Planning a Wedding – will you have enough to pay for it?

While it’s meant to be the happiest day of your life, it’s likely that your nuptials will also be the most expensive 24 hours you’ll ever have as the average cost of a UK wedding has hit an all-time high.

According to a new survey of 4,000 brides, the average cost of a UK wedding is now a whopping £27,161: the highest it’s ever been and up 9.6 per cent from last year.


The data collected by the free wedding planning website “Hitched shows how ridiculously expensive nuptials are becoming with the biggest elements on average being venue hire (£4,354), honeymoon (£3,630), and the food (£3,353).


Similarly, the average cost of an engagement ring now stands at £2,084, up 17.6 per cent from three years ago. London couples spend the most on theirs’, shelling out £3,133 while couples from the Midlands spent £1,810. According to research by online shopping destination “Lyst, women are splashing out an average of £832 for their bridal gown, which is down 20 per cent from £1,112 last year.


It also turns out that, contrary to tradition, parents are no longer the sole financial contributors for the big day, as 51 per cent of couples pay for it with little help from family members, while 32 per cent fund it entirely by themselves.


Parents can help pay for the wedding by making a gift for a wedding using the ‘annual exemption’. You can carry any unused annual exemption forward to the next year – but only for one year. Each tax year, you can also give away: wedding or civil ceremony gifts of up to £1,000 per person (£2,500 for a grandchild or great-grandchild, £5,000 for a child).


Traditionally, the parents of the groom take care of a few of the expenses including: the marriage license, officiant’s fee, corsages, boutonnieres, the bride’s bouquet, groomsmen gifts, liquor, and the reception DJ, band or other musical entertainment. And the bride’s parents pay for everything else.


Obtaining financial advice is key when considering the above costs as we assist with allowances for example. Typically, we work with the whole family and also help the happy couple to start thinking about their own financial planning as they build a future together. Such as saving up a deposit to buy their first home. Typically, saving to buy your first home involves saving money into a Help to Buy ISA and the Government will boost your savings by 25%. So, for every £200 you save, the Government provide a bonus of £50.

Save: up to £200 a month into your Help to Buy: ISA. To kickstart your account, in your first month, you can deposit a lump sum of up to £1,200. The minimum government bonus is £400, meaning that you need to have saved at least £1,600 into your Help to Buy: ISA before you can claim your bonus. The maximum government bonus you can receive is £3,000 – to receive that, you need to have saved.

The accounts are available to each first-time buyer, not each household. This means that if you are planning to buy with your partner, for example, you could receive a government bonus of up to £6,000 towards your first home.


Receive a bonus: when you are close to buying your first home, you will need to instruct your solicitor or conveyancer to apply for your government bonus. Once they receive the government bonus, it will be added to the money you are putting towards your first home. The bonus must be included with the funds consolidated at the completion of the property transaction. The bonus cannot be used for the deposit due at the exchange of contracts, to pay for solicitor’s, estate agent’s fees or any other indirect costs associated with buying a home.


We work with specialist mortgage advisers to help you secure the purchase of your home. We can then dovetail any protection requirements, typically against death or long term sickness. The key point being that you should always obtain independent advice to ensure you get the best deal that’s right for you.


Usually the initial meeting or conversation with a financial adviser will be to establish what your needs are and this is usually free. Richmond House Wealth Management has specialist knowledge and are always available to answer your questions.


John Merrifield.

Dip PFS, Cert (CII) MP.


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