Guide to saving money for your wedding

Abbie Laughton-Coles
Abbie Laughton-Coles
Updated 4 October 2022  | 5 mins read

You’re engaged to be married and have a rough idea of when you want to hold your big day. Now there’s just the small task of organising and paying for the whole thing.

It can be difficult to know where to start and the last thing you want to do is begin your married life together in a massive pile of debt. Talk about a downer.

So, here’s what you need to know about paying for your nuptials. We can’t promise it won’t be stressful, but of course it will be worth it.

Key points

  • Before you do anything else, create a realistic budget and stick to it as much as you can
  • Savings accounts may not help you make the most of your money
  • A cashback credit card could help you earn while you spend when used responsibly

Work out the cost of your wedding and set a budget

There’s two ways you can go about doing this.

If you have your heart set on having the exact wedding of your dreams (you already know where you want to hold it, what you want to wear, and which photographer will capture the day perfectly), get quotes and find out how much you would roughly need to save. This could mean you have to plan for a wedding a little further in the future to make it achievable financially.

Alternatively, you could start with figuring out how much you can realistically save between now and the rough date of your wedding. You can then find vendors, venues, transport etc, that fit into your budget.

Whichever method you choose, always make sure you draw up an itemised and detailed budget so you can see the big picture clearly. If you sense that the costs are starting to run away from you, sit down and go through the budget to see where you can cut back.

It’s important to include the small details too, because those are the things that can really add up and impact how much you end up spending. Even if you’re making favours and invitations yourself, for example, you still need to list how much the supplies cost.

And remember, it’s not just the big day itself. If you’re planning on having hen and stag dos, a bridal shower, and a honeymoon, it all needs to be included.

How much should I save each month?

Divide the estimated overall spend by the number of months between now and the wedding. That’s how much you’ll need to put aside each month. If it just isn’t feasible and would put you under financial strain to take that much from your earnings, it may be time to take another look at the budget and compromise.

Make sure you and your partner check in with each other throughout the whole process so that you’re both on the same page with how much the wedding costs.

How much does an average wedding in the UK cost?

According to wedding planning website, Hitched, the average cost of a wedding in 2021 was £17,300 and 48% of the 2,060 couples surveyed went over budget.

Wedding budget tips

There are tons of ways you can save on your big day:

  1. Avoid Saturdays

    You may want to consider having it on any day apart from Saturday, which usually comes with a premium. Even holding it on a Friday could knock thousands off the price

  2. DIY

    Yes, it can take a long time but tackling things like the favours, place cards and invites yourself will save you some money. In fact…

  3. Be ruthless

    Do you even need favours? The majority of the time they’re left on the table at the end of the night. Also, you may want to consider having a wedding website, rather than sending out physical invites to save on costs and be more sustainable too

  4. Have it at one venue

    Little more difficult if you’re got your heart set on a wedding in a religious building, but if not, hold the ceremony and reception in the same place to avoid having to fork out transporting guests to and fro

  5. Shop the sales

    You can make huge savings by keeping an eye out for sample sales on wedding attire. You may even want to think about renting dresses and suits; not only will it free up money for other costs, but they won’t take up half your wardrobe space for the next 50 years

  6. Check the fine print

    Always look at the terms and conditions when you’re signing a contract for things like your venue and caterers. You need to know exactly what is included, and most importantly, what isn’t. There could be charges to watch out for

  7. Keep track of your spending

    Now this is a big one. Try to track all your spending and resist the urge to pay for little things using a credit card and forget to add it to your budget

  8. Build in an emergency fund

    Something is always bound to pop up - it could be that the suits need tailoring, or you have to buy 30 rainbow umbrellas for guests because a storm is forecast in August. Build in a contingency fund to your budget

How can I maximise my wedding savings?

Again, it will depend on how much you’re looking to save and the amount of time you have. Here are some ways you could get more bang for your buck:

Ditch the savings account

Sounds a little counter intuitive, but savings accounts may not offer you the best interest rates, which means your money is just sitting there doing nothing.

Think about a high-interest current account but watch out for caps on how much you can deposit. Compare options with us and you could be switched to one within seven days

Switch your current account

There are certain current accounts that will pay you for switching to them and some will give you a cash bonus if you’re able to refer a friend to switch their account too.

This is free money, but there’ll be terms and conditions to watch out for. For example, a requirement to deposit a certain amount each month and you can’t already have an active account with them

Cash in on cashback

Taking out a cashback credit card could help you boost your money. Basically, you do your everyday spending using the card and earn cashback (up to 5% depending on the card) which is usually paid annually into your account. Make your repayments in full each month to make it worth it though.

Or if a credit card isn’t a possibility, you could sign up to a cashback website where you do your normal shopping through the site and you can earn money back. Bear in mind that it can take a while for you to receive your money though

Try investing

You could try your hand at investing to boost your finances. If you’re completely new to it, an online investment management service may be an option to explore. You can choose the level of risk you’re comfortable with and your money is invested and managed completely for you. You then track how it’s doing through an app and invest more when you want.

Remember that your money can decrease as well as increase

Clear your debts before you save

If you’ve got existing debt with a high interest rate, think about paying it off as a priority before saving up for your wedding. Otherwise any extra money you’re earning with the above tips will be wiped out by the interest you need to pay on your debts

What is a wedding savings account?

It’s simply a savings account that you open solely to deposit money for your wedding into.

There are different types of savings account to choose from, depending on your needs:

Easy access savings accounts – As the name suggests, you can withdraw money from this type of account without incurring a penalty, although there may be a cap on how many times you can do this annually. The interest rates on these types of accounts tend to be very low. Find out more about easy access savings accounts

Fixed-rate savings accounts – You won’t be able to access your money as readily without being charged, but you may be able to earn more in interest than with an easy access option

Regular savings accounts – These tend to have some of the best interest rates for savings accounts, but you’ll only be able to deposit up to a certain amount each month

ISAs – If you think you’ll go over your personal savings allowance, you may want to think about opening an ISA which will enable you to deposit up to £20,000 each tax year. You can choose between cash or stocks and shares options

Alternatives

If covering your entire wedding with savings isn’t an option, you may want to consider:

0% purchase credit card

For a smaller amount of spending, think about using a 0% purchase credit card. You’ll have an introductory period during which you won’t be charged interest on your balance.

This enables you to borrow for free, provided you make at least your monthly minimum payments and clear the outstanding amount by the time the introductory offer ends

0% overdraft

If there’s a small shortfall between your savings and the cost of your wedding, you could use a 0% overdraft to cover it.

Make sure you stay within your overdraft allowance - you’ll be charged if you go over it

Personal loan

Although it’s less than ideal to take out a loan to pay for a wedding, it’s not uncommon.

Having a good credit history means you’re more likely to have access to the best interest rates, keeping the total cost of the loan down.

Just make sure you can comfortably make your monthly payments and stick to the payment schedule. Only borrow the amount you really need and don’t be tempted to take out a larger loan just because it’s available to you.

Use our smart search to find the loans you have a higher probability of being accepted for, without affecting your credit history

Family and friends

You may be able to borrow some money from your family and friends to fund your wedding. Just make sure you draw up a loan agreement detailing how much it’s for, how long the loan term is and what the interest rate will be. This will help squash any potential disagreements over the terms of the loan