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Paying the price for getting married

Which? reveals bumped up costs for saying 'I do'


Hotels, florists and hairdressers can make serious cash out of your big day – Which? research reveals some inflate quotes when they hear the word ‘wedding’.

We asked for quotes for two identical events – a 60th birthday and a wedding. The cheapest menu from one hotel for a three-course sit-down dinner for 100 people was 25% more for the wedding than for the birthday bash. 

Another hotel quoted an extra £10 per head for a menu when we said ‘wedding’ – a difference of £1,000 for 100 people.

A small glass of wine at the bar was priced at £4.50 in one wedding brochure – 50p more than the standard price at the hotel bar – despite the fact we’d be forking out £350 in room hire to cover any ‘additional costs’. 

Cashing in

One florist said that the most basic flowers for ten tables at our wedding would cost £400 in total, with an extra £35-£40 delivery fee. When we called back to ask about table flowers for a 60th, the minimum spend dropped dramatically to £10 per table – a quarter of the price – with free delivery if we spent over £200.

The florist insisted that we wanted the ‘wow’ factor, even after we’d asked for the cheapest available. Have a look at our advice on affordable extras for some cost-cutting options on flowers.

Two hairdressers quoted around £100 for a cut, blow dry and style for the big day, even though we said there’d be no veil or flowers to contend with. This was over twice the price of their normal stylists who could have done the same job in the same salons for £45.

Which? editor Martyn Hocking says: ‘A wedding can inspire many emotions – sometimes joy from those cashing in on your big day. Don’t be afraid to haggle over costs. In one instance, our researcher knocked a photographer down by almost £1,000.’

Wedding money savers

The average UK wedding costs around £15,000 – but you can still have a big day on a small budget. We’ve put together a list of reception money-savers, including ways to save on your menu and tips on reducing the drinks bill.

Our advice guide on how to save money on your wedding includes tips on planning your budget and keeping tabs on what you’re spending.

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