Let’s face it . . . are weddings going out of fashion?

Do people still really need to get married?

Certainly the statistics indicate that less people in the UK are getting married than ever before. An estimated half of adults in the UK are married, and this percentage is gradually declining from previous years.

Of those that are married, many are waiting longer before doing so, particularly younger people. In the early ‘70’s, the average age for getting married was 28 years for men and 26 for women. But by 2018, these ages had risen to 38 for men and 35 for women. 

These increased marrying ages do also reflect the fact that many older people are getting remarried. However, an estimated 90% of adults up to the age of 29 are currently single.

So it would appear that fewer people are choosing to get married, and those that decide to do so are leaving it longer to do so.

But why?

Possible reasons for fewer weddings

Marriage is an individual decision and, as such, it is difficult to be accurate about reasons why some people choose not to. But some of the influencing factors could be:

  • General societal acceptance of couples living together, and also having children together, without being married;
  • Greater freedom for individuals to pursue their own dreams, rather than the formerly traditional goals of marriage, home and kids;
  • Experience of parents or other close adults going through divorce, and being determined to avoid that;
  • The cost and logistics of organising a wedding. 

This last reason – cost and logistics – can be daunting for those couples who do want to get married. Let’s take a closer look at what is involved.

Wedding costs and logistics

According to research by the wedding planning website Hitched, the average wedding in the UK in 2021 cost a staggering £17,300. This breaks down into:

  • Venue hire – £7,600 
  • Wedding dress – £1,300
  • Photography – £1,200 
  • Groom’s attire – £500
  • Catering per head – £65
  • Bridal hair – £80
  • Bridal makeup – £70

As well as the cost, there is a lot of organising to do. Not just for all the categories mentioned above, but there is also legal paperwork to complete to give notice of the marriage, as well as trying to keep all the family happy behind the scenes.

Having said all the above, many couples still do want to get married. Ideally without the huge price tag! But how can you achieve this?

How to decide on the right wedding for you

There are five key questions that will help you to move forward with planning the wedding that is right for you.

  • First and foremost, what is your budget? It is really important to set out a budget that you can afford right from the start, and work within it, rather than making all kinds of arrangements that are going to leave you in debt.
  • What type of wedding ceremony do you want? For example a religious wedding ceremony or a more general one?
  • Do you want to have the wedding ceremony and reception in different venues or both in the same place?
  • Would you prefer a traditional building – such as a stately home environment – or something more contemporary?
  • How formal or informal do you want your wedding to be? Not just the ceremony itself, but the environment and the dress code.

You need to think carefully about these decisions in order to make sure that you have the wedding you really want, rather than drift into something different altogether.

Once you have made your decision, you can be creative and find ways to make your ideal wedding happen within your set budget. Here are ten quick tips about how to save money on your wedding.

Ten tips for saving money on your wedding

  1. Go for a midweek wedding. This can often reduce the venue costs and also the fixed costs of the wedding ceremony such as the registrar and marriage certificate. 

  2. Plan an off peak wedding. The most popular – and therefore expensive – months tend to be June and September. But January, March, April, and November can be much cheaper.

  3. It usually works out cheaper to have the ceremony and reception in the same venue. Many hotels offer all-inclusive wedding packages that cover everything.

  4. When looking at reception venues, think outside the box. There are a wide range of good value reception venues out there, including church halls, village halls, community centres, pubs or even a home or garden if it has enough space. 

  5. If you need to organise your own catering for the reception, look at a variety of options, as getting external caterers to do the whole thing can be expensive. You may want to consider having a self-serve buffet – to which family and friends can contribute – instead of a sit down meal, or order simple food to be delivered, for example fish and chips. Or you could time the wedding so that you can serve afternoon tea instead of a main meal.

  6. Your wedding dress does not have to cost hundreds of pounds. There are wide ranges of wedding and celebration dresses available from High Street and online stores. And if you would be happy to wear a used dress, explore second hand sites such as eBay and Vinted. Two other money saving options are either to rent a wedding dress or to see if there is a family member or friend who could make something for you.

  7. Flowers can be expensive, so to save money it could be worth seeing if a friend is willing to help out. Also consider using artificial flowers instead of fresh. This is not only a lot cheaper, but means that you can keep them for years to come.

  8. Decorations can make any reception venue look lovely. Make sure you get plenty of help to do this and that you personalise it to your own taste. A tasteful combination of balloons, banners, ribbons, flowers and candles can create the perfect ambience for your special day. 

  9. You also need to decide what to do about a photographer. If you want guaranteed high quality photographs featuring everyone from the wedding, then it is worth getting a professional. If this is too expensive, see if there is a local vocational college who could recommend an able student to do the job for you. A much cheaper alternative is to ask all your guests to take photos on their phones, and have a Dropbox or equivalent for them to upload afterwards.

  10. Your wedding cake does not have to be custom made. It never lasts long anyway, so you can save a lot of money by ordering a large celebration cake from a supermarket then getting a friend to help personalise and decorate it as you wish.

We hope that this article has provided food for thought about whether or not you want a wedding, and various ways in which you can have a wonderful day without busting your budget. The key thing to remember is that it’s not how much money you spend, but how much you enjoy your day that matters. 

Check in again soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from direct lender Minty Loans.