Wed 15 Mar, 2006 02:14 am
Couples spurn the family to marry in far-flung romantic destinations
Wednesday March 15, 2006
What do you do if you want to avoid your mother's taste in nuptial gear, your prospective father-in-law's mind-numbing speech, your Auntie Flo's gin-diluted tears and a beer-befuddled best man's adventures with the rings and/or the bridesmaids?
Answer: take your wedding abroad and invite only close friends. A new survey suggests that almost one in four British couples who married in the last two years spurned the idea of a pretty country church under a leaden British sky and headed out of the country to plight their troth, spending £1.8bn in the process. The figure suggests a sharp rise on the five years from 1996 to 2001, when just 9% of couples married abroad.
Two out of five of those who travelled afar to wed said they had wanted to merge wedding and honeymoon into one decent holiday; a third had wanted a guarantee of decent weather on the big day; and more than a quarter admitted they had fled to escape relatives who drove them round the bend.
Prime overseas locations with a guarantee of both sun and romance were listed as South Africa, St Lucia, Mauritius, Las Vegas and Antigua. You can see any of these would be more appealing than Catford or Carlisle on a wet November day.
A spokesman for Direct Line Home Insurance, which carried out the survey, said: "Affordable airfares, a sense of adventure and the drudgery of British weather mean that overseas weddings are more popular than they have ever been."
He did not assess the impact of far-flying on the polar ice cap. But he did offer advice to couples who head off to begin a life of bliss without pondering their policies. "It is extremely important that they make sure their home contents are fully covered before they jet off," he said.
24% of those who married in the past two years chose a foreign wedding
£1.8bn was spent on foreign weddings in the same period
27% of those who opted or were opting for a foreign wedding said they did so to escape irritating relatives
Top 10 destinations
1 South Africa 6%
2 St Lucia 5%
3 Mauritius 4%
4 Las Vegas 4%
5 Antigua 4%
6 Republic of Ireland 4%
7 Jamaica 4%
8 Greek islands 3% 9 Hawaii 3% 10 Barbados 2%
And from a similar report in the Independent
With the average British wedding costing more than £20,000, beachfront marriages in foreign climes can also offer cheaper alternatives to lavish receptions in English country hotels.
But while many couples may be tempted to countries where wedding costs may be lower, their choice of location can also hit their guests' pockets hard.
More than two million people have recently been invited to a foreign wedding according to the survey, meaning that they have to pay for an airfare as well as a new outfit and present.
But there is a downside to exotic weddings; 2 per cent of newly married couples returned from their foreign nuptials to discover that they had been burgled while away.
Oh Walter, I think this is a marvelous idea!
I don't know about the trends in other countries, but I think American weddings are getting totally out of hand.
Not to be a stick in the mud, but it seems the original idea of two people joining and making vows to each other has become secondary to this one afternoon or evening of hoopla.
Beyond the expense, I think it's so egotistical to think that so much has to be done so people you may not even know well can watch you get married. The only person who's really important is the one you're standing across from.
I think the cost of this elopment to a romantic honeymoon would have to be significantly less, even if you pay for let's say half the airfare for a very few select friends.