Couples have widely varying budgets for their special day and one of the most commonly asked questions when showing a couple around one of our venues is, “How much will a wedding cost here?”
Blue Door Wedding has four beautiful wedding venues in East Sussex including Firle Place, Glynde Place, Montague Farm and Charleston. We oversee 50 weddings per year, and each and every one of them is very different in terms of style, size and expenditure. Couples have widely varying budgets for their special day and one of the most commonly asked questions when showing a couple around one of our venues is, “How much will a wedding cost here?”.
There is no way we can pluck a figure from the sky without knowing a great deal more detail about the style of wedding they have in mind. The average spend on a wedding in the UK is now £25,000 although in our research the range was more typically between £17,000 and £30,000.*
When budgeting for your wedding, important questions to ask yourselves include:
What kind of venue would you like?
Costs can vary wildly dependent on the type of venue you choose. A five star hotel with set menus and wine lists to match will be very expensive but with much of the decision making done for you. For some couples this takes much of the stress away. However, these days there are so many styles of venues to choose from including private estates, farm settings, wedding barns, fields, woodlands, beaches and castles. A word of warning however, there will be plenty of hidden costs when booking a seemingly inexpensive wedding site with no facilities as you will need to hire in basic elements like marquees generators for power and lighting, not to mention the all-important loos. And that’s before you’ve fed anyone! These can be the most magical weddings however as couples get to create a completely bespoke occasion.
How many guests will you invite?
This will have a significant impact on your budget as caterers generally provide you with a cost per head. £50 per head for 100 guests works out at £5000 but of course for 200 guests this will be double.
What kind of catering do you have in mind?
A black tie wedding menu with lavish canapés followed by a three course dinner will be significantly more expensive than two courses where canapés act as the starter, followed by a hog roast and simple sides. Some couples who don’t want to see their wedding cake go to waste, offer this to their guests as the pudding. And with the average cost of a wedding cake in the UK being £300 this seems a smart move. Think in advance about what kind of food you really enjoy and do remember that weddings can be much less formal these days. Sharing platters, picnics, afternoon tea and BBQs offer excellent, interactive and more affordable wedding catering options.
Will you be providing the alcohol for the entire event for free or will you have a paying bar at some stage of the day?
If your budget is feeling a bit tight, it is absolutely acceptable to have a paying bar later in the evening. Lots of couples provide the receptions drinks, toasting drinks and wine with dinner for their guests, and then later on open a cash bar where wedding guests buy their own drinks. You have hosted a wonderful occasion for your guests at great expense, and so there should be no embarrassment around this.
Do you require a marquee for your wedding?
Marquees come in many styles and sizes and will take up a sizeable chunk of your wedding budget. The variety of marquees on the market include (and not exhaustively) Capri Tents, Framed Marquees and Stretch Tents at the more affordable end of the spectrum, through to the more expensive Pavilion Tents (also known as Traditional Canvas Pole Tents), Sperry Tents and Giant Tipis – and then there’s the Rolls Royce of marquees, The Pearl Tent. Don’t forget, marquees need furniture, flooring and lighting so make sure you ask for all-inclusive quotes from suppliers.
Does the venue charge corkage?
Although not the biggest wedding cost you’ll face, corkage can get pricey for big weddings. A standard corkage charge per bottle is £8-10.00 and so if you open 100 bottles of fizz and wine (easy to do with a wedding of 150 guests) then there will be an additional £1200-1500 corkage charge. Always ask this question if a venue allows you to BYO.
What kind of floral decoration do you have in mind?
Flowers are an integral part of every wedding, no matter how big or small. We’ve seen huge, live ceiling installations made from abundant flowers and foliage, sumptuous flower arches adorning every entrance and exit, churches filled to their rafters with flowers, 30ft trees hired in to create woodland scenes inside buildings, giant candelabras swathed in exquisite roses and many more incredible floral executions. If you love flowers and have the budget, why not?
If you don’t then there are lots of affordable ways to incorporate flowers into your wedding at a fraction of the cost. Take a trip to a flower market (beware of the early start!), and choose your own flowers and foliage. Buying direct will save you money straight away. Ask all your friends and family to start saving their jam jars and then the day before your wedding, enlist everyone’s help creating pretty jars of flowers for your tables. To keep costs down, choose long tendrils of foliage instead of flowers and create live runners down your tables, simple interspersed with tea lights. If you live in the countryside, you may even be able to forage for foliage! The happiest weddings we see are often the homemade kind where your nearest and dearest have been involved in making it happen.
Next time, we will share with you some great tips on creating some wonderful features for your wedding, which may well just save you money too!
*Average wedding spend was calculated based on research and articles undertaken by The Independent, Bridebook, Harpers Bazaar, Onefabday and Hello Magazine.