19 May 2013

How much does it cost to get married abroad?

Along with most couples, one of the first things we had to "talk about" was how much our wedding was going to cost us and whether we could afford what we wanted. There is lots of reading material about UK wedding costs, but as we are planning to get married in Italy, there was little about the costs of weddings abroad.

One of the reasons we decided to get married in Italy was to reduce costs. Lots of my friends had wonderful weddings but had spent a fortune and many of the articles we read about costs were initially really terrifying. 

Magazines such as Brides Magazine and You and Your Wedding have regular features which break down the cost of getting married. Showing everything from the average amount a couple pay on wedding clothing, rings and tiaras to costs of hiring a venue and going on a honeymoon. Even Mintel concludes that the cost of an average UK wedding is £21,000

My brother's wedding in Fiji

However, what we couldn't easily ascertain was what the costs of the whole wedding were versus the actual event itself. Let me explain what I mean. 

Assuming you're going to go down the white wedding route, many of the costs are the same whether you got married at home or away. For example, you'll still need to buy a dress, wedding ring, groom's men suits, engagement ring and wedding stationery. These will carry similar costs whether you got married in Richmond or Rome. 

What I was interested to learn was whether things like venue hire, florists, caterers and photographers costed more in Titchfield than in Tuscany. 

According to Bridal Magazine, the average cost of the actual wedding is £13,290. So this includes food, drink, venue, photographer, videographer, favours and entertainment. You and Your wedding puts this slightly lower at £11,460. 

Me at my brother's wedding in Fiji

However, according to Mintel, the costs reduce to £6,585 for weddings on foreign soils. But, it's difficult to get a like for like comparison for UK compared to abroad. This is because, in the main, couples don't tend to have the same types of weddings abroad as they do at home. And, one of the reasons that people choose to get married abroad is because they can keep it simpler, invite fewer people and keep the extras to a minimum.

Petals at my brother's Fijian wedding

For example, my brother got married in Fiji a few years ago and he specifically wanted something that was the opposite of a traditional wedding. Rather than a church, they got married on the beach at sunset and instead of a strict wedding schedule, the men sipped margaritas on the beach while the women wandered down a flower petaled path at their own pace. It was a lovely, relaxed day and absolutely what they both wanted, with only immediate family invited. 

Looking at the pricing schedules from Kuoni and Thomson, both seem to assume that this is the sort of foreign wedding most people want. Just a few guests and minimal pomp and ceremony. 

For example, the costs quoted to get married in Rome with Kuoni are from £2,794. This just includes the wedding coordinator, interpreter, bouquet, button hole and photographer. No party, no wedding breakfast, no band, no booze and no guests. Likewise, the standard costs from Thomson to get married in Sorrento are from £805. This does include a cake and sparkling wine for groom and bride, but nothing more.

The difficulty we have is that, although we are having fewer guests than we probably would have if we got married at home, we still (hopefully) have at least 40 people coming along and we still want a sit down meal with speeches, a band and lots and lots of wine. 

As we'd hired a wedding planner, we consulted with him about costs and how much we should budget for our wedding. What we soon discovered was that, realistically, if we are going to have many of the elements of a traditional wedding, the costs are going to be pretty much the same as what we would have paid in the UK. 

The only real savings are as follows:
- We are hiring our wedding venue for 5 days which represents far better value for money than just hiring a venue for a day
- Venues in Italy seem much more relaxed around things such as corkage and feeding children. As we are in our own villa, we can probably supplement the wedding drinks with our own and we can feed the children a picnic rather than a sit down meal
- As we plan to have our honeymoon in Italy, we are saving on separate flights and the wedding effectively will become part of the honeymoon. According to You and Your Wedding magazine, the average cost of a honeymoon is £4,073 without spending money. This is far higher an amount than we expect our costs to be  

Over the next few months, I'll be sharing with you how much we spend on our wedding in Italy and the true costs of getting married abroad. If you have any tips or advice, we would love to hear them.

No comments:

Post a Comment