Wedding costs and coronavirus considerations that every bride-to-be should be aware of

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If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, chances are that you’ve imagined what your big day would be like every now and again.

From appreciating the small details of a friend’s ‘Save the Date’ stationery to thinking about your first dance when the playlist skips to ‘your song’ – you know that there’s a lot of hard work that goes into making it the happiest day of your life.

However, no amount of wedding planning could foresee recent events. The coronavirus pandemic has seen many weddings cancelled. Even couples who were still able to go ahead with the ceremony are likely to have had to downscale the number of guests attending, and limit celebrations.

64% of weddings are expected to be postponed in 2020 and the UK wedding industry is predicted to suffer a loss of £87.5 billion in revenue, according to a widely reported study.

Although current restrictions and the ongoing uncertainty are hurdles for every bride, one silver lining is that a postponement of a wedding or wedding plans can give you more time to budget and think about the things and wedding costs you may have forgotten to factor in.

Whether you’re planning to get married this year or the next, there are some extra considerations to keep in mind in the current climate too. We’ve put together a few bride-specific elements to remember when you’re budgeting with your partner.

The bridal outfit

The wedding outfit is likely to be the biggest single wedding expense for a bride-to-be. But with so much choice out there from preloved gowns and high street ‘off the peg’ dresses to bridal boutiques and expertly tailored suits – you’re sure to find the look of your dreams within your given budget.

When it comes to shopping for wedding dresses, you’re likely to come across a few hidden costs. For example, if you set your heart on a particular dress designer and find the only bridal shop to stock their designs is at the other end of the country, you’ll need to factor extra room in your budget for things like travel, parking, or even paying an appointment fee. And, of course, this may not be practical in current times with the rise of local lockdowns.

Even once you’ve selected your dress, you may have to pay for any alterations to ensure it fits perfectly.

The bridal get-up doesn’t just stop with the main outfit - whether that’s a dress, suit, or jumpsuit. There are shoes, veils, and even jewellery to consider too. Bridal accessories will fall into a range of price points so it’s worthwhile shopping around to get the best value for your money.

 

Beauty treatments

Every bride wants to look and feel their best on their big day so it’s no surprise that most brides tend to put a little money aside for things like hair and beauty treatments.

Quite often, brides will opt to have their hair and make-up done by professionals, with others choosing beauty treatments like facials, waxing or massages.

Combine this with the other costs of getting ready and they can quickly start to stack up, but you shouldn’t feel pressured to buy into what’s seen as the status quo - particularly if this will put a strain on your budget. Ultimately, you can still look and feel your best without any of these extras.

The bridal party

Depending on the type of wedding you’re organising, you’re likely to have at least one bridesmaid.

Bridesmaids might pay towards their own outfits if you ask, but you might need to pay some initial costs – especially if you do the ordering yourself.

And, from increasingly extravagant ways to ask your best friends to be at your side to thank you gifts for all their help, there seems to be additional pressure on brides to spend more on their bridesmaids too.

Although none of the bridal party extras are necessary, it’s definitely worth thinking about how many bridesmaids you can afford first before inviting all of your nearest and dearest to join. Keeping the numbers low can help ensure your wedding expenses stay manageable.

Don’t forget the hen party, either. Food, drinks, activities, outfits, travel, and accommodation associated with modern hen party celebrations can all start to add up, so make sure you stay in control of your spending.

Of course, if you’re getting married soon, your hen party is likely to be different from what you had planned. As long as social distancing remains in place, many traditional hen activities are out-of-bounds. A trip abroad is also a risk, given that the government can enforce mandatory 14-day quarantine once you return from other countries at short notice. You may want to consider hosting a smaller hen party than you normally would, or saving for a post-wedding celebration with friends instead.

The flowers

Many people forget to factor in flowers as a wedding cost and therefore into their overall budget. This can be a costly oversight.

You’ll need to consider the cost of flowers in the venue(s), as well as any worn as lapels or carried by bridesmaids or a flower girl. And of course, there’s the bridal bouquet which sometimes needs a small budget of its own.

 

The honeymoon

Obviously, at the moment, honeymoons - and holidays in general - can be tricky to plan for. However, once you are able to get away safely, there are a few extra costs to consider beyond the obvious things such as travel insurance, flights and accommodation.

For example, some brides may wish to officially change their name on their passport to reflect their newly-wed status.

Changing your name is pretty straightforward, but it does incur a cost. You can change your name on your passport up to three months before the ceremony or any time after it, by sending your marriage certificate and applying online at www.gov.uk or via an application form from the Post Office.

Just make sure you’ve enough money left over to cover the fee.

Consider holiday spending money and any new wardrobe purchases within your budget too.

You may want to rethink your holiday plans and choose to stay in the UK while international travel is uncertain, which could save you money despite the increased demand for domestic destinations.

 

Understanding your rights regarding coronavirus and weddings

In these unusual times, it can be hard to know what rights you have as a consumer and a bride-to-be.

We strongly advise that you make yourself fully aware of the small print when booking or paying for deposits on venues, photographers and honeymoons etc. According to Which? many couples have been left out of pocket due to venues refusing to offer refunds for weddings cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus.  

Moving forward, these are things everyone getting married needs to be aware of so make sure you go over any terms and conditions in fine detail. You should also consider your financial situation and the options available to you.

If you’re looking for guidance on planning or rescheduling your wedding for 2021, click here to read our interview with wedding planner Rianna Elizabeth who offers her top ten tips for tying the knot in 2021.

For more information about your rights to a refund if you need to change or cancel a wedding, visit:

MoneySavingExpert’s article about wedding and coronavirus rights