Surge in winter weddings as couples attempt to save money amid economic gloom
Register office data shows that thousands more people are tying the knot between October and March than in previous years, to save money on hosting receptions.
Companies offering wedding services are also reporting booming business as couples take advantage of prices thousands of pounds cheaper than during the peak summer months.
The number of couples getting married in winter has risen by up to 15 per cent in some areas, with winter weddings now accounting for more than 30 per cent of all marriages in Britain.
The trend is even said to be having an impact on wedding attire, with more designers offering coats, shawls and different coloured dresses from the traditional white and ivory gowns bought by most brides.
Belinda Hanks, editor of Confetti, the online bridal store and magazine, said: “One of the main factors behind this has been pressure on budgets.
“With the economy the way it is, couples are realising that if they go for a winter wedding they can get a much better deal.
“You can shave down your budget by around a quarter if you marry in winter through savings on venue hire and catering – you’re talking about thousands of pounds. This has been a growing trend over the last couple of years.”
According to the most up to date marriage data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the number of marriages in the winter months has increased by around seven per cent in two years.
In 2006 there were 25,880 marriages in the March quarter and 41,150 in the December quarter. This rose to 27, 610 and 44,015 respectively for the same three-month periods in 2008.
More recent figures from local authorities suggests that the trend has continued to accelerate with thousands more weddings scheduled for the next three months.
The unpredictability of the British weather is also said to be a contributing factor in couple’s choosing the colder months. Miss Hanks added: “A lot of people are coming around to the fact that even if you book a wedding in the summer, the weather in Britain is not guaranteed to be good.
“Going for a winter ceremony means people’s expectations are not raised, so it is one less thing to get stressed about when planning the big day.”
Experts believe the trend is impacting on wedding dress fashion with more designers creating red wedding dresses, which are becoming popular choices at winter ceremonies, as well as matching coats and accessories.
Debenhams, the department store, said the number of brides signed up to its wedding list service in January was up 89 per cent on the same period last year. Michelle Dowdall, a Debenhams spokesperson, said:“Winter weddings are becoming increasingly popular with our customers, as cash-savvy couples opt to tie the knot at a time of year considered ‘off peak’ by many venues.
“The growing trend of winter weddings is also reflected in the items featuring on wedding lists. Couples are asking guests for blankets, throws, heavy tog duvets and his and hers dressing gowns. ”