It’s no joke forking out for a wedding these days. You’ve got venue hire, catering, transport, accommodation and a whole lot more to consider when you’re costing out your Big Day. Honestly, even attending a wedding can put a serious dent in your finances now. Not far short of half of all millennials who don’t own their own homes have had to turn down a wedding invitation at least once. Almost a third have put themselves into debt by RSVPing “yes” and about 1 in 6 have actually had to move out of their homes as a result.

Keep in mind – these aren’t even the people throwing the weddings. They’re just guests showing up on the day, weighing up the cost of attending the event against losing a friendship. On average, we’re spending about £391 on turning up at a wedding in the UK. A lot of that goes in travel, obviously, but the rest racks up really fast on everything from hotel stays to suitable clothing. Even the average of £25-£50 spent on wedding gifts makes a difference.

When it comes to the wedding itself, the costs start to go really crazy. The days of quiet little affairs for a few close friends and family members are officially gone. Your magical day now belongs to Instagram, with wedding planning site Hitched reporting that over 40% of us are feeling the pressure to build a truly social media-worthy event. Just 5 years back, a typical wedding bill would have run you about £20,000-£21,000. That’s hardly a pocket-change price in itself, but in 2019 you’re looking at something closer to £32,000 to tie the knot in appropriate style.

Obviously, location makes a lot of difference. Out in the South West, you can probably squeak by on barely £28,000 or so. In London, by contrast, you’ll be lucky to get it done for much under £40,000! You’ll probably be left choking down a bill of around £5,500 on venue hire, for one thing. Another £3,900 can easily be blown on food for guests, plus over £1,500 for drinks. Lump in £2,500 for a decent engagement ring and you start to see the bigger picture. All that’s before you’ve even considered your honeymoon, of course. With top destinations ranging from the Maldives to Mexico, you’re probably cramming at least another £4,600 on top of your total costs for that.

Now, no one’s going to tell you that you shouldn’t be pushing the boat out and making sure the most important day of your life is properly celebrated. At some point, though, you’ve got to ask yourself who you’re really doing it for. Do you seriously care enough about the size of your Instagram following to put yourself in debt to boost it? While you’re at it, are you digging that money-hole for yourself but still leaving cash on the taxman’s table?

With a typical 4-year tax refund claim coming to over £3,000, there’s no good reason to let HMRC cling onto your cash. You might have just made the biggest decision of your life. You might have got your future together all planned out already. Just make sure you’re taking that first step on the right footing. Talk to the UK’s leading tax experts about claiming back the tax you’re owed. Whatever your future together holds, for richer or poorer, you’re always better off with RIFT.

RIFT are the UK's leading tax rebate and tax return experts who've been in the industry since 1999.  Use our tax rebate calculator to get an instant estimate of how much tax you can claim back from HMRC.