4 Apr 2016

Money Talks: Your Wedding Budget

Never considered the cost of a buttonhole? Couldn't care less about marquee linings?

After the excitement of your engagement, discussing the budget for your wedding may feel like bursting the bubble of romance, but money doesn't have to be a tense subject, as long as open discussions happen early on.

Traditionally, it was down to the bride's father to pay for the wedding, but this is no longer expected, and parents on both sides may be keen to help out, or the couple may prefer to pay for the whole day themselves.

If parents are hosting or paying for the wedding, they may expect to have some input into the day, as well as invitations allocated for their own friends. It may be worth having an open conversation to manage expectations before accepting generous offers from parents.

Those involved in planning the wedding are also likely to have different ideas about spending priorities. This is an area where the generation gap often shows, so exercising a little understanding and patience is advisable. Involve as few people as possible and consider your own priorities. Use our guide below to help you plan for all the elements of your wedding day.

Wedding costs checklist:

  • Wedding dress, veil, shoes, lingerie and jewellery
  • Bridesmaids' dresses, pageboy outfits and accessories
  • Something old, new, borrowed and blue
  • Groom's outfit
  • Best man's outfit
  • Ushers' outfits
  • Groom's going-away outfit
  • Bride's going-away outfit

Bridal beauty

  • Hairdressing and make-up


  • To ceremony: bride, bride's father, bridesmaids and bride's mother
  • Ceremony to reception: bride and groom
  • Decorations (ribbons) for wedding transportation
  • To ceremony: groom and best man
  • From reception: bride and groom


  • Photography or videoing


  • Church
  • Reception
  • Bride's and bridesmaids' bouquets
  • Buttonholes


  • Civil/religious ceremony fees
  • Church, plus extras (bells, organist, choir)
  • Register office or other venue fees


  • Venue hire and decorations
  • Toastmaster
  • Wedding cake
  • Catering
  • Favours
  • Drinks
  • Entertainment


  • Passports and visas
  • Travel and accommodation
  • Bride's clothing
  • Groom's clothing
  • Spending money
  • Travel insurance and inoculations


  • Invitations and postage
  • Orders of service
  • Menus and place name cards
  • Seating plan chart


  • Bride's engagement and wedding rings
  • Groom's wedding ring
  • Presents for bridesmaids, ushers and best man
  • Presents for bride and groom's parents


  • Engagement party
  • Wedding planner fees
  • Wedding insurance
  • Press announcements for engagement
  • Press announcements for wedding (if applicable)
  • Wedding night hotel
  • Overnight accommodation for close family
  • Note: the cost of stag and hen parties are generally shared among those who attend

Debrett's Bride's Experience provides expert advice on planning a wedding from start to finish, including budgeting and managing family expectations.

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