The Wedding to Income Ratio
With many elements to think about, including venue hire, feeding all those guests, ensuring all your loved ones make the invite list and hiring the perfect band, wedding costs can soon add up.
If we look at the ratio of British salaries to average spend on weddings, it’s clear that a large proportion of the country’s income goes on the big day.
With the average UK wedding costing £30,3551 and the average couple earning a combined £64,974 annually2, the ratio of earnings to costs among Brits stands at 2.14:1.
This means that for every £2.14 that the average couple earns in the year in which they are going to be married, they will be spending £1 on their wedding – by no means a small proportion of their earnings.
Taking this further, we are able to calculate just how far through the year a person needs to work to be able to afford the average wedding, assuming they don’t spend a penny on anything else throughout the year.
With the average couple earning £64,974 per year3, Brits need to be budgeting 47% of their annual salary if they’re looking to pay for their wedding within the year that they’re married. So, if it costs between two to three months’ salary to afford a ring, it takes five and a half for the couple to pay for their big day.
National Wedding Day
Let’s imagine a couple who are considering getting married next year. They are both earning the average amount and want to spend the average amount on their wedding. Imagining also that they save 100% of their earnings towards the cost of their wedding, the earliest date it would be possible to earn enough to pay for that wedding would be 119 days later.
So, if one of them was thinking of proposing on New Year’s Eve this year and they both planned on saving the entirety of their wages from then, they’d be in the financial position to pay for their wedding on Saturday 22nd June 2019.
With celebrity nuptials, including the likes of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas resulting in an increased trend for “Instagrammable” weddings, the costs of tying the knot continues to rise. Here’s how the wedding to income ratios compare:
Only six per cent of Brits who got married in the last 15 years paid with a loan. However, there’s an apparent shift in the trend, with the nearly one in five (19 per cent) of those who are not yet married or who would think about remarrying would consider getting a loan for their wedding.
This could be suggesting that weddings in the not-so-distant future are more likely to be at least part funded by a wedding loan than in the past.
As we have seen earlier, if Brits were to pay for their weddings from their own pocket, they would be looking at a sizable amount of their annual salary being spent on the big day. But in terms of wedding loans, the average amount borrowed is £9,167.925, meaning Brits require a loan totalling almost a third of the total cost in order to afford the wedding of their dreams.
Regionally, those in the North East are most likely to take out a loan to help cover their wedding, with 11 per cent admitting to having done so. Those from the capital are next on the list, with 10 per cent of Londoners easing the significant cost of a wedding with a loan.
The most common reason that Brits gave when asked why they would use a loan to help pay for a wedding was that it would make it easier to budget due to the fixed monthly payments, with 45 per cent citing this as a rationale.
Following this, nearly one in four Brits said that they wouldn’t have been able to afford their wedding otherwise, with just under a third (31 per cent) stating that they’d gone over their original budget.
Top Wedding Saving Tips
Thinking of popping the question? Here’s some advice to help you plan the big day you always dreamed of, without breaking the bank.
- Avoid summer Saturdays: Staying away from the wedding crowds by picking a Sunday or even a weekday for your wedding is a great way to keep costs down. It may mean guests will need to take time off work to attend, but the savings will be marked. Similarly, look into a non-peak season wedding date to save even more.
- Barter: Don’t be afraid to push for a better deal than the one first offered to you – you’re spending a lot of money, so you want your big day to be great value. Make sure that any agreements made are written down, so you have proof and can deal with any future financial disagreements.
- Wedding loans: Loans can be a great way to help cover the costs of a wedding to make sure your perfect day is just that – perfect. When looking into loans for your wedding, always make sure that you can afford the repayments.
- Something borrowed instead of new: The wedding dress is a big part of the day, but some couples might feel uncomfortable shelling out so much on something that the bride wears once. So, those on a budget could consider snapping up a bargain by buying a second-hand wedding dress.
- Check the extras: Don’t get stung by your wedding venue for additional costs you didn’t anticipate. Keep an eye out for fees for corkage, cloakroom, headcounts, marquees, additional staff and, crucially, make sure you know when VAT is included.
Research undertaken between 26th November and 29th November 2018 with a sample consisting of 2,015 UK adults who were either married/entered into a civil partnership in the past 15 years (1,388) or have never been married/entered into a civil partnership but would consider doing so (627).
1 Average UK wedding cost according to Bridebook’s UK Wedding Report 2018 – https://bridebook.co.uk/
2 UK individual average salary is £32,487 according to MoneySuperMarket internal data
3 MoneySuperMarket internal data
4 Celebrity wedding calculations – exchange rate correct as of 5th December 2018 (see methodology section below)
5 MoneySuperMarket consumer research data
6 Average UK wedding spend by region according to Bridebook’s UK Wedding Report 2018 - https://bridebook.co.uk/
To calculate the wedding to income ratio, the average UK salary of £32,487 was multiplied by two to represent the average UK couple, then divided by the average UK wedding cost (according to Bridebook research detailed below).
The average British couple spends 47 per cent of their annual salary on the wedding, assuming it’s paid within one year. Taking this figure, it is possible to calculate that 47% of 12 months is equal to 5.64 months or 118.91 working days only if starting on 2nd January 2019.
Rounding this figure up, it is then possible to work out that Saturday 22nd June is the date on which the average British couple will have earned enough to afford the average wedding, assuming they have not spent any of their earnings in that time.
An exchange rate correct as of 5th December 2018 was used to calculate the celebrity wedding costs.
Kim Kardashian, $67M (£52,483,445) - https://paywizard.org/salary/
Kanye West, $27.5M (£21,541,712.50) - https://paywizard.org/salary/
Wedding cost, $12M (£9,400,020) - https://www.dailymail.co.uk/
Priyanka Chopra, $10M (£7,831,000) - https://www.businesstoday.in/
Nick Jonas, $18M (£14,095,800) - https://www.ucnews.in/
Wedding cost, $584K (£457,330.40) - https://www.refinery29.com/
Prince Harry, £1,676,000 - https://wageindicator.co.uk/
Meghan Markle, $530K (£414,923.75) - https://paywizard.org/salary/
Wedding cost, £32M - https://www.brides.com/
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