Bridebook Wedding Report 2018

Last updated: 5th Mar 2019 wedding report 2018 title pageClick here to view the report.


  • Millennials are paying more for their weddings
  • ‘3-day weddings’ and ‘personalisation’ trends are having costly implications
  • More weddings are ‘themed’ with ‘insta-worthy’ entertainment and trending hashtags


Once again wedding planning app has carried out the most comprehensive UK wedding industry study revealing year-on-year changes. According to, millennial couples* are spending a whopping 45% more of their combined annual income on their wedding than couples getting married at 40 or older. (*getting married in their 20s to mid 30s.)

The average couple is now spending £17,913 (excluding their honeymoon), up £1,071 or 6% from £16,842 in the previous year. Supplier costs have increased by an average of 12%, year over year, but there are other factors at play too:


The ‘3-day Wedding’

The ‘3-day Wedding’ is becoming popular, with 23% more couples choosing to extend celebrations to run over a 2-3-day period (compared to 5 years ago). This has contributed to the rise in spend on venues and marquees, which continue to be the biggest associated costs at £6,152 and £5,468. Multiple-event weddings require more than one dress too, and this is impacting the amount couples are spending on bridalwear & accessories which has increased significantly by over 15% since last year at £1,537. 27% of brides purchase more than one wedding dress.

New figures also reveal that couples are spending an increased amount on personalising their wedding. ‘Venue dressing’ has seen a 22% rise to an average of £882, and the spend on flowers has also increased with couples spending an average of £858, up just over 10% from £777.

33% of couples now overspend on food and drink, at a new average of £5,862 up 23% from £4,747. This is reflective of millennials choosing to cater for more than one event, with ‘rehearsal dinners’ and parties the day after the wedding becoming more common. Caterers are also offering more and more flexibility with bespoke menus, which are expensive. 12% of couples designed their own cocktail or alcoholic drink for their wedding day.

The Influence of Tech

As technology continues to evolve, supplier choices are impacted too. Couples are spending more on music (at an average of £1,039 +10%) and other forms of entertainment (at an average of £580 +11%) wanting to ‘wow’ their guests with shareable social media-friendly content. Millennials are capturing their own images too, with 60% of brides using social media on their wedding day, 76% taking a wedding selfie – affectionately coined the ‘welfie’, and an average of 3,400 photos being taken at each wedding by guests alone. 57% now use a wedding hashtag – an increase of over 40% from the year before. Fewer people are spending money on videographers (down 2%).

14% of brides and grooms are saving money by choosing to do e-invites and wedding websites. They are also making their own table plans and place cards and consequently the average amount being spent on stationery has decreased by 5% to £276.

Millennial Spending Trends

Millennials are more likely to pay for their own wedding too. 18% fewer couples who married last year aged between 25 and 35 were given money from their parents, instead footing the bill entirely themselves. Input in wedding planning from Mothers is down to 44% (from 52%), from partner’s Mothers is down to 15% (from 23%) and from Fathers is down to 11% (down from 13%).

Hamish Shephard, founder, comments; “The millennial generation are getting married later in life, when they are more financially independent. They are in a position to be able to ‘host’ their own wedding, and no longer see it as their parents financial responsibility. They are rising to the challenge exercising their ability to be creative, motivated by things like local sourcing, ethical production and a great authentic experience.”

Shephard continues; “Suppliers are demonstrating their creativity and working hard to meet the demands of couples wanting to personalise their day. Increasingly, brides and grooms want to tell their story through ‘themes’, and they are becoming extremely imaginative. Everything, from the stationery and the decorations to the food and drinks menu can be personalised, and that doesn’t come cheap.”

“We are seeing that people are prioritising the ‘wow’ moments, wanting to surprise and delight their guests with ‘insta-worthy’ theatrical performances. Guests are sharing mobile footage on social media or on file-sharing websites. Selfie sticks, photo booths and drones are popular too.”

More changes…

The most popular dates to get married has also changed following a significantly warmer September and a colder than average April (Met Office, Dec 2016 report) in 2016. The most popular wedding season is now Summer (44%), followed by Autumn (26%), and Spring (22%). This represents a change from last year where Spring was more popular than Autumn. Last year the single most popular dates for weddings were 9th September and 26th August.

New findings also show a geographical split with both couples living and choosing to wed in the South East and South West of England spending the most, as well as being the most likely to go over budget. (Venue Hire in London is £4,833 more expensive than the national average, and Food & Drink in London is £3,904 more expensive than the national average.)

The most popular regions in the UK for weddings are South East England (20%), South West England (16%) and North West England (14%). While 10% of the couples live in London, only 3% get married there. More couples get married in South East and South West England than the proportion who live there, demonstrating the popularity of these regions for weddings.

Key Take-Outs:

  • The national average wedding spend in 2017 was £17,913 (excluding honeymoon) (up £1,071 or 6% from £16,842 in previous year)
  • Two thirds (65%) go over budget, or have no budget at all.
  • The average total cost of suppliers (excluding the honeymoon) is £30,355 (up £3,365 or 12% from £26,989 in previous year)
  • The most expensive region in the UK to get married is London (£31,837)
  • The least expensive region to get married is Northern Ireland (£12,738)
  • The largest wedding costs are Venue (£6,152), Food & Drink (£5,862) and Marquee Hire (£5,468) which are significantly higher than all other wedding costs
  • The average amount spent on bridalwear & accessories = £1,537
  • Supplier costs increased by an average of 12%, year over year. Marquee Hire (24%), Food & Drink (23%), and Venue dressing (22%) grew the most year over year 
  • Many couples are choosing to have their wedding ceremony at their wedding reception venue (60%) (up from 59% in previous year)
  • Country/Manor Houses (28%), Places of Worship (17%) and Barns (16%) are the most popular wedding venue types
  • 27% of couples held their ceremony at a place of worship (down from 29% in previous year)
  • Almost half of couples had Non-Saturday weddings (44%). For alternative wedding weekdays, Fridays are popular with 18% of weddings, as well as Sundays which represent 9% of weddings
  • The most popular honeymoon destinations are Europe (25%), UK (12%) and the USA (11%).


For further information please contact Harriet Hunt Communications: [email protected]  T: 0208 871 2246  M: 07886 96908


Notes To Editor: is the UK’s leading wedding planning app and website with over 100,000 couples currently planning their wedding on the platform.

Launched in 2016,‘s state-of-the-art wedding planning toolkit with personalised Checklist, Budgeter and Guestlist manager, enables couples to plan their entire wedding from any device, anytime, anywhere, all in one place…for free.  With over 70,000 venues and suppliers in its directory, increases the digital presence of industry professionals and connects them directly with local couples.  Bridebook has also partnered with leading brands such as Mary Berry, Bobbi Brown and Jimmy Choo to provide genuine expert advice and inspiration to its couples. was founded by Hamish Shephard, an industry professional and recently married groom who used to plan his own May 2016 wedding. Visit online or download the app on the iTunes App Store or Google Playstore.


Planning your wedding? is the UK’s number one free wedding planning app, with over 16,000 registered wedding businesses and more than 100K couples planning their wedding with us.  

Are you are an engaged couple looking for your wedding team?

See the largest selection of the UK’s best venue & suppliers here!

Are you looking for wedding advice? Start with these:

The Ultimate Wedding Budget Breakdown

21 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Venue

22 Wedding Saving Tips