Planning & protection
Weddings are a source of great joy and celebration but they can also be stressful to pay for. Hannah Rogers, one of Fairstone’s expert financial advisers, takes a look at the realities and trends of wedding finances highlighted in a recent survey.
The cost of living crisis, inflation and social media pressures are causing couples to go over budget on their special day. Rising costs and unexpected expenses from suppliers are the main reasons for increased spending. According to new data, several macro trends have impacted weddings in 2023 .
Two-fifths (38%) of newlyweds, and brides- and grooms-to-be are going over budget on their special day, with most of these couples citing the rising cost of living (51%) and suppliers being more expensive than they anticipated (44%) as the reasons for this increased spend.
Over a third (36%) say they are overspending because they want to make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime event. On average, couples exceed their budget spend by an additional £5,034.
The data also reveals that one in five Britons spend over £25,000 on their wedding celebrations, with 7% spending more than £50,000. However, 17% of respondents are sticking to a budget of less than £5,000 by adopting a more economical approach. Some couples even decide to have a smaller wedding or make cutbacks to save money.
More than 90% of couples take a DIY approach to at least one aspect of their wedding. This includes making their wedding stationery, decorations and flower arrangements, and even asking friends or family members to officiate the ceremony.
One in ten couples feel pressured to spend more on photography and videography due to social media influences. While some couples create a wedding hashtag and encourage guests to share images, others discourage social media posting on the day or even ban smartphones altogether.
Social media plays a key role in proposals as well. A quarter of respondents updated their social networks within 24 hours of getting engaged, and 14% captured the proposal on camera. Some proposals happened in sentimental locations or abroad; on average, Britons spend £1,397 on engagement rings.
Wedding attire is one aspect where couples are willing to spend more. The data shows increased spending per individual at bridalwear and groomswear retailers. However, 20% of brides opt for high-street dresses instead of designer brands, and 13% buy pre-loved wedding outfits.
Eco-weddings are chosen by 11% of couples, making sustainable choices to reduce costs. This includes using paperless invites, renting decorations, buying second-hand wedding attire, going single-use plastic-free and using flower petals or natural confetti. Some couples also plan to sell items from the day to recoup costs.
Around 31% of couples prioritise spending on music, with 71% hiring entertainment for their wedding. Additionally, 18% of couples opt to have a live wedding singer perform, while 7% opt for a ‘silent disco’ experience. Some couples also take a DIY approach to music and entertainment by playing, performing or asking a friend to help.
Around 11% of couples plan joint stag and hen parties, merging the traditional separate celebrations into one event. This helps to make the celebration more economical and fits within the budget.
Many couples are finding ways to save on floral arrangements. About 22% of couples make DIY flower arrangements, while 19% opt for cost-efficient displays using native or in-season flowers. Some couples are even turning to wholesalers or supermarkets for their flowers.
Couples get financial help from various sources to afford their dream wedding. Three out of ten couples receive financial support from their parents, while 33% save by cutting back on spending leading up to the wedding. Some couples choose to have a more prolonged engagement to save more, and 17% take on side hustles or second jobs to boost their wedding fund.
Only 16% of couples offer an open bar at their wedding, signaling a shift towards more cost-conscious choices regarding wedding expenses.
These trends and behaviours reflect the changing landscape of weddings in 2023, where couples find creative ways to manage costs while creating memorable and enjoyable celebrations.
Our expert advisers can talk you through a range of savings and investment options you can do to make sure you’re all set for your dream wedding. Alternatively, sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with our latest news and expert insights.
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Source Data:  The consumer confidence survey was carried out between 29 June and 10 July 2023 by Opinium Research on behalf of Barclays. 1,000 UK adult respondents were engaged or married in the last 12 months.