Four in ten Brits regret the cash they blew on their wedding, and a third of them wish they'd spent the money on a property deposit instead. It's not a bad idea, given that the average wedding costs £25,000, which would more than cover a 10% deposit on the average £222,484 home.
See also: Shocking 'per day' cost of brief celebrity marriages
See also: Pandora apologises for insulting newlyweds
See also: Living with your partner? The rights you don't have
A survey by Barclays found that a major part of the problem is that couples don't budget properly for their big day: two thirds of people admit they don't plan the finances of big events like this. It means that the costs can easily get out of hand. By the time the big day rolls around, 27% of people have spent more than they had saved ready for their wedding. What's more, four in ten of them were disappointed with the day itself.
When asked about the other things they wished they'd kept the money for, the second most common answer was retirement (20%), followed by a car (11%), stocks and shares (10%), and starting their own business. Meanwhile, 6% said they wished they had saved money to pay for a better education for their children.
She adds: "Whatever milestone you're saving for, you need to stay in control of your money to avoid compromising your quality of life, not to mention the lives of your loved ones. In some situations, failing to budget properly can lead to long-term financial debt, which some people never recover from."
What can you do?
This doesn't mean that everyone needs to turn their back on weddings, but it goes to show that the outlandishly expensive fairytale wedding comes at a cost that many people think is not worth it. For those couples who want to tie the knot without breaking the bank, there are ten steps, which can work wonders in cutting the costs.
1. Save, don't borrow
Whatever you expect to spend, you need to save in advance, and put into a savings account in order to earn interest on it - rather than borrowing and paying interest. Liz Archer, a 30-year-old yoga teacher from Clapham is getting married in August this year, and is putting aside £800 a month to save the estimated £10,500 cost.
2. Consider the venue carefully
This will dictate an awful lot of your costs, so before you fall in love with an expensive hotel, ask all the important questions.
Check how much flexibility you will have. A 'package' will usually be more expensive than doing things yourself, so check if you are tied into using their caterer and florist. If they have specific suppliers they always use, check the price. Also ask about alcohol prices and corkage - which can really bump up the bill.
Finally, think about the style of the venue. If it's too shabby you can end up paying a fortune to decorate it (think chair covers and balloons as well as flowers). If it's too flash, any decorations will need to be super-smart too. Siobhan Harper, a bride from Clapham, is getting married in 2018, and plans to have her reception in a pub with a nice garden (after an overseas wedding) to keep the costs down.
3. Be ruthless about invitations
You can bring down the per-head cost, but the best way to slash the cost without having to cut too many corners is to drastically cut the numbers.
4. Decide what is important
Unless you really care about the car to the venue, a live band, or favours on the tables, then skip them. Spend your budget where you will appreciate it instead.
5. Choose your suppliers carefully
Ideally you want the kind of caterer you can go to with your own per-head budget, plus the style of food you would like, and ask them to come up with a menu that fits. If they insist on a set menu, they will be far less flexible about cutting costs.
Likewise, you can talk to your photographer about just paying for their time on the day. They can then send a file of all the photos, and you can pick your own for an album. That'll set you back roughly half the cost of a traditional photographer.
6. Resist supplier inflation
Liz says that she found some suppliers would be quite pushy, constantly asking: "have you had any other thoughts on x, y, z". If you don't desperately want something specific, don't be persuaded into it.
7. Consider friends and family
You may be surprised: they might be delighted to make the wedding cake, arrange the flowers, or sew the bridesmaids dresses as their contribution to the wedding.
8. Get creative
Couples make all sorts of things for their weddings, from knitting buttonholes, to sewing bunting, making paper flowers and creating gifts for the bridesmaids. It's a great way to add an individual touch, save money, and have something to keep after the wedding too. Siobhan, for example, is getting her dress made for £50 and making bespoke bouquets for £10 each.
9. Change your Pinterest search
Liz warns of the dangers of getting carried away by glamorous wedding pictures on Pinterest and Instagram. Instead, search for cheap wedding ideas, or homemade wedding decorations, and it will help you focus on recreating beautiful weddings on a budget.
10. Do it your own way
A ceremony with a few friends and a quick drink afterwards needn't cost more than £500. If that's what you want, then you're a winner on all fronts - and can save the rest for the next vital milestone in your life.