Yesterday being Valentine’s Day, I know there will have been a plethora of marriage proposals. So congratulations to any couple who got engaged.
It reminds me that the rules of engagement have changed drastically since my own husband popped the question (sigh, a lifetime ago!). Back in the 60s and 70s the average time from proposals to nuptials was 3-6 months.
And, just a decade ago, when the happy chap popped the question, the couple immediately started drawing up the wedding plans and tied the actual knot less than a year later.
Now many couples are getting engaged, taking a deep breath and waiting three years or more before getting hitched.
A major part of the reason is cost. Couples are spending, on average, double what they did 10 years ago. The rise of reality TV shows like Four Weddings or Don’t Tell the Bride and pretty on-line wedding sites have undoubtedly put pressure on brides-to-be, in particular, to raise both their expectations and expenditure for the Big Day.
Nowadays, research shows more couples are paying for their own wedding, without parental contributions. They also feel great pressure to buy a home together at a time when house prices have rarely been higher.
So it’s no surprise that they need more time to save up all the money.
The knock-on effect, of course, is that they are getting married later: the median age for men is 29.7 years and women 28 years – that’s an increase of more than 3 years since 1990.
It’s tough. When I got married, it was a whole lot simpler. My engagement ring was antique (ie second hand!), and my $100 dress came from Topshop (a trendy girls’ clothes shop in the UK); we had about 20 guests, a wedding lunch, and a few nights in a B&B on the north east coast of Scotland.
Today the standard wedding set-up for couples includes designer clothes, expensive rings, honeymoons in exotic foreign climes and receptions in top venues.
A wonderful Noosa wedding doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Set a budget that you are comfortable with and figure out what is really important to you both. After all, if you’ve been engaged for a long while, it will be a joyous and memorable day however much you spend.