Getting married might be the happiest day of your life – and it will certainly be one of the most expensive. The average cost of a wedding in the UK today stands at around £18,000. The happy couple typically stump up £4,000 for the reception alone. Then there’s the dress, the suits, the cars, the cake, the photographer and the flowers.
Last year, the average salary for an adult working full time was £25,900. This means a typical couple will spend just over a third of their annual income on tying the knot. So it really makes sense to work out exactly how much you can afford to spend, set yourself a budget to keep control of the costs – and ensure your married life gets off to a good start.
Needing to find large sums of money can be daunting, but having a little patience when it comes to planning your big day can be very calming. For instance, if you’re not in a crazy rush to walk down the aisle and you could wait a year or so, then in that time, small regular savings can easily amount to a significant wedding fund.
ISAs (individual savings accounts) are a great, tax-efficient way to save money and earn interest on it. In the simplest terms, ISAs give you tax advantages on your savings, so you get a higher return on your money. Under this year’s ISA rules, your annual ISA allowance is £10,680 year – that’s a big slice of your wedding budget.
Up to the first £5,340 can be saved in a cash ISA or all of your allowance or the remainder can be saved in a stocks and shares ISA. However, the value of investments and any income they produce can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you put in. However, a cash ISA is more suitable for short-term savings. Most high street banks and building societies offer them. Take a look at our best cash ISAs here.
If you already have a lump sum, you could put it in a fixed rate bond, removing the temptation to spend the money – or you could choose a flexible bond, which allows you to withdraw up to 30 per cent without penalty in case of emergencies.
All this talk of budgeting and saving may sound a tad boring, but there are plenty of ways to inject a little fun into the financial planning of your big day. One American couple managed to save around US$480 a month by putting a dollar into a jar each time they heard a Lady Gaga song, saw somebody wearing camouflage or heard an old Madonna song on the radio – and saved even more by regularly emptying their jar into a savings account. Between September 2009 and July 2010, they managed to save well over $6,000.
Don’t let fretting about the finances spoil the excitement of getting married. Instead, take some time out to come up with a budget and work out what you can afford to pay. Once you’ve done that, putting a savings plan in place to pay for your wedding will be a piece of cake.
This article has been written for information and interest purposes only. The information contained within this article is the opinion of the author only, and should not be construed as advice or used to make financial decisions. Expert financial advice should always be sought and any links contained within this article are included for information purposes only.
Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail banking (bank accounts and instant access savings accounts), credit cards, corporate banking, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services, with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 140,000 people. Barclays moves, invests and protects money and provides stocks and shares ISA options, home insurance, life insurance, commercial mortgages, guides on how to buy shares and other services for over 49 million customers and clients worldwide. For further information about Barclays, please visit our website www.barclays.co.uk.