Planning and Advice

Explained: Why are Weddings so Expensive?

Photo by Ellie Merridale Wedding Photography
Photo by Ellie Merridale Wedding Photography

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It’s no secret that weddings can be expensive. In fact, the average amount spent on a wedding in the UK is £32,000- this is no small feat. Which is why, when you start planning your wedding, getting those first few quotes in from suppliers can be a bit of shock. So, let’s take a look at exactly why weddings cost so much. 

One thing you might hear from friends and family is something along the lines of, ‘as soon as you use the word wedding, they hike the price up’, or ‘tell them it’s a party, they’ll charge way less’. In some ways, this is true. If you were throwing a birthday party, your budget would absolutely be a lot less. But, you’ll also end up with an entirely different style of event. So, what it comes down to is what kind of wedding day do you want? 

If you’re keen to keep the costs down and welcome the idea of something small and low-key, or even a bigger event that is vibrant and fun, but cuts a few corners here and there- then it is absolutely possible to plan a wonderful wedding celebration for a much lower cost. Ultimately, your ceremony and registration fees are likely to be around the £500 mark- after that, you’re free to celebrate in any way you wish! Our top wedding planning tip is always to plan the day you really want- regardless of what tradition or friends and family members might dictate. Make your own tradition. Go with what matters most to you, as a couple.  

If what you do want is something a little more special than a typical party, your budget will be higher, to accommodate the extra level of service you’re receiving from your suppliers. Your wedding is a labour of love. It is the result of a collaboration of talented individuals, from your florist, to your photographer, to your hair and make up artist- and everyone in between. It’s a quest for perfection (whatever your definition of perfection might be!) and that means that every detail must be considered and taken care of. 

Photo by Chris Barber Photography

So, what exactly are you paying for? 

Firstly, and potentially most importantly, you’re paying for your suppliers’ experience. For a service of the highest quality, whether that be your venue or your stationery, you’re paying for the years that have been spent mastering that craft and fine tuning that customer experience.

Let’s see what this might look like, for different types of suppliers. 

Your Venue

Not only are you paying for use of the beautiful venue you’ve fallen in love with from early in the morning until late at night (potentially with additional access the day before or after, too), but you’re also paying for the skilled and experienced team that come with it. From your dedicated coordinator, to the chefs and wait staff, to the maintenance staff and anyone else who might contribute, this team of people work together to make sure your wedding day runs without a hitch.

This involves emails, phone calls, venue visits and show-rounds, in-depth planning meetings, menu tastings, the list goes on- all before your wedding day has even started. Then there’s the additional work that goes on behind the scenes. From liaising with all your other suppliers and co-ordinating their comings-and-goings, to internal prep, set up and clean up. 

This all mounts up to hours and hours of work carried out by your venue, so that instead of running your wedding day, you can just enjoy it. Your venue has every final detail covered, so you can relax and savour every moment- with none of the stress or worry. A service well worth paying for.  

Venue is Danesfield House Hotel and Spa

Your Cake

First and foremost, the most obvious difference between a birthday cake and a wedding cake is it’s size. Baking, decorating and assembling a three or four tiered cake is of course going to be more pricey than a standard 1 tier victoria sponge. But there’s so much more to it than that. 

It’s likely your cake is being designed and baked bespoke to your wedding day. This takes thought and time. It involves first, second and sometimes even third consultations. Sketches and tastings. Emails, phone calls and final tweaks- all before your cake maker has even grabbed their mixing bowl. 

From there, there’s the quality ingredients to think about. The skill it takes to craft something as pretty as it is delicious. The time it takes to hand-decorate 4 intricate tiers. 

And then of course, the delivery. Carefully packing, lifting, driving and setting-up the finished cake, so it arrives safe and sound on your wedding day- almost as if by magic! 

This all mounts up to a pretty epic task. 

Cake by Cherry Tree Cakerie

Your Photographer

We all know that the key to beautiful photography isn’t as simple as picking up a camera. It takes an immensely talented individual with years of experience behind them, to capture the kind of wedding photo that takes your breath away. So, part of what you’re paying for here comes down to the look and style of photography you want. Yes, you might find someone out there who’s cheaper. But, much like your local fish and chips is a lot cheaper than the Michelin star restaurant you’ve been lusting over- you get what you pay for.  

You’re also relying on your photographer to capture crucial but fleeting moments, so that you can treasure them forever. From when your partner first saw you at the ceremony, to the most hilarious or emotional goings-on at the reception, your photographer only has one chance to get this right. They’re a fun-hunter, a joy-capturer, a guest-herder. They have to photograph all the most important bits, without taking over or getting in the way. It’s hard work and it’s a lot of pressure. 

And then there’s the time your photographer is spending on your wedding. Not only are they with you for the full day, from your getting ready shots to your guests hitting the dance floor, there’s all the work that happens before and afterwards. Ahead of the wedding, there’s phone calls, emails, consultations and maybe even an engagement shoot. Afterwards, there’s hours of careful editing to be done before the finished shots can be delivered. 

On top of it all, there’s the cost of the high quality equipment itself- cameras, lenses, tripods, editing software, and maybe even a second photographer, to really cover their basis. 

It’s a lot of work, but your photos are the one thing that will last a lifetime- so it is entirely worth it.   


This is just a handful of different types of suppliers, but it’s easy to go on! Ultimately, it comes down to what kind of day you want. There’s no right or wrong way to plan your wedding, but simply put, if what you’re looking for is the full red carpet treatment from suppliers of the highest quality, it’s going to increase your budget. 

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