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Wedding Trends Report 2018

Every wedding is unique and the results of WED2B’s latest wedding trends, which was filled in by thousands of brides in December 2018, certainly reflects that. The answers reveal that modern brides know how to manage their budgets, like to spend plenty of time planning the perfect day and aren’t afraid to ask for money instead of gifts. Some traditional wedding day elements, such as sit-down meals, iced wedding cakes and hand-tied bouquets are as popular as they’ve ever been. When it comes to dresses, the universally flattering A-line silhouette is the big winner, closely followed by attractive fishtail designs. And finally, when it’s all over, most couples hope to jet off on honeymoon to a beachfront paradise.

With 5,044 respondents, WED2B 2018 trends gives an accurate picture of modern-day engagements and wedding planning, revealing exactly what today’s brides want and how they plan the best day of their lives...

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Methodology

The 2018 WED2B Wedding Trends was sent out to UK brides in December 2018, via email and Facebook. We asked them for all the details of their wedding planning, from which style of venue they preferred to whether they were having a wedding hashtag. In response, we received 5,044 completed surveys and below we’ve collated the results to give you a comprehensive view of how modern brides plan their big day.

Planning

The average age to marry

Everyone who completed the WED2B Wedding Trends told us their age of which the majority (41%) were between 26-30 years old. Couples are finding love at a later date too, as 3% of brides are aged between 46 and 50 years old while 3% are over the age of 51.

When did you get engaged?

The big moment actually happened a little while ago for many of these couples. Only 5% of the brides we spoke to were newly engaged and the majority had been engaged for over a year.

  • When did you get engaged

    5%

    In the last month

  • When did you get engaged

    18%

    Less than 6 months ago

  • When did you get engaged

    26%

    Between 6-12 months ago

  • When did you get engaged

    51%

    Over a year ago

Average Engagement Length

Modern couples are happy to wait for that walk down the aisle, often so they have more time to save up to cover the cost of the wedding. Only 3% of brides were having a short engagement and the majority were spending between one and two years planning their big day.

  • 3%

    Less than 6 months

  • 16%

    6 months to a year

  • 51%

    1-2 years

  • 30%

    2 years +

Money Matters

Setting a budget is one of the biggest tasks a couple have when they start planning their wedding and the average couple plan to spend between £5,000 and £10,000 on their celebration. Just 6% of couples will be planning to spend more than £20,000 on the big day.

  • LESS THAN £5000 15%
  • £5,000 -£10,000 44%
  • £10,000 - £20,000 35%
  • £20,000 + 6%

Venue Planning

Location, Location

After setting a budget the next key decision is location. The vast majority of brides are planning a wedding in the UK with 15% heading overseas to say their vows.

  • Abroad 15%
  • UK 85%

Most popular wedding dates

Unsurprisingly the most popular time to get married is in the warmer summer months. Spring is the second most popular season while just 13% of couples are planning a festive, winter do.

  • Most popular wedding dates

    13%

    Winter

  • Most popular wedding dates

    16%

    Autumn

  • Most popular wedding dates

    26%

    Spring

  • Most popular wedding dates

    45%

    Summer

Arriving at the ceremony

Making that big entrance normally happens on foot for happy couples and most brides are planning to get ready at their venue, which is a great way to save money. If transport was required then the traditional wedding car was the most popular option. Relatively few brides were planning to arrive by horse and carriage, preferring instead to travel by VW camper van or the family car. Feel inspired by our car & transport suppliers.

Style of venue

When we asked brides about their preferred style of wedding venue it was a close call between hotels, country houses and barn venues. The ‘Other’ category also included settings such as restaurants, beaches, churches, golf courses, registry offices and more. Check out our venue suppliers for more inspiration.

  • Style of venue

    22%

    Barn

  • Style of venue

    24%

    Country House

  • Style of venue

    25%

    Other

  • Style of venue

    29%

    Hotel

Indoors or Out?

The UK is known for its changeable weather, so it’s no surprise that 76% of brides are planning to marry indoors. 24% did say they were going to marry alfresco but this also includes many of those who were saying their vows overseas.

  • Outdoors 24%
  • Indoors 76%

The best time to get married

As you might expect, the middle of the day is couples’ favourite time to get married and 92% will be getting married between 12pm and 5pm. Those who chose ‘Other’ generally did so because they were undecided, while very few people said they would be getting married after 5pm.

  • The best time to get married

    0.5%

    Other

  • The best time to get married

    2.5%

    Later Than 5PM

  • The best time to get married

    5%

    Before 12PM

  • The best time to get married

    92%

    Between 12-5PM

Who’s on the guest list?

Over half of the people surveyed were inviting between 50 and 100 friends and family to share their special day. Only 6% were inviting more than 150 guests. There are also plenty of brides who are planning something a little more intimate, with just over 15% inviting fewer than 50 guests.

Entertainment

Choosing the entertainment

Plenty of contemporary couples are planning to add extra elements to make sure guests have a great time. For example, 57% of brides are planning to have a photobooth to keep people entertained, 16% will be hiring a magician and 10% will add some games into the mix. Check out our entertainment suppliers for more inspiration.

  • Choosing the entertainment

    10%

    Games

  • Choosing the entertainment

    16%

    Magician

  • Choosing the entertainment

    17%

    None

  • Choosing the entertainment

    57%

    Phonebooth

The wedding #hashtag

Will you or won’t you be sharing the big day on social media? It was very close but just over half of the brides who completed the WED2B wedding trends will be having a wedding hashtag.

  • No 46%
  • Yes 54%

Arranging the music

When it comes to the music, the majority of couples are booking a DJ while 38% will go for a live band. The 4% who chose ‘Other’ will be partying along to a Spotify playlist, streaming their own music or enjoying an acoustic guitar or piano player. Only 1% were planning to book a string quartet.

  • Arranging the music

    1%

    String Quartet

  • Arranging the music

    4%

    Other

  • Arranging the music

    38%

    Live Band

  • Arranging the music

    57%

    DJ

Wedding Dress / Bridesmaids

Beautiful bridesmaids

The average number of bridesmaids is four or less and just 21% of brides are planning to have five or more. Alternatively, 6% prefer to keep it simple with no bridesmaids whatsoever.

  • Beautiful Bridesmaids

    6%

    None

  • Beautiful Bridesmaids

    21%

    Five Or More

  • Beautiful Bridesmaids

    73%

    Four or less

When it comes to dressing their friends, pink and blue are way out in front as the most popular colour choices, with grey and purple almost tying for third place. Orange and brown, on the other hand, are right at the bottom of the list. View our bridesmaids colour range.

The bride’s dress

Flattering A-line styles, which suit almost every figure, is the clear winner when it comes to wedding dress shapes. Fabulous fishtail styles aren’t far behind with ballgowns and fit and flare silhouettes coming in third and fourth place.

Design elements

The WED2B Wedding Trends reveals that most brides would love to find a dress embroidered with lace detailing. Plain and simple designs comes in third place after more glitzy sparkly and beaded styles.

When to start shopping

2% of brides plan to start shopping for their dream wedding dress more than 19 months before the big day, although most start looking for ‘The One’ between 9 and 18 months before they walk down the aisle.

  • 7%

    19%+ Months

  • 13%

    Less than 5 months before

  • 34%

    6-9 months before

  • 46%

    9-18 months before

How much to spend

Half of the brides plan to spend between £501 and £700 on their dream dress but 37% are happy to spend £701 or more on the perfect design. Just 2% are hoping to find ‘The One’ for less than £300.

Make Up / Accessories

Choosing a bouquet

When it comes to flowers, the classic hand-tied bouquet is the most popular, with 59% of brides choosing to carry one down the aisle. Other favourite styles include round, posy, teardrop and waterfall shapes.

  • Choosing a bouquet

    8%

    Other

  • Choosing a bouquet

    13%

    Posy

  • Choosing a bouquet

    20%

    Round

  • Choosing a bouquet

    59%

    Hand Tied

The Perfect Shoes

58% of brides will be wearing classic ivory shoes although 19% are breaking the tradition and going for something more colourful. Brides who chose 'Other' told us they were wearing anything from sandals and flats to Converse trainers, while 1% will be wearing wedding wellies!

  • Wellies 1%
  • Coloured Shoes 19%
  • Other 22%
  • Traditional Ivory 58%

Bridal Make-Up

Most brides will hire a professional make-up artist to get their bridal beauty look just right. The rest are either choosing to do it themselves or asking a family member or friends to help out.

  • Bridal Make-Up

    2%

    Other

  • Bridal Make-Up

    10%

    Family

  • Bridal Make-Up

    13%

    Yourself

  • Bridal Make-Up

    75%

    Make Up Artist

Big day hairstyles

Of all the wedding hairstyles, an up-do is the most popular look for brides, while braids were the least popular, with only 4% wearing their hair this way.

Also, the clear favourites when it comes to hair accessories are hair combs and pins, which are being worn by the majority of brides. Classic tiaras are also popular while 12% will be leaving their hair unadorned.

Decor and details

The theme for the day

The most popular decor option was rustic, with most brides choosing that theme for their reception. Vintage themes were slightly less popular at just 17%, overtaken by a preference for a little sparkle and glamour instead. Other favourite themes included traditional, Christmas and Disney, while a number of brides told us they weren’t having a theme at all.

  • The theme for the day

    17%

    Vintage

  • The theme for the day

    21%

    Other

  • The theme for the day

    26%

    Sparkle

  • The theme for the day

    36%

    Rustic

The wedding breakfast

Despite the growing popularity of food stalls and sharing plates, most couples will still be going for the classic sit-down meal for their wedding breakfast. Buffets were the second most popular option with other styles, such as BBQs and hog roasts, also getting plenty of mentions.

The classic cake

Traditional iced wedding cakes are still the favourite although naked wedding cakes are catching up in popularity. Those who ticked ‘Other’ told us they were going for more unusual ideas, such as tiers of cheese or doughnuts instead.

  • The classic cake

    9%

    Cupcakes

  • The classic cake

    12%

    Other

  • The classic cake

    26%

    Naked Cake

  • The classic cake

    53%

    Traditional

A dress rehearsal?

One tradition that seems to be less popular with UK brides is the rehearsal dinner, a meal for friends and family that’s usually held the night before the wedding. Only 12% of brides said they would be following this American trend.

  • Yes 12%
  • No 88%

The wedding rings

Lots of couples are looking for good value when buying their wedding bands, with most spending £1,000 or less. Just 13% of the couples surveyed will be spending more than £1,000.

  • The Wedding Rings

    13%

    £1000+

  • The Wedding Rings

    42%

    Less Than £500

  • The Wedding Rings

    45%

    £500-£1,000

The drinks reception

A glass of fizz is the most popular choice for celebrating at the drinks reception, with 61% serving Champagne after the ceremony. Other options included mixing your bubbles with orange juice to make a Bucks Fizz or serving cocktails, Pimms or prosecco instead.

Post Wedding

Dream honeymoon destinations

And, once the celebrating is over, we asked brides where they would love to go on their honeymoon. A beach paradise was the outright winner, with 64% dreaming of white sand and clear, blue sea. 19% have a taste for adventure while the brides who chose ‘Other’ talked about going on a cruise, a safari or a once- in-a-lifetime trip to Disneyland.

  • Dream honeymoon destinations

    8%

    City Break

  • Dream honeymoon destinations

    9%

    Other

  • Dream honeymoon destinations

    19%

    Adventure Holiday

  • Dream honeymoon destinations

    64%

    Beach Paradise

The gift list

And, finally, we asked what types of gifts couples would prefer to receive. The overwhelming answer was money, showing that modern couples aren’t afraid to ask for cash to put towards something special. Gifts for the home and personalised gifts were also popular, however only 1% said they would like to receive gifts of food or drinks.

  • Food & Drink 1%
  • Personalsed gifts 10%
  • Gifts for the home 11%
  • Monetry gift 78%

Supplier Directory

The WED2B wedding suppliers directory showcases the finest wedding suppliers in the bridal industry, bringing you local quality suppliers that can help bring your wedding vision to life. Everything from transport and photographers to florists, cake makers and entertainers.

We’re looking to partner with selected suppliers to offer our brides access to an exclusive directory of approved wedding suppliers. If you would like to get 6 months free listing, visit www.wed2b.com/wedding-suppliers for more information.

2019 WED2B wedding trends

We will be sending out the 2019 WED2B Wedding Trends to brides during the summer of 2019. If you would like to contribute new questions to be considered for the trends, please email them to info@wed2b.co.uk

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