Wedding wisdom for couples planning their big day

Bride Trying On Dress

Our survey of 2,000 married adults revealed more than half (53 per cent) would make changes to their wedding day if they did it again.

Poor budgeting, not spending enough on a decent photographer and opting for a free bar also featured in the top 40 list of regrets.

While almost four in 10 (38 per cent) felt overwhelmed by the cost of their wedding, a fifth (20 per cent) had to make cutbacks due to spiralling costs.

The honeymoon was the most common item that couples decided to save cash on, with just under one in three (31 per cent) slashing their spend on a romantic getaway.

Other cutbacks include reducing the number of wedding guests (26 per cent), the venue (24 per cent), and decorations (23 per cent).



Sally Conway, Head of Consumer Communications at Shawbrook Bank Personal Loans said:

"The wedding day is one of the most special moments of a couple's lives – but it’s also one of the most expensive.

“That’s why it’s essential to factor in plenty of time to make it both a personal and financial success.

“Planning early enough and using budgeting tips to manage the various costs is one way to help couples pivot a step closer to achieving their dream day.”


Over a third (37 per cent) regret the amount of money they spent, with 50 per cent having had received financial help from their family.

While 33 per cent accepted help from their partner’s family, a fifth (19 per cent) used savings and an eighth (12 per cent) took out a personal loan.

Wedding planner Rianna Elizabeth added

“While the early planning stages can feel overwhelming, the good news is that there are techniques and ways to help steer your wedding planning in the right direction.

“Set yourselves a timeline and running order to keep you on track in the lead up to your big day. It’s important to work out your priorities as a couple too – if there are then certain compromises you need to make to save costs, it will become clearer which elements to cut back on. Wedding planning is a really exciting time, so it’s important to remember to enjoy the process!”



Our study also revealed that a third (37 per cent) said they would go smaller if they were to have their big day again.

Facilitating more guests, choice of catering and the wedding party’s outfits were among the top things people would spend less on a second time round.

But despite their regrets, 47 per cent still felt had their ‘dream day’.

And almost half (44 per cent) didn’t have to make any cutbacks – with 47 per cent of respondents able to stick to their budget.


Sally Conway added:

“Creating a budget in the early stages can help work out your priorities and keep overspending in check.

“It’s important to establish your total wedding fund early on – whether made up from current savings, future savings, family contributions or potential lending options – then you can estimate the costs of each element based on your priorities as a couple.

“We hope these learnings from married couples who have planned a wedding previously will help newly engaged couples work out their spending priorities. 

“While the budgeting process can sometimes feel daunting, we want to help arm a future wave of couples with the right tools to budget and plan effectively, so they can take a step closer to achieving their dream day and start off marriage on the right financial foot.”




Top 40 wedding regrets


We always hear about the ‘dream’ wedding but what we rarely talk about is what didn’t quite go to plan. If married couples could go back, what would they change about their wedding day? From not using a videographer to having a free bar or spending too much, we list the top 40 regrets to help newly engaged couples with their wedding planning.

  1. Didn't spend enough time with guests
  2. I worried about the little things too much
  3. I got stressed and didn't enjoy the day enough
  1. I didn’t spend enough time with guests
  2. I worried about the little things too much
  3. I got stressed and didn’t enjoy the day enough
  4. I tried too hard to please the guests – rather than myself
  5. I would choose a nicer venue
  6. I spent too much money
  7. I would choose a different wedding outfit
  8. I would choose to have a smaller ceremony
  9. I would choose a different hairstyle
  10. I should have spent more on the photographer
  11. I should have invited less people
  12. I would choose a different location for the venue (city, town, village or country)
  13. I invited too many distant relatives
  14. I didn’t plan enough beforehand  
  15. I should have invited more people        
  16. I wish I’d spent more money to make it special      
  17. Not budgeting properly        
  18. I should have gotten a videographer     
  19. I would choose different bridesmaid outfits        
  20. I would choose different flowers        
  21. I would choose different bridesmaids
  22. I would choose a different best man/woman        
  23. I would choose a less expensive venue        
  24. I should have spent more on the food        
  25. I didn’t like my evening entertainment
  26. I would choose a different maid/man of honour
  27. I would spend less on alcohol
  28. I would choose a different colour theme
  29. I would choose to have a bigger ceremony
  30. I should have invited children
  31. I wouldn’t have a free bar
  32. I should have spent more on a better band
  33. I would choose different groomsmen
  34. I shouldn’t have had so much food
  35. I wouldn’t get married in the winter
  36. I wouldn’t get married in the summer
  37. I shouldn’t have bothered with a videographer
  38. I shouldn’t have given gifts to my bridal party/groomsmen
  39. I would choose different groomsmen outfits
  40. I would choose to have the ceremony in a church