Buying a home or getting married? New figures show where your earnings go furthest

Key findings

• East of England revealed to be even more expensive for couples than London, once earnings are factored in

• Homeowners in the South and South-East pay bigger proportion of their income on deposits than Londoners

• Saving for a wedding and a 10% mortgage deposit ‘equivalent to a couple going without wages for a year’


The East of England is the most expensive place for couples to marry and buy a house, outstripping even London once earnings are taken into account.

A new analysis of mortgage and wedding costs shows that in counties such as Essex and Suffolk, a 10 per cent deposit on a house is 122 per cent of an average take-home salary – more than 63 weeks of pay, after tax.

In contrast, someone saving for a deposit in North-East England would have to put aside only 57 per cent of their salary, or less than 30 weeks of pay.

And in Northern Ireland, the figure is only 48 per cent, or less than 25 weeks of pay.

It’s a similar story when it comes to paying for a wedding, with the East of England being most difficult to afford at 82 per cent of an average salary, but Northern Ireland costing only 71 per cent of post-tax earnings.

The study, carried out by leading online mortgage broker, compares the regional costs of weddings and home deposits with regional average earnings, to give a picture of the ‘real-world’ financial challenges facing couples. figures show that, although London is by far the most expensive place to save for a 10 per cent deposit on an average property (£43,297), higher earnings in the capital mean that figure is ‘only’ 115 per cent of an average salary there.

Conversely, while homes in the East and South-East of England are less expensive than in London, average earnings are also lower, and a 10 per cent deposit represents 122 per cent of an average salary in those regions. COO Tessa Skot said:

‘The financial pressures on couples planning to marry and buy a property together are huge.

‘In counties around London, saving up for a 10 per cent deposit and a wedding is equivalent to a couple sacrificing both their wages for more than a year.

‘This is what can happen when you live close enough to London to pay higher bills, but without having a higher salary to match.

‘However, even in the most affordable areas, such as Scotland, Northern Ireland and North-East England, the financial burden is more than half a year’s earnings for an average couple.

‘It’s never been more important for couples to seek expert help with big-ticket items like weddings and mortgages.

‘Brokers can do the hard work and save you thousands of pounds in the process.’

A typical wedding in Britain cost about £18,000-£20,000 last year but, again, taking into account regional price and wage differences, affordability varied.

In London, the average total was a whopping £29,100 but, thanks to higher wages in the capital, that represented about 77 per cent of a year’s net salary.

In the East of England, the cost was much less at £20,700 – but that represented 82 per cent of take-home pay for a year. 

The wedding costs were based on data gathered by Compare Wedding Insurance, whose director Adam Leyton said:

‘I admire anyone who can save for a wedding in the present economic climate. 

‘Even in the most affordable parts of the UK such as Scotland, Wales and North-West England, a wedding can cost more than £17,000 – and that’s not including a honeymoon.

‘Inflation keeps driving prices up too, which is why it’s all the more important that couples shop around and, also, that they insure themselves against things going wrong.’

To calculate the real-world affordability of weddings and home deposits, first took regional earnings data and adjusted it for tax.

It then gathered regional data for both weddings (in 2022) and mortgage deposits (for the most recent six months), and calculated the cost of each as a percentage of take-home pay in each region.’s Tessa Skot said:

‘Although wedding costs are only going to keep rising, there is a glimmer of good news on the home front.

‘Lenders are competing hard for customers and there are fixed-rate deals at less than 4 per cent available.

‘And house prices continue to slide, even as wages battle to keep up with inflation, meaning affordability should continue to improve in the months ahead.

‘Brokers can point you towards the best deals for your own circumstances, wherever you live and whatever your salary.

‘When money is tight, saving two or three hundred pounds a month can make a huge difference to both your bank balance and quality of life.’