“It felt like the natural thing to do,” says Anastasia Wilson, 24, who covered the entire cost of her £12,000 wedding with her husband Ryan, 26, without any additional help from family or friends. The couple, who got married last year said they used a combination of credit cards and their savings to cover the bill.
Anastasia, who lives in Nottingham, says that even though her father and her partner’s parents offered to help with the overall costs they wanted to fund it themselves, with only the catering being partly arranged by her mother-in-law. And they aren’t the only young people choosing to singlehandedly foot the bill.
With millennials facing higher living costs than ever before and many unable to afford to buy their own homes, it might come as a surprise that more young people than ever are reportedly bankrolling the huge financial investment.
But a study of 3000 UK couples - aged between 25 and 35 years old - found there had been an 18% drop in those getting financial help from other people to pay for their big day. Instead, they are choosing to stump up the money themselves.
Laura Atkinson, 23, from Portsmouth, and her fiancé, who got engaged in March last year explained that they will be paying for their wedding between the two of them. “That is, when we finally get round to organising it,” says Laura.
“We just didn’t want to put the burden on my parents, we didn’t have a lot of disposable income lying around to splurge, but neither had they,” explained Charlie Smith*, 32, from Brighton who got married just before Christmas.
This chimes with what Hamish Shephard, founder of wedding app Bridebook who conducted the study, believes is the real reason behind the upturn in self-funded weddings. “People are getting married at an older age now [women on average at 30.8 and men at 32.7 years old].
“They are in a position to be able to host their own wedding, and no longer see it as their parents’ responsibility.” Interestingly this lack of parental involvement on the money side also translates into less involvement overall. With less than half (44%) of mothers getting involved with wedding planning compared to more than half (52%) in 2017, and fathers’ down from 13% to 11%.
“People are approaching their own weddings much more as a party they are hosting for their loved ones..."”
These findings may seem surprising given millennials are often portrayed as being between a suspended state of child and adulthood, which means they’re financially dependent on their parents for much longer than previous generations.
Shephard explains that most couples have been together almost five years (4.9 years to be exact) before walking down the aisle and have often lived together - potentially meaning they’ve had time to be contributing towards a wedding piggy bank.
They’re certainly going to need to count the pennies as weddings continue to get more expensive year on year. The average couple now spends £17,913 on their wedding, excluding the costs of their honeymoon, which is £1,071 more than last year. And even if couples save up themselves, on average they still end up spending 45% more than their combined income on the day.
Shephard speculates another factor to paying yourself is younger people just want to have flashier and ‘Instagram-friendly’ (therefore more costly) nuptials than ever before. So don’t want others to compensate their expensive taste.
“It becomes clear people are approaching their own weddings much more as a party they are hosting for their loved ones, than vice versa.”
*Names have been changed at individual's request.