Rise of the runaway brides! Record numbers of British couples choose to tie the knot abroad as cost of UK wedding soarsAverage UK wedding now costs 18,500A thrifty 80,000 couples set to marry abroad to cut costs
16:05 GMT, 7 May 2012
Record numbers of British couples are heading abroad to get married in a bid to avoid the spiralling costs of UK weddings, a study revealed today.
More than a third of couples have booked a wedding abroad, research suggests – a 15 per cent hike compared to figures for previous years.
That means as many as 80,000 Brits will shun the UK in favour of a foreign wedding over the next 12 months.
Hard to beat: Couples are heading abroad to get married in their droves thanks to a combination of spiralling wedding costs in the UK and a desire for warmer weather
The average cost of a UK wedding has topped more than 18,500 and a rate rise from the Church of England will see 40 per cent added to the cost of church weddings from January next year.
Yesterday Elvin Eldi, from foreign exchange provider Travelex, which conducted the research, said: 'It seems that the increasing costs associated with weddings these days, combined with the unpredictable British weather is driving many Brits to celebrate their nuptials abroad.
'With the pound at a 22 month high against the Euro and the likes of Spain and Portugal boasting less than half the average rainfall of the UK, it's little wonder we're saying 'I do' overseas.'
The study asked 500 engaged couples why they will ditch UK shores to get hitched.
It found three in ten said 'saving money' was one of the biggest reasons behind the trend.
Being able to invite fewer guests and combining the wedding with a hen and stag do, were also cited as further helping to drive the cost of an overseas weddings down.
One in three couples said a ceremony away from home was a great excuse for avoiding unwanted guests.
When asked how much they thought they could save by heading abroad, 30 per cent of couples predicted that they would be up to 5,000 better off.
One in three of the couples getting married abroad revealed they had deliberately cancelled UK wedding plans as a result of the increase in costs. It is expected that the number of weddings in the UK will fall to an all-time low next year.
Savings: With the average UK wedding costing 18,500, couples say they can shave 5,000 from that price – and still have their dream wedding – by travelling to foreign climes
Italy was cited as the most popular destination, with more than one in five (22 per cent) of the couples questioned revealing they have booked a wedding venue in the country.
It comes as a recent rise in the value of the Pound has knocked nearly nine per cent off the cost of a wedding in the Eurozone.
It means that couples getting hitched in Paris, just over two hours on a train from London, could save nearly 1,000 off the cost of a 10,000 wedding in the UK.
FROM BIG BUCKS TO COST-CUTTING IN ITALY
Laura Hutchinson, from Oxfordshire has moved her wedding from Buckinghamshire to the Italian Lakes.
She said: 'We're getting married in May next year and had originally booked a venue in the local area.
'We'd deliberately kept it small to
keep the cost down but then we got a call from the vicar saying he was
going to have to increase the fee for getting married in our local
'It was when we started looking
around for another venue that a friend said they'd recently got married
'We checked it out and discovered we could have a similar
wedding as in Oxfordshire, and get everyone over for less than in the
Daring to say 'I do' in the desert is also a popular choice with Brits, with 20 per cent saying they are heading to Las Vegas. The Caribbean and Hawaii were also common destinations.
Amanda Statham, Travel Editor at You and Your Wedding said: 'Getting married abroad has been a popular option for British couples, particularly in Europe, ever since the onset of budget airlines, which brought hundreds of romantic destinations and the promise of good weather within easy and cheap reach.
'We've been inundated with the numbers of British couples looking for advice on where to marry abroad.'
The research also highlighted how a basic wedding abroad can come in at less than half the price of a basic UK marriage ceremony.
The cost of a chapel wedding in Las Vegas starts at around US$200 (127), while in Hawaii, a wedding overseen by a licensed minister can cost US$380 (242).
Couples looking to get married in Greece, can book wedding packages at the Hotel Louise on Zante Beach that start at 535, which includes the venue, wedding ceremony and marriage certificate as well the wedding cake and flowers.