Paying for your wedding

Cash-strapped Brits cut back on wedding day luxuries

7 September 2009

Traditional weddings are falling by the wayside as couples struggle to fund their nuptials, report says.

Couples planning their wedding day should also be planning how to pay for it, as research from AA Savings reveals that over 30% of engaged couples have less than £100 saved.

One recent survey1 put the average cost of a wedding at an eye-watering £21,000 – but findings from AA Savings suggest that couples are cutting out the trimmings before heading up the aisle and are more likely to spend under £7,500.

In fact, more than two thirds (66%) say they will spend below £7,500 on their wedding, with a quarter (24.6%) planning to spend a frugal £2,000 or less.

Mark Huggins, director of AA Savings, says: "Your wedding day marks a promise made for a lifetime and many couples seem to agree that this is far more important than the trimmings that last only a day.

"Our research shows that 71% of couples are saving up for their great day and although a third said they had so far put aside only £100, on average savvy couples have already saved more than £2,000.

"But planning ahead and making the most of your money is vital – whether you're spending £2,000 or £20,000, it's important to make sure you're earning a good interest rate on your savings."

The research reveals that couples are finding a variety of ways to fund their wedding with fewer than 16% of couples expecting to follow tradition with the bride's parents paying up, although 21% say both sets of parents will chip in. Selling possessions (8%), selling a car (6%) and taking a second job (9%) are things couples expect to do to foot the wedding bills.

And, although four out of five (80%) of couples will marry in the UK, a quarter of those opting for an overseas wedding say it's to save money because of the economic climate. "For many couples, an overseas wedding can be a lot cheaper than one at home, especially as it usually means very few – or even no – guests," suggests Huggins.

Cutting back on the trimmings

Because of the recession, half of couples (48%) say they will spend less on their wedding than they would like to. The top 10 ways of cutting back include:

  • Making own invitations (45%)
  • Making own thank you cards (40%)
  • Inviting fewer guests (36%)
  • Cutting down on all luxuries (32%)
  • Getting a friend to do the photography (31%)
  • Do own hair and make up (26%)
  • Ask a friend to DJ (23%)
  • No posh car (22%)
  • Buffet instead of a sit down meal (19%)
  • No balloons (18%)

Other findings:

  • The average bride will spend £751 on her wedding dress
  • The average wedding venue will set the happy couple back £1,526
  • Couples will on average spend £1,527 on their honeymoon
  • On average, savvy couples have already saved £2,337

Huggins says that couples should think about how they save, not just what they can save. "A fixed-rate account is a good idea as it removes the temptation to raid your savings before the great day. Despite the recession, some accounts are paying good interest rates – for example, the AA's internet fixed-rate account pays 4.35% gross/AER2 over two years"


1Weddingplan survey, June 2009

2Recently-launched AA Savings accounts:

  • 4.35% gross/AER 2 year Internet fixed rate (min £500, max £5m)
  • 4.25% gross/AER 2 year Telephone fixed rate (min £500, max £5m)

Interest is calculated daily and paid on anniversary of first deposit and again at maturity, or on the first day of each month for the monthly interest option. 4.05% gross/AER 16 month Internet fixed rate (min £500, max £5m)

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7 September 2009