White weddings leave many in the red

30 July 2004
The long-term commitment of marriage no longer just extends to the vows - people now need to think about the financial side of things too.

With the average cost of the big day almost topping £18,000 many find themselves having to think about saving or borrowing to fund the event.

According to new findings from an AA Financial Services survey over half of those asked (56 per cent) said they save for a wedding in the family. Subsequently it ranks as the fourth most likely reason for saving after holiday, home improvements and car purchase.

The survey, asking savers how long they put money aside for a family wedding, found that in the south-east one in three (30 per cent) is likely to save for just six months.

Engaged Scottish couples or their parents typically save for a year for a wedding (42 per cent), a further quarter saving for up to five years. In Wales and the south-west, one in five will save for over five years.

"What is remarkable is that 85 per cent of people go to their high street provider for a savings account rather than shopping around for the best interest rate," says Lloyd East, general manager of AA Financial Services.

"Some high street accounts pay less than 1 per cent interest yet simply to stand still against the Retail Prices Index, they should be getting 2.88 per cent, taking tax into account."

The average length of engagement is just 23 months but young people who save for their wedding appear to do so for less than half that time.

The survey also found that more than half (53 per cent) of those saving for a wedding, do so to reduce the amount they have to borrow to pay for the great day.