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The “wedding tax” and how to avoid it

The “wedding tax” and how to avoid it

Category: Money

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

If you're planning a wedding, you'll know how expensive it can be. From the venue and food to the entertainment, photography and all those little extras that combine to create the perfect day, it can all add up – but what you may not know is that you could be paying even more thanks to the so-called "wedding tax" of the big day.

Research from Amigo Loans has found that many venues, DJs and even photographers significantly hike their prices for a wedding compared with a more general celebration, so it's little wonder that budgets can quickly spiral out of control.

For example, hiring a venue for a wedding costs an average of 37% more than if you were to hire it for a birthday party, and if you were looking to get the whole package – including food, drink, entertainment, photography and decoration – the price increases by 68%.

Even the cost of a three course sit-down meal can vary wildly depending on the celebration, with it costing an average of £48.50 per head for a wedding but just £38 per head for a party – equating to a wedding tax increase of 28% – while drinks packages were hiked up by an average of 15%.

Table decorations can cost an average of 48% more for a wedding, while a DJ may try to hike up their prices by 61% – and may add extra costs for hire after midnight, too – and some were found to be even cheekier, by saying they were available for a wedding but fully booked for a party on the same date.

It's a similar story with wedding venues, many of which were found to have no availability for a party but were instead reserving their summer dates for the high demand wedding season. However, photographers are arguably the biggest culprits of all, and can ramp up their prices by a whopping 125% to capture your big day.

Kelly Davies, spokesperson for Amigo Loans, said it was "disappointing that people are being caught out by hidden fees, sneaky charges and made-up taxes", but wedding expert Joanne Goodwin from tried to shed a bit of light on things.

"Organising a wedding can be a costly business because so many strands need to be pulled together to create that perfect day and many couples are willing to pay for the best," she said. "In return they get expertise and unbounded enthusiasm from an industry that prides itself on excellence."

Does that sound like an acceptable excuse? For some, perhaps not – you'd hopefully get the same level of expertise whether the service provider hiked up their prices or not, and many won't be pleased to discover that they're paying over the odds for the same thing.

So what can you do to avoid the wedding tax? Kelly Davies advises that you "do your research, challenge the venue and find the best way to get the most value for your money". Sounds like a great place to start!

If you think you're paying more for a service that would be far cheaper for a general party, challenge the provider and see if you can get a bit knocked off the price. It may be your special day but budgets are understandably tight, and if you don't ask, you don't get.

You may want to consider things like making your own table decorations rather than paying the venue for the same thing, or if you know photographers, cake makers and the like, why not see if you can call in a few favours? Your savings fund may not go far if you have to pay extortionate prices for everything, and remember that everything you save on the day itself could equate to extra money left over for the honeymoon. Happy haggling!

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.