The Ultimate Wedding Budget Guide
The ultimate wedding budget guide

The Ultimate Wedding Budget Guide


This a comprehensive wedding budget guide giving you tips on how to save money for your wedding. Having worked as a professional wedding magician around the UK and internationally for the last 15 years I have seen all styles and budgets being apportioned to weddings and indeed engagement parties.

The other year I attended a an engagement party in which the groom to me was insistent on giving a speech to outline all of the elements he spent on his wedding including me, a professional wedding magician. I asked the wedding venue how much he’d spent and it came to just over £25,000 – a similar amount to a typical UK wedding in a high end venue. I was shocked. Their actual wedding was in Italy and this was more a show of wealth than anything else.

Engagement parties don’t have to be this lavish or grand, and indeed most people’s budgets cannot stretch that far. 

Excluding the honeymoon, as these are very specific to most people, the average cost of a wedding for approximately 70-130 guests in the UK averages out at just under £25,000 inclusive of the ring, venue, entertainment, decorations, catering and wedding car hire. 

I wanted to break down each and give you an idea of how much you may spend on each to make your wedding amazing and where you may be able to make some savings. 


For most engaged couple, hiring the venue is their biggest expense. It can be good fun to experience food tasting events, open days to meet potential suppliers and get a feel for the venue. 

On average, a typical wedding venue will cost between £6,000 and £7,000 for an average sized wedding and will include some form of catering. 

Savings of course can be made here, by holding your wedding on any day other that a Saturday as the price drops significantly. Speak with your preferred wedding venue if they offer options like this. Other potential savings can be made by choosing a venue which doesn’t have a alcohol licence and you can bring your own and negotiate your own prices. Often at venues, guests buy their own drinks but often there is a mutual acceptance that a couple of bottles will be placed on the table for general consumption.

Savings can also be made if the venue does not have on site accommodation for the guests to stay in but this is a personal choice as to whether you want to inconvenience them or not. The other suggestion is bringing in your own wedding caterers. This is perfect if you have an idea of the exact food you want to serve your guests and great savings can be made here.

Finally, your choice of venue can heavily influence the price. As a magician in Nottingham I don’t always attend the best venues in Nottingham. Occasionally I am invited to perform my wedding magic at hidden gems. If you have a large enough house or grounds then this is perfect place to save money but for most people they do not have the space. 

Some of the most beautiful events I have attended have been in a tepee and on the grounds of a field. The field has often been maintained for several months and paths cut into it and all of the ‘evidence’ of cattle removed. They can have fantastic views and is a great way to bring in your own caterers, alcohol and keep the costs down. Don’t expect the wedding cost to be low but with some clever budgeting can be reduced. 


Some of the biggest expense comes from decorating your venue. I always think this adds some real beauty and glamour to your special day. Most couples spend between £500 and £1000 on flowers and table decorations and really make the venue unique to you and your special day.

One way of saving money here is to use the inhouse team to decorate the tables or there are some professional florists who use extremely realistic plastic flowers. Of course there still are noticabley fake but can certainly halve the cost of flowers and sometimes even more. 


When surveyed – wedding guest said the part of the wedding that they remembered the most and was most memorable was not the wedding venue, food or flowers but the wedding entertainment. Duncan William as you may have gathered if a professional wedding magician with over 15 years experience making wedding days incredibly memorable.

He’s not your classic wedding magician with a bow tie and rabbit in a hat but his magic is contemporary, fun and interactive guaranteed to leave your guests laughing in amazement. He can also act as toastmaster for your event saving you the expense of paying extra for a toast master.

Nonetheless if you are looking for something that will really make your wedding stand out from all the others then consider inviting Duncan to break the ice between wedding guests over the wedding photo period, over the wedding breakfast, as the room is being turned around or as some high impact evening entertainment. Duncan is a professional, full-time wedding magician that comes with a wealth of experience and professionalism which means you are guaranteed that he won’t suck at your wedding and will arrive on time! That way you can be assured that your wedding can also be highly memorable. You can of course save money by finding a cheaper magician but be careful as you often get what you pay for. Prices for a quality magician start from around £200 for an amateur to upwards of £2,000 for someone with accolades, and TV credentials.

Watch Duncan’s video below to see more:


Everyone wants to have their photos captured on the big day. The word of wedding photography is a saturated one and there are many different styles. Usually most couples opt for a wedding photographer to capture all of their photos from the ceremony to the venening entertainment and of course over the wedding photo period and speeches. A good wedding photographer can really capture the vibe, essence and emotions of any wedding so it is well worth investing in one. 

That said, many people now have incredibly high quality cameras on their phones, and that coupled with a photo booth does mean that you could capture the day through the eyes and lens of your guests. Some clients even put disposable cameras on all of the tables, so money could be saved here. Equally so, if you are not too worried about the quality of your photos you could hire an amateur photographer and then use some editing software yourself or hire an international (and therefore cheaper) photo editor to do the hard and laborious photo editing for you.

That said, if you are looking to engage a professional wedding photographer to capture the special moments throughout your day, expect to pay in the region of £1,000. 


The food is often included in the price of the venue hire or a number of different options are presented. However if you are looking to make savings or have a more tailored approach to catering, you could secure a venue which allows you to bring in outside caterers. 

This can make a saving on your budget and can be more tailored to your dietary needs too. Be prepared to spend between £50 to £100 per head on food, excluding drinks. 

You can watch Duncan’s iPad magician showreel below:


All weddings need the quintessential wedding cake. No more than ever, you have many bakers as this can be a fun and lucrative business for them. However, there are a couple of different types of bakers. 

The first wedding cake providers and more about the visual aspect of the cake and the other type of wedding cake producers focus more of the taste. It’s always worth having a consultation to understand more about your specific requirements and flavours. 

There are of course, alternatives to one multi-tiered cakes. Some weddings invite the guests to bring their own cakes for the then to be displayed and shared on the tables. I love this idea as it becomes a bit of a great British bake off theme. Other couples opt for a couple of wheels of cheese on top of one another whilst another money saving strategy is to have a local baker produce a series of cupcakes for the guests to takeaway. These are then displayed on a tiered display case and bring the cost down significantly.

Prices start from a few hundred pounds for cake and free consultation.


No wedding is complete with a wedding dress, wedding shoes and accessories. For many bride’s-to-be this may be the most fun part as they get to go wedding dress shopping with their mum and loved ones and friends. They may have been dreaming about the dress for years. This is where a shop still has a strong position on the high street as it gives brides the opportunities to try the dress on and choose from a range of styles.

Of course money could be saved by leveraging the cheap prices from the ever-popular online wedding dresses. These can be shipped in internationally and then you can choose an inexpensive tailor to tweak and refine the fit of your wedding dress saving you hundreds of pounds. Prices can start as low as £250 but exceed £3000 which an average spend on wedding dress, shoes and accessories being approximately £2,000.


The attire of the groom and groomsmen is an often overlooked expense. This of course becomes more expensive the more ushers and distinguished guests you have. Prices for suit and shoe hire here, can start from a few hundred pounds dependent on the number you wish to clothe. There is a big difference is hire price so shop around and even consider either hiring suits online or looking in second hand shops for savings to be made. 

More common in recent years have been the groomsmen and ushers sourcing their own suits making the price as a couple pay here non-existent. The theme is tied together with a button hole flower, so whilst the attire may be different there is still a theme running throughout.


How are you getting to the church or the venue? Wedding transport is a popular and sometimes expensive outlay for a short time. But it can be a popular choice and is one of the few occassions when you can experience time in a luxurious car after all weddings are a little bit about luxury. Prices for a classic wedding car start at about £300 but this price could be driven down further dependent on the type of vehicle you choose.

Better still – do you know someone who has a luxurious car they would be happy to drive you in. They get the congratulations of being able to show off their nice car and as a gesture of good will you can offer to get it valets and cleaned for them and you, saving your a tidy packet!


Wedding favours can soon increase the price of your wedding with a small bottle of alcohol or another giveaway. One the most fun ideas I see is a scratch card and shiny penny for everyone to scratch out their card and see if they have won any money. To be honest people don’t notice if they have a favour or not, and often and nice cotton napkin and name take will suffice. Prices can start from about £100 dependent on the number of guests you invite. 


With prices for a registrar or wedding planner starting from about £200 each, a registrar certainly is something you cannot do without unless you marry in a church and even then a donation is appreciated. There is often little movement to save money on a registrar as their fees are often fixed but you don’t always need a wedding planner and many brides choose to plan the wedding themselves. This does contribute to a little extra stress before and maybe on the day but even with a wedding planner they can still seek the bride and groom for guide and advice so doesn’t eliminate it altogether.

Money can of course be saved on a toastmaster. Professional magicians like Duncan can also serve as a toast master to introduce the speeches, guests, give direction and be the glue that holds the wedding together. Combining two roles into one allows you to make some substantial savings here too.


All weddings need music and whether you are choosing a dj or string quartet, money can be saved here. There are many amateur DJs who are very good and all they have do do is manage your playlist. Venues can recommend their own DJs but these often come at a greater expense. Having your own soundsystem with a pre-recorded playlist is an excellent way to save money especially if everyone has chosen their tracks before the night starts that way you are truly getting a customised audio experience. The DJ I often feel is the best way to make a saving at a wedding because most people don’t remember the music and if your DJ is not interacting with the guests then you may as well leave them out of the equation. You can even choose an amateur DJ – unless you are getting a famous DJ or someone mixing tracks professionally then consider spending a little less on your DJ. 


I hope you have enjoyed learning from this ultimate wedding budget guide and to learn more about Duncan and how he can help make your event super special, memorable and amazing, do not hesitate to get in touch with him below:

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