National Wedding Survey 2018

Last updated: 30th May 2022

The Average Total Cost For A UK Wedding Soars More Than 12% In A Year As Millennials Embrace Hyper-Personalisation of Their Weddings


Results are in from the National Wedding Survey 2018

In the most comprehensive annual wedding industry study carried out in the UK, findings from’s National Wedding Survey 2018 show that the average cost of a wedding, when including every type of supplier, has reached a new all-time high of £30,355 (up £3,365 or 12% from £26,989 in previous year). The leading wedding planning app has revealed that supplier costs have increased by an average of 12%, year over year. Even when a wedding doesn’t include every type of supplier (such as videographers and entertainment), the average spend on UK weddings still reaches a whopping £17,913 per couple.


Hamish Shephard, founder says, “The hyper-personal wedding has arrived. The influence of inspirational social media is resulting in suppliers diversifying their offering in a bid to attract millennials. Personalisation and sustainability are becoming increasingly important, as couples look to do things their own way to reflect themselves as a couple.

“If Meghan and Harry can have a 70kg deconstructed lemon and elderflower wedding cake and Stand By Me sung in the Royal chapel, couples no longer need be to bound by tradition and are free to embrace the endless inspiration that is easily accessible to them… which all adds to the budget.”  


Supplier Cost Increases:

  • The costs of Marquee Hire (24%), Food & Drink (23%), and Venue dressing (22%) grew the most year over year
  • The average spent on a wedding venue has risen from £5,189 to £6,152, up 19%
  • The average spent on marquee hire has risen from £4,413 to £5,468
  • The average spent on venue dressing has risen from £723 to £882
  • The average spent on wedding food and drink has risen from £4,727 to £5,862. Food & Drink (33%) represents the area in which most couples now overspend
  • The average spent on wedding flowers has risen from £777 to £858, up 10%
  • The average spent on wedding cake has risen from £318 to £323, up 2%
  • The average spent on a music and entertainment has risen from £941 to £1039, up 10%.

Shephard says, “There are now over 139,000 small businesses and suppliers for couples to choose from in the British wedding industry, which is the largest amount there has ever been, employing over half a million professionals. We can see a direct correlation between the diversity of suppliers in each area and the regional differences in budget. The diversity of suppliers in London is unparalleled, with a higher concentration of medium to high price point companies servicing the area than any other. This has a direct impact on the average spend.”

“Whether you want multi-coloured alpacas roaming with your guests, or an animatronic velociraptor to join you on the dancefloor, the incredible diversity of wedding suppliers ensures that however wild your wedding dreams are, everything can now be made a reality.”

  • The most expensive regions in the UK to get married are London (£31,837) and Scotland (£19,791)
  • Venue hire in London is £4,833 more expensive than the national average
  • Food and drink in London is £3,904 more expensive than the national average
  • The least expensive regions to get married are Northern Ireland (£12,738) and Abroad (£14,151)
  • Wedding couples in Wales are more likely than average to go over budget (46% in Wales, compared to the national average)
  • Couples in Scotland are less likely than average to go over budget (33% in Scotland, compared to the national average).


Personalisation And Sustainability:

New figures reveal that couples are spending an increasing amount of time and money on personalising their wedding as well as considering the environment:

  • 39% of couples considered sustainablilty when planning their wedding
  • 21% of couples chose to serve organic food
  • 17% of couples reused their flowers/decorations
  • 52% of couples opted for ‘DIY’ decorations
  • 52% of couples opted for ‘DIY’ favours
  • 33% of couples made their own wedding stationery
  • Stationery showed average costs that decreased year over year, now at £276
  • 16% brides chose a wedding dress they hope to wear again, in-keeping with the millennial backlash against ‘wear-once’ fashion.


Wedding Traditions:

Whist some traditions continue to stick, such as taking your partner’s name and asking the brides’ Father for permission to propose, some antiquated traditions are on the decline and couples are taking a more modern approach to wedding planning.

  • 56% ask the Father’s permission before proposing
  • 27% of couples chose to get married in a church or religious building. 45% got married at the reception venue
  • 20% of couples saw each other the morning of the wedding
  • 15% wrote their own vows
  • 23% of brides made a speech
  • 11% of brides did not wear white
  • 82% didn’t use a traditional gift list
  • 52% asked for a contribution to the cost of their honeymoon
  • 20% requested donations be made to charity
  • 16% brought their pet to their wedding
  • 57% allowed guests to bring plus 1s
  • 94% of couples both will wear rings
  • 80% took their partners name
  • 85% did a seating plan with 76% having a ‘top table’
  • 33% sat the bride and groom parties separately
  • 82% of couples paid for part of their wedding using personal savings
  • 62% received a contribution to the costs from the bride’s parents
  • 45% received a contribution to the costs from the groom’s parents
  • 27% of couples met through friends, 19% met through a dating app.


Technology/Social Media:

While social media continues to play a key role in wedding planning and post-wedding sharing, use on the day itself is in decline:

  • 67% of couples find ideas on social media or online, which they share with suppliers
  • 30% of couples thought about what guests would post on social media
  • 25% of couples had a wedding website
  • 24% of couples had a wedding hashtag
  • 13% of couples banned social media at their wedding
  • 30% of couples asked guests to refrain from posting photos on social media on their wedding day
  • 23% of couples posted on social media on their wedding day


Other Key Take-Outs:

  • The most popular wedding dates were Saturdays in July, August and September
  • The single most popular dates were 9th September and 26th August
  • Two thirds (65%) of couples go over budget or have no budget at all.
  • A quarter of couples (26%) were able to stay on budget, and a quarter of couples (26%) report having no budget.
  • 68% of couples worried about the costs of their wedding
  • 35% withheld the total amount they were spending from friends and family
  • Besides venue and catering, Bridalwear & Accessories is the largest wedding expense. The average amount spent on bridalwear & accessories = £1,537.
  • 27% of couples held their ceremony at a place of worship (down from 29% in previous year).
  • Couples report spending the highest venue hire cost at Stately Homes (£7,353) and Country/Manor Houses (£7,188)
  • The largest proportion of couples paid for their venues with a Per Head Price, which included food & drink (42%)
  • 28% of couples had an open bar (up from 21% last year)
  • The average amount spent on venue hire, according to venue pricing:
    • Per Head: £6,758
    • Package: £6,298
    • Fixed Hire Cost: £4,727


Hamish Shephard, Founder of, says:

“We are fortunate that over a third of UK couples now plan their weddings on the app, and are delighted to share the most up-to-date and insightful facts about this brilliant industry.”

“The British wedding industry is booming. Over 139,000 small businesses make up this amazing industry which employs over half a million talented individuals and is worth over £10 billion to the British economy. Britain is iconic for introducing the white wedding to the world, and the Royal weddings of recent generations have cemented Britain as the wedding capital of the world.”

“From the provenance of their menu, to the sustainability of their fashion, to the personalisation of every detail, the millennial couple care more about every little detail of their wedding than any previous generation. And with more disposable income than any previous generation when getting married, they have the ability to pay for it.”

“Parents can breathe a little easy, as whilst the average cost of weddings is growing rapidly, the millennial couple is contributing more and more.”


For further information, interviews and images please contact

Harriet at Hunt Communications

[email protected]  M: 07886 96908


Notes To Editor:

One in three engaged couples in the UK are now using to plan their wedding. With over 100,000 weddings planned in the first year since its launch, the comprehensive digital platform has taken the bridal industry by storm.

The site helps brides and grooms realise their perfect day providing everything needed to plan a stress-free celebration, all in one place with state-of-the-art planning tools:

  • The Checklist breaks down tasks by the week to help you stay on track.
  • The Budget Calculator helps you keep on top of your spending.
  • The Guestlist manages your invitations and RSVPs.
  • Experts including Mary Berry, Bobbi Brown and Jimmy Choo provide expert advise, tricks and inspiration. is replacing spreadsheets, so couples have even more time for tasting cake and drinking champagne!

Bridebook was founded by Hamish Shephard, wedding expert with over a decade of experience in the British wedding industry. A Co-Founder of Hedsor House, one of the UK’s most prestigious royal wedding venues, he has become a highly respected and influential voice in the wedding industry, regularly providing information on weddings to the industry and the world media.


Find Bridebook at:, iTunes App Store and the Google Playstore.