Princess Eugenie is to marry partner Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle on Friday morning. The 28-year-old, who is ninth in line to the throne, has been dating Brooksbank (former manager of Mayfair club Mahiki) for seven years since they met on a skiing holiday.
It is the second royal wedding of the year to be hosted at Windsor Castle, following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s ceremony back in May, but unlike the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Eugenie will be married on a weekday.
In their decision to marry on Friday October 12, the couple join the growing number of people in the UK shunning Saturday and Sunday nuptials.
In fact there are now so many Friday weddings that Bernadette Chapman, who runs the UK alliance of wedding planners, tells HuffPost UK that the day is classed by industry insiders as a ‘peak day’ for most venues and suppliers.
Where once a weekday wedding would have been a guaranteed cost-saving exercise, a Friday do is now unlikely to save you huge amounts of money. There might be the odd reductions here and there but, overall, you won’t slash your budget in the way you could on a Tuesday or Wednesday, for example.
So why do people do it? Especially when you’re a royal and can afford to pay premium. The security alone for Princess Eugenie’s wedding is estimated to be costing the taxpayer between £2-£4 million in policing: a figure that would be dizzyingly expensive regardless of the day of the week.
Chapman says people choose Fridays for a number of reasons. Often it comes down to venue. “Popular venues can get booked two years in advance so sometimes availability is a problem for Saturdays. Better to have their chosen venue on a Friday then second choice venue on a Saturday,” she says.
It also makes sense if you want a longer weekend to recover before heading back to work or off on your honeymoon.
Lucy*, 30, a bride who has chosen to have a Friday wedding, told us she agrees it is important to be able to enjoy the whole weekend – she and her fiancé feel they can afford to put on a better party and that people can let their hair down.
She says the day is so popular now that guests aren’t surprised when they open the invite. “We’re not concerned about our guests being annoyed because we’ve only invited close family and friends.”
We’re not concerned about our guests being annoyed..." Lucy*
For other people, there are religious reasons. Chapman explains: “In Hindu culture you find more couples have an Indian ceremony during the day as it means the numbers will be smaller. In the evening they will then have a meet and greet where the extended family and friends are invited. This leaves the weekend for the reception where non-vegetarian food and alcohol can be served as it is a different day to the religious ceremony.”
Also, for the cynics among us, holding a Friday wedding is a good way for the bride and groom to weed out those non-committed guests, and avoid paying for their dinner. “Close friends and family will be happy to book a day off work, leaving you with the guests that truly love you,” says Chapman.
This can be a major sore point for guests, having to use up their annual leave for a friend’s wedding. Most of us get somewhere between 20-25 days’ holiday a year, so no wonder it’s so precious to us. And what if your boss says no to your request? Presumably, the 1200 members of the public invited to stand outside Princess Eugenie’s big day have pretty lenient ones.
Melanie MacLeod, 28, was a guest at a Friday wedding and says she wasn’t bothered about taking the time off work, and didn’t believe any of her fellow guests were either.
“I liked the ease of it – it made the weekend extra special without taking up the whole weekend, as many weddings do, and the fact that it didn’t kick off until 3pm made it a perfect start to the weekend.”
Admittedly, this is something that guests need to factor in – getting to the church on time when you’re facing Friday exodus traffic on the roads.
MacLeod says her bride and groom on that occasion hadn’t done it for financial reasons – “they presumed it would be cheaper, but the only thing that did cost less was the registrar”. They just thought it would be a bit different.
Given cost and venue hire presumably weren’t big issues for Princess Eugenie and her future husband, perhaps they were inspired to do things just a little differently.
Or maybe, like other bride and grooms, they simply has a schedule clash. A wedding photographer, who wanted to remain anonymous, told HuffPost UK: “One of my couples is moving their wedding to a Friday wedding because there’s a big footy match on on the Saturday...”
Whatever the reasoning, weekday weddings will surely continue to grow in popularity. Wedding guest MacLeod says: “I’d gladly attend another Friday wedding, just waiting for my invite from Eugenie.”
Although bride Lucy admits she’d probably draw the line at anything earlier in the week: “Nobody wants to go to a wedding on a weeknight and be hungover the next day!”
*Names have been changed upon request