The average cost of a wedding has risen to pounds 17,249 - 58 per cent more than a decade ago though prices generally have only risen by a third.
Figures published today show that the budget never matches the final bill. While couples generally estimate that their big day will cost pounds 11,000, they spend at least pounds 6,000 more.
Honeymoons take up a large chunk at pounds 2,857 with 19 per cent of brides still expecting it to be a surprise. But receptions eat up the biggest proportion of the bill costing an average of pounds 6,076 including pounds 1,129 on drinks.
Once the venue, catering, drinks, wedding cake, favours and entertainment have all been paid for, each guest costs an average of pounds 57.
The guests spend a total, on average, of pounds 1,642 on items from wedding gift lists which are still favoured by 66 per cent of bridal couples.
Despite marriages lasting an average of 11 years, Office of National Statistics figures show that the number of weddings was up 4.7 per cent last year.
Many couples still opt for a traditional religious ceremony with 51 per cent choosing a church and a similar number plumping for big receptions with more than 100 guests.
The annual survey in You & Your Wedding revealed that almost half of couples take out wedding insurance.
Engagement and wedding rings now cost an average of pounds 1,954, almost double the pounds 1,009 spent in 1994. The groom spends just pounds 242 on his outfit compared with pounds 1,530 for the bride's ensemble. More than pounds 100 goes on lingerie.
While the bride of today no longer promises to obey her husband, 86 per cent still adopt his name.Reuse content