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Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 3 May 2018 | 0 Comments

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3 May 2018

London, 30th April 2018: With less than a month to go until this year’s highly anticipated Royal Wedding on 19th May, the world’s eyes are on Meghan and Harry and the plans for their big day.

New research conducted by Sandals Resorts with Brits who got married for the first time in the last five years suggests that if a royal budget were no object, a whopping 83% would do things differently when looking back on their big day and just 17% wouldn’t change a thing. If they could do it all again, respondents’ highest priorities would be better photography and videography (12%), having more days of celebrations with family and friends (11%), marrying overseas for better weather (11%) and inviting more of the guests they want rather than those they felt they should (10%).

The top wedding planning concerns were revealed as:

1.Overall cost (45%)
2.Venue size/location (29%)
3.Looking good on the day (27%)
4.Entertainment (25%)
5.Weather on the day (24%)
The guest list is another notorious cause of wedding day stress for both regular and celebrity couples, even Meghan and Harry have recently revealed that politicians including Theresa May, Donald Trump and Barack Obama will be exempt from their guest list. The survey showed that many couples said that inviting people they don’t know or have no contact with just to please their parents was their top concern (18%) and 21% of newlyweds chose not to invite children to attend their wedding.
The seating plan is another cause for concern, with 13% of respondents stating this as one of their biggest worries. Almost a third of people surveyed (30%) only kept in touch with 26-50% of their wedding guests after their big day and just 16% stayed in touch with everyone on their guest list. In hindsight, over half (52%) of newlyweds surveyed said they would have less guests and a more lavish wedding if they were to do it all again, compared to just 22% who would have more guests but a less lavish celebration.

Whilst most brides and grooms weren’t able to have Ed Sheeran or the Spice Girls performing at their nuptials, entertainment still factored highly in the list of wedding concerns (25%). Entertainment was very important for respondents from London and the South East in particular; as 30% named this as their second biggest concern after overall cost (joint with looking good on the day).

Weather on the day proved most important for those who got married in the UK with a honeymoon overseas (27%). Of those aged 25-34, 30% said looking good on the day was one of their main concerns, while 22% were worried about what other people would think of their wedding.

Sandals Resorts’ Director of Romance, Marsha-Ann Brown, says “It’s a typically British trait for couples to be concerned about the weather on their wedding day, though it’s the one thing that no-one can control, not even Meghan and Harry! Fortunately, Caribbean weddings are often blessed with sunshine – it’s one of the natural advantages of getting married overseas. The rise of social media over the last five years especially could explain the fact that most millennials are concerned about what other people think of their wedding day and how they look.”

Social media savvy

Unsurprisingly, social media now plays a big part in most couples’ wedding days, with the rise of ‘wedding hashtags’ becoming ever popular in recent years.

54% of overall respondents said that it was important that their wedding looked good on social media – regardless of whether they were pleased with the results or not – versus 23% who felt it was unimportant either way. Sandals found that close to half (41%) of all respondents thought it was important that their wedding looked good when being shared on social media, and were pleased with the results.

One in ten however had a complete ban on social media for their wedding or didn’t want anyone to share until they gave the go ahead. Respondents from the North (East, West & Yorkshire and the Humber) were the most easy-going in terms of social media at their wedding, with only 3% specifically asking for their wedding day not to be shared on social media at all.

Hey, big spender

Everyone knows that weddings are no cheap feat – Sandals’ survey revealed that the average bride and groom spent £13,370 on a wedding in the UK, while an additional honeymoon abroad could cost up to an extra £6,220. However, those who opted for a combined wedding and honeymoon overseas spent just £10,380 overall. Of those surveyed, the average newlyweds overspent on their wedding by 18%, with 12% going over budget by between 76 -100%.

With cost playing such a big factor in the decision making, it’s no wonder brides and grooms are stressed about shelling out for their big day. However, a kindly 93% of all respondents said they were considerate of the costs to their guests, and more than three quarters of respondents from London said that this influenced their wedding plans (81%). Just 22% of all respondents admitted the cost incurred to their guests didn’t influence their wedding choices at all.

Considering less obvious expenses should also be important for brides and grooms planning ahead, as 85% of respondents experienced unexpected costs when making their wedding arrangements. Top of the list for surprise expenses were food (13%), venue (12%), entertainment (9%), décor (8%) and last but not least, the wedding dress itself (8%).

When it comes down to wedding presents, the honeymoon takes precedent with almost a third of respondents (31%) asking for help towards their honeymoon instead of more traditional wedding gifts such as household items (22%) or vouchers (21%). 30% asked for money (for any purpose), whilst one in six of all respondents asked for a donation to their nominated charity – just as Meghan and Harry have done. Interestingly, 20% of all newlyweds didn’t ask for a gift from their guests at all.

‘Time’ to say I do

Over a quarter of all respondents continued their party for 2-3 days (27%) rather than the traditional one-day event. Respondents from London and the South East celebrated for the longest time overall, with celebrations lasting for 5 days and 4.8 hours on average. However, almost a quarter of all respondents (21%) spent just 1-3 hours with their significant other on their big day. Newlyweds from the North (East, West & Yorkshire) were some of those who spent the most time together on their wedding day, averaging at 6 hours and 37 minutes overall.

To book or for more information on Sandals Resorts visit, call 0800 597 0002 or pop down to the new sandals Luxury Travel Store at 135 Fulham Road, London.

*Sandals Resorts polled 501 UK residents who got married for the first time in the last five years as part of its weddings study, with the research conducted between 26th March and 5th April 2018.  Research was conducted by Opinion Matters and Markettiers. Opinion Matters abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.