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The Bells, The Bells!!


Posted At: 08 June 2009 14:51 PM
Related Categories: Retail Statistics


No the retailers have not started early for Christmas this year and no this is not the death knell sounding again for yet more ghastly economy news! What I would like to discuss today is weddings!

We all love a good wedding don’t we…or do we? As I have noticed (yes I have got to ‘that age’) more and more of my friends are heading down the aisle, and while we all know that they’re costly occasions, research suggests that Bridezillas are not about to let a little thing like a recession get in the way of their big day! In fact, because marriages are more often than not saved for and planned in advance, the wedding sector of the retail market has yet to be affected by the aforementioned woes. And in June last year it was reported that the cost of weddings was still on the increase.

The Telegraph reported on findings from You and Your Wedding – which has been monitoring the cost of ceremonies for over 12 years - that the average price totaled £20,273, compared with just £14,643 five years before, in 2003. It is believed that this year’s figure will top £21,000, but it’s not just a cost to the bridge and groom (of their parents)…these days, we all have to fork out! Let’s look at the cost of weddings from a guest’s point of view first: ~

As reported by WalletPop UK, a survey conducted by Halifax last month revealed it costs on average over £600 pounds to attend a wedding. The top 5 items we spend on are listed below:

1. An outfit for the big day (av spend £123)
2. Present for the happy couple
3. Accommodation near the venue if is not local (circa £109)
4. The Hen or Stag Party
5. Reception drinks

67% of respondents were prepared to spend whatever it took to make the big day special for the happy couple...ahhh, but should that really be the case? In times of hardship, surely something’s got to give?

The article then goes on to explain how an individual can dramatically minimise their celebratory expenditure, however I am not so sure I would agree with some of the suggestions (a bed and breakfast instead of a hotel – fine common sense – a camp site however er I think perhaps not!)

And its good news for parents too - although the tradition is for the father of the bride to foot the bill, a lot of couples nowadays are choosing to hold off and to contribute towards some, if not all, of the costs.

Big Money

The most costly part of any wedding is the reception; this includes venue and catering costs, plus any entertainment; spending on the reception was averaging out at £7,700 this time last year, while honey moon costs come in second, followed by the engagement ring for the bride in third place.

The Dress

The reported average cost of a wedding dress comes in at just under £1,000. But that figure may not be particularly reflective of the truth. With the dominance of traders like eBay it is possible to pick up the dress of your dreams (so I hear) for well under half that. Of course, you don’t have to penny pinch; one young lady from Gloucester proved dresses can be a hell of a lot pricier than that. This particular bride got married in a 60ft-wide gown. It (the gown not the bride) weighed 25 stone and cost £25,000 – in fact, it was so heavy it had to be pushed up the aisle!

Retailers and the Credit Crunch

Doing the research for this blog I found that wedding dress retailers have all experienced their own economic downs, however sales now seen to be on the rise. It seems that sensible as it may seem, cutting back on the special day is simply not an option for most; a fact I’m sure the wedding sector will be relieved to hear!

For access to sales information for over 2,000 retailers why not take a look at our retailer database, SnapShop. Membership to our service starts at just £ 96+VAT per year. Click the FreeZone button to your right for more information.

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The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinion of the author and are not intended as statements of fact and do not represent the view of SnapShop or Pragma in any way.


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