Insights 13min(s)

The ultimate guide to financing your wedding

We hear congratulations are in order. But now, it’s time to plan your big day – which, of course includes paying for the wedding itself. At Shawbrook we can help you finance the cost of your wedding with a personal loan, but there are other methods of finance you should also consider which are outlined further in this guide.

Bride And Groom Standing At The Alter

Your mind may be wandering towards your dream dress or rolling up to your perfect venue in that vintage Jag – but, before you get carried away, there are some really important things you’ll need to consider.

So, to help you out, we’ve broken down some of the potential costs to try and give you a better idea of how you might spend your money.  


What do the stats say?

According to the 2019 National Wedding Survey by, the average cost of a wedding in 2019 reached £31,974.

We all know weddings can be expensive, but the rising cost may be more than you’ve budgeted for. Wanting to better understand the costs and decisions involved when financing a wedding, we conducted our own research and it had some interesting findings.

Our research showed that nearly two-thirds (65%) of married couples who tied the knot in the last five years underestimated the cost of their wedding and the majority had to borrow extra funds to cover it.

Nearly a quarter of those we surveyed said they overspent by more than £20,000, 12% blew their budget by more than £50,000 and shockingly 4% said the cost of their wedding increased by more than £100,000!

This guide will help you to budget for the additional costs you may not have considered when planning your finances for your big day.


The ultimate wedding costs checklist

First thing’s first – before scrolling down, you might want to print a copy of this checklist.

Besides the obvious things (flowers, rings, cake etc.), there may be a few things on the list that you might not yet have thought about. We’d recommend keeping a copy of this up at home, so you can tick things off as and when you like.

Newlyweds-to-be across the UK will have different size budgets and, what you spend it on and how you split the budget up, is totally your call.  

But what sort of costs could you expect per item?

Out of curiosity, we used the Budget Planner tool available to customers on to get some insight into how they’d go about dividing a wedding budget.

You can try it out for yourself if you sign up. Just enter your budget, and the tool splits it across a number of different items related to a wedding – from outfits to venue hire.

Each item has its own unique ‘suggested’ allocation from the budget provided, which is a percentage of the overall.

For example, according to budget planner – its suggested % of budget allocated to the wedding dress for a £30,000 wedding is the same as its suggested % of budget allocated to the wedding dress for a £10,000 wedding, and so on.

Although the budget planner splits up the spend as a percentage of the overall budget, it’s important to be realistic. For example, in the ‘real world’ some items could be discretionary with a smaller budget, whereas some may be seen as essential. For example, somebody with a £10K budget may allocate a higher percentage of their budget on food, venue hire and entertainment as somebody with a £30K budget but save money on some of the smaller extras. It’s also important to note that some items are likely to always have the same static fee – like registrar fees, for instance.

As we’ve already mentioned every couple has a different budget in mind depending on their situation, so to reflect that we’ve used a £10K budget and a £30K budget to give you an idea of what the different costs could look like.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the Budget Planner tool is simply a guide to help you get a better idea of how you could split your wedding budget.

Ultimately, you should be responsible and only spend as much as you can afford.


Pre-wedding costs

Before you make it to the ceremony, there are some key things worth considering.


Wedding rings

Wedding bands vary in style from the design to the metal used, ranging from a simple gold wedding band to diamond encrusted platinum bands.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 4% of your overall budget (bride and grooms ring)
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £395 - £1,184

Ring insurance

This isn’t essential of course, but it might be something you want to consider. The cost of this completely depends on the value of your ring(s).


Wedding stationery

Invite your friends and family, or ask them to save the date of your wedding, with bridal stationery.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 0.8% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £77 - £231 

Wedding insurance

Weddings can end up costing a lot when you add everything up so you’ll want to make sure you’re fully prepared and protected, just in case anything goes wrong.

From cancellations to illnesses, buying wedding insurance could save you a lot of money and hassle if the worst happens.

Insurance isn’t actually factored into the Budget Planner – but, you might want to consider it in your own.


Wedding Dress Store

Wedding outfit costs

You and the bridal party will need to look the part on the big day – and we’re not just talking about the bride’s dress (although that’s a big part of it).

Wedding dress

The wedding dress is the centrepiece when it comes to wedding outfits, so you can only imagine how much time and effort goes into choosing ‘the one’.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 5.1% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £509 - £1,526

Wedding shoes

When a bride is on her feet all day, every penny will be worth it for beautiful, yet comfortable shoes.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 0.5% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £48 - £144

Garter and bridal lingerie

After spending all that money on a dress, the bride shouldn’t have to skimp on what she’s wearing underneath.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 0.4% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £37 - £111


It’s become popular to pair a traditional veil with a contemporary headpiece like a bridal comb, vine, or headband but this is totally up to the bride to be.

Budget planner suggests approximately 1% of your overall budget
Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £94 - £282

Bridal jewellery

Add the perfect finishing touches with bridal jewellery.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 0.7% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £67 - £201

Makeup/hair/other beauty treatments

Hire professional make-up artists and hairdressers to pamper the bride, and make sure the bridal party are looking their best for all the photos.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 1.8% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £178 - £535

Bridesmaid dress

Obviously this cost will increase the more bridesmaids you have.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 1.5% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £148 - £445

Suit hire for groom/groomsmen

A lot of grooms find little difference in cost between hiring and buying a suit, weighing up the convenience of suit hire over the benefits of owning and wearing the suit again in future. The cost suggested below depends on how many groomsmen you choose to have.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 1.4% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £141 - £424

Groom’s shoes

Invest in some smart new shoes to take the lead in your first dance as man and wife.

  • Budget planner suggests 0.4% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £40 - £120
Bride And Groom Holding Hands Aerial View

Wedding ceremony costs

Before you even say ‘I do’ – there are a few things you’ll have to pay for to make the day as special as it should be…


Factor some room in the budget for boutonnières, bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids, and flowers to dress the venue.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 1.2% of your overall budget (bridesmaids flowers and flowers for the bride)
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £119 - £358

Venue fees

These fees are based on a typical registry office or church wedding.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 2.1% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £209 - £628

Photography and videography

Document your day and capture intimate moments to remember forever.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 8% of your overall budget (photographer and videographer)
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £789 - £2,368


It’s always good to make an entrance. From a horse-drawn carriage to a prestige sports car, you might need to find some room in your budget for arriving in style. 

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 1.8% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £182 - £545


Wedding reception costs

With a well-planned wedding budget, the only thing you’ll need to worry about is the Best Man’s speech when it comes to the reception.

The venue

Not surprisingly, this usually takes up a large chunk of your budget, especially if it is separate to the wedding venue. Plus, there are things like the table decorations, place settings and chair covers to think about too.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 18.2% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £1,806 - £5,148

You should consider which venue is best for you and your budget. Couples are starting to consider different times of year or types of venue to reduce the overall cost. Our research showed that 29% of respondents who got married overseas, did so because the cost was cheaper.



From providing refreshments and canapes throughout the day to a buffet or sit-down dinner at the evening do, your guests will definitely need food and drinks to keep them going.

Choose your combination of canapes, meals and drinks, to get the best value for you.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 19.6% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £1,949 - £5,847


Make your multi-tiered cake a focal point during the reception.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 1.2% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £119 - £356


Whether you choose a band or DJ, a string quartet or a magician performing close-up tricks, you’ll need to keep your guests entertained.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 3.6% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £355- £1,064
Wedding Outside Lights

Wedding day extras

Wedding day extras are either the ‘nice to haves’ or the ‘hidden’ wedding costs that can crop up unexpectedly.


After the vows have been made, speeches have been spoken, and you and your guests have danced the night away, the bride and groom usually kick back and relax in a nice hotel room. If that’s what you want, you’ll need to add hotel accommodation into your budget.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 3.6% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £361 - £1,082

Party favours

It’s not a must have but it’s a nice gesture to give your guests a thank you token for making the day so memorable.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 0.6% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £64 - £192

Thank you gifts (for bridal party)

They’ve put the effort in to making your day as special as it should be, so a little thank you gift is good to have on the list.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 1% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £137 - £237

Hidden wedding costs

Keep a little extra aside to account for unexpected costs. Things like dress or suit alterations, a meal for your photographer, or corkage fees at the reception venue.

Just Married Confetti With Hearts

Post-wedding costs

The spending usually continues beyond the big day depending on your plans.

The only thing included in the Budget Planner here is the honeymoon. We’ve thrown in a couple of potential costs of our own which you might not have thought about before…


The honeymoon

This is not an essential but most newlyweds like to have a honeymoon or even have a few days away together after the wedding itself. Whether it’s a quiet cottage in the countryside or an exotic location abroad you’ll need to make sure you add it into the budget.

  • Budget planner suggests approximately 21.6% of your overall budget
  • Range of spend for a £10k and £30k budget: £2,147 - £6,442

Changing your name on your passport

This isn’t actually considered in the Budget planner, but if either of the newlyweds wish to change their surnames, they’ll need to pay to update their passport.

  • This is £75.50 if you apply online or £85 to apply with a paper form from the Post Office.

Thank you notes and stamps

Say thank you for your wedding gifts with a thoughtful note and don’t forget to budget for stamps.

This type of thing is optional of course – and the cost completely depends on how many you choose to send out.


Finance options when paying for a wedding

So, you’ve got a good idea of what the wedding will cost after you’ve planned it all out – it’s time to start thinking about the different options available to help finance the big day.

There are 4 main ways to pay for a wedding:

  • Savings
  • Contributions from friends and family
  • Credit Card
  • Personal Loan


It depends on how expensive your wedding is, but it’s probably unlikely that the average couple will be able to pay for the lot with their savings.

If you do have some cash saved up, you might put some towards the wedding or perhaps the honeymoon.

Paying for your wedding with your savings instead of taking out a loan or using any other type of lending means you’ll avoid having to pay interest (which can of course, bump up the cost). But, it may also mean you don’t have any money in the ‘rainy day fund’ when it’s all over.

You’ll also need to be super organised to stay within your budget, and keep track of every wedding related deposit and small payment you make with your cash.


Contributions from friends and family

This may be a bit old fashioned but, in many traditions, the bride’s family are expected to pay towards the overall cost of the wedding. Our research found that 15% of parents felt pressure from their child to pay towards their wedding*.

Things have changed over the years with the bride and groom parting from tradition and choosing to self-fund their own wedding costs. 

However, we found that 60% of those people we surveyed* said they felt under financial pressure because of wedding costs and this has potentially led families to still consider contributing to make the day extra special and ease some of the financial burden for soon-to-be newlyweds.


Credit Card

Credit cards are often used to help cover the cost of some of the wedding expenses, especially the smaller costs. When surveyed, 70%* of married couples who’s wedding cost more than they had budgeted for borrowed extra money to cover the shortfall. We also found that 17% of couples we surveyed, finance their wedding through credit cards.

0% interest credit cards are favourable as you usually have a period of time where you pay 0% interest on the money you spend. You need to be careful, because after that period ends, there’s an interest rate to pay which is set out in your terms. If you do not repay the money spent within that period, you will end up paying interest, which can often higher than some other finance options.

If you’re planning on using multiple credit cards to pay for some of the costs, we would advise you keep a record of all the money spent on each card so that you know exactly what you owe, which means that you can keep on top of your budget and repayments.

Credit cards can come in handy in this scenario when they are linked to a rewards system, like cashback or . For example, some people use them to help offset certain costs and use the rewards towards booking flights for their honeymoon.


Personal Loans

Taking out a personal loan to pay for your wedding is a good option if you want the flexibility of borrowing what you need and then being able to pay back the loan over an agreed period of time. We found that 14% of those who needed to borrow extra money to fund their wedding used a personal loan.

Let’s say you come to Shawbrook and apply for a quote for a wedding loan. You want to borrow £8,000 to help cover some of your wedding costs and want to pay back the loan over a 5-year period (60 months).

If you’re successful in getting a quote and we offer you the loan, this is what your wedding loan could look like:

Representative Example  
Representative APR* 16.9% (fixed)
Loan Amount £8,000
Loan Term 5 years (60 months)
Annual Interest Rate 16.9% p.a. (fixed)
Monthly Payment £193.34
Total to Repay £11,600.59

*Note: All loans are subject to status. The APR you are offered could differ depending on the lender you choose to borrow from, their assessment of your financial circumstances and your chosen loan amount. Terms and conditions will also apply.


Once we’ve paid the money into your account, you can start to make purchases and pay deposits or balances to your wedding suppliers.

You’ll just need to make sure you pay back what you owe each month until the loan is fully repaid.

If you don’t want to spread the cost of the wedding over a period of time and can pay for your wedding with your savings, or if you can get another finance option which costs less or has a lower rate of interest, a personal loan might not be for you. 

Whatever budget you do choose, make sure it’s a figure that you can comfortably afford.

At Shawbrook, we can lend from £1,000 to £50,000 to help supplement the cost of your special day and our loan terms span from one to seven years.

*Our consumer survey was conducted by 3GEM Research & Insights and was undertaken between the 1st of November and Monday 18th November 2019. The sample was 502 UK adults aged between 30 and 65 who had got married in the last five years.

Think a personal loan might be right for you?

While you’re here you can apply for a quote to get your own personalised guaranteed rate for a personal loan from Shawbrook. You’ll get an instant decision and it won’t impact your credit score.