The trend for weddings held on Tuscan hillsides and exotic beaches looks to be on the wane — possibly to the relief of cash-strapped guests.
New figures show couples are apparently falling out of love with the idea of overseas ceremonies in the wake of the Brexit vote and the weakened pound. They are now more likely to stick to having their nuptials much closer to home.
Data from online stationery company Paperless Post, which specialises in sending out wedding invitations, suggests the number of couples in London planning to tie the knot in foreign climes dropped 20 per cent in the third quarter of 2016, compared with last year.
Until recently, almost 50,000 of the couples using Paperless Post got married abroad every year, with the most popular destinations being Thailand, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, the Caribbean, America and Europe.
The analysis shows weddings planned for Europe, mainly in Italy, Greece and France, are down 20 per cent. The Caribbean is down 40 per cent.
Most couples picked an overseas destination for guaranteed sunshine and value for money for their arrangements. Paperless Post analysed the invites sent out since the EU referendum in order to amass the data.
Caroline Harding-Gelbard, its UK general manager, said: “It seems British brides are falling out of love with getting married abroad. Paperless Post has seen a sharp drop in British brides purchasing invites for overseas weddings. The good news is the number of people getting married is increasing but for those who dream of tying the knot abroad it’s getting too expensive. Obviously it is a great bonus for the British wedding industry.”
At the height of the overseas wedding trend, 1.5 million people headed abroad from Britain to celebrate marriages around the world, according to the Association of British Travel Agents. Figures suggest the average wedding abroad costs around £7,000, compared with £20,000 in this country. The pound fell to a 31-year low against the dollar last month, although it has recovered somewhat following the election of Donald Trump as president in the US last week. In some airports last month, the euro was more valuable than the pound.
"When the pound fell after Brexit, we dropped Dubai to get married in Bath"
Abby Kidd, 27, and Ikenna Lewis-Miller, 36, who both work in events, are getting married near Bath next September, but were originally planning to tie the knot in Dubai.
Ms Kidd, who lives in Clapham, said: “We lived in Dubai for about a year when Ikenna was transferred there for work. It was an amazing place and we had a great lifestyle. When we decided to get married, we thought very seriously about having the ceremony in Dubai.
“The whole package would have been much cheaper. On the other hand, we also really wanted to get married in England. We were really torn. When the pound dropped after Brexit, it made up our minds because suddenly getting married abroad was no longer that cheap.”
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