and cake designer of The Frostery in Lancashire, advises: "A classic three-tier wedding cake to serve 150 people from an artisan cake designer might typically cost between £500 and £1000, or from an amateur home baker it may be much less.

"There are many different factors that determine the price of a wedding cake from the cost of ingredients and materials to the cake designer's experience and expertise. A crucial factor will be the complexity or intricacy of the design and the time it will take to complete.

"Starting with the design and consultation process, a cake maker will have often dedicated many hours to realising each client’s individual cake, particularly for a bespoke design involving a large amount of handmade sugarcraft elements."

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Image: Cake from £950, photography by Phil Drinkwater

Transport

Ensuring you travel in style from your ceremony to reception venue is the perfect way to enjoy the VIP treatment on your wedding day. The options are endless when it comes to wedding transport, with a classic car, supercar, VW campervan or horse and carriage as just some of the choices available to couples. But how much should you look to pay?

Kevin Ketteridge, director of Silverline Limousines & Wedding Cars - based in Norfolk, says: "We are often asked 'how much is wedding transport?' and the answer is dependent on the couple's requirements.

"The first would be the date of the wedding; a wedding on a Monday to Thursday in the winter would attract a considerable discount to one on a Saturday in the summer. Secondly, just a bridal party drop-off at the wedding venue would be less expensive than a home to church to reception venue journey. The type of transport is another factor; a vintage style car would command more expense than an executive saloon car.

"It is appreciated that couples have budgeted for their wedding, so it is advisable that they discuss their requirements with a professional wedding transport provider who will advise on options and tariffs and ensure the best available for them."

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Entertainment

Give your guests a party to remember with entertainment that keeps the dance floor filled all night long. Whether you contact a local band directly or use an agency, the same considerations need to be made.

Steven Robertson, marketing manager at Entertainment Nation, says: "The cost of a professional wedding band ranges from £300 to £800+ for a solo or duo, to £600 to £2,500+ for a trio or four-piece band, to £1,200+ for a five-piece and larger bands. The largest factor in the fee is to pay each musician for their time and musical expertise. Other factors include time of year, day of the week, the long hours and travel expenses.

"A good wedding band will create an electrifying atmosphere through spectacular musicianship, thrilling audience interaction and the unerring ability to drop the perfect song at the perfect moment. That’s not to mention a live performance of your first dance song and the high-end instruments, sound equipment and lighting equipment your band will supply and set up."

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