7 ways that UK weddings have changed this decade

Bride and groom with sparkler

From Ed Sheeran to Instagram etiquette and unique wedding venues to naked cakes, we look at the trends that have shaped the big day in the UK over the past decade…

1. It hasn’t happened until it happens on social media

A survey carried out by Confetti in 2017, revealed that 35 per cent of couples changed their relationship status on Facebook the moment they got engaged.

Another product of the modern age is that around a quarter of UK couples surveyed last year by hitched.co.uk said they had a wedding hashtag, and that’s before we get into the headache of creating a unique hashtag.

Managing social media has become an increasingly important part of being a wedding planner.  For example, there is the unspoken rule that guests should not post pictures of the wedding without getting the all-clear first.

Posting a picture of the bride and groom that doesn’t cast them in the most flattering light is probably one of the quickest ways to get yourself uninvited from future dinner parties.


2. Location, Location, Location

Readers of a certain age will remember when weddings were traditionally held in the local pub. During the 90s, what became known as the ‘Four Weddings… effect’ inspired more couples to look for a countryside house or hotel.

The current trend is to find either a unique location or venue that will be a talking point for guests but also says something about the hosts. According to hitched.co.uk, "It's becoming clear that more and more brides are looking for a unique and alternative venue to really show off their individuality.”


3. From Elvis to Ed via Etta

The first dance is perhaps the most obvious wedding trend that is likely to change with each passing year. Back in 2014, Spotify revealed that the 10 most popular first dance tunes around the world were as follows:

‘At Last’ - Etta James

‘I Won't Give Up’ - Jason Mraz

‘You Are the Best Thing’ - Ray LaMontagne

‘All of Me’ - John Legend

‘Better Together’ - Jack Johnson

‘A Thousand Years’ - Christina Perri

‘Everything’ - Michael Bublé

‘First Day of My Life’ - Bright Eyes

‘Then’ - Brad Paisley

“Make You Feel My Love’ - Adele

Fast forward to 2018 and we can see what some people might call the ‘Ed Factor’ upon the modern wedding playlist, although Elvis and Etta James still enjoy enduring popularity.

‘Perfect’ - Ed Sheeran

‘Thinking Out Loud’ - Ed Sheeran

‘At Last’ - Etta James

‘All of Me’ - John Legend

‘Can't Help Falling in Love’ - Elvis Presley

‘A Thousand Years’ - Christina Perri

‘You Are the Best Thing’ - Ray LaMontagne

‘I Won't Give Up’ - Jason Mraz

‘How Long Will I Love You’ - Ellie Goulding

‘Perfect’ - Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé

Could we see Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ featuring in next year’s list? After all, it was the first dance at Harry & Meghan’s wedding.


4. The Wedding March

Back in the 1950s and ’60s, March was the most popular month in which to get married. Yes, March. The reason was purely financial - a married man would receive a significantly higher tax allowance than if he was a single, so long as he got married before the end of the financial year around the start of April. In today’s money, that allowance would have been worth around £2,000 but it was scrapped by the government in 1968.

There was a brief spell during the ’90s when July topped the charts. But over the last decade, August has emerged as the most popular month to have a wedding, with more weddings on held 8/18/18 than any other day this year. However, if the current forecasts for summer heatwaves prove to be true, then it would come as no surprise to see September or October moving to the number one spot.


5. Wedding planners become big business

Back at the start of this century, being a planner was very much a niche job. They have since become an integral part of the wedding industry.

Last year’s Bridebook survey of 4,000 UK brides and grooms revealed that when it comes to choosing suppliers couples said that the most valuable sources of information were as follows:

40% - Recommendations from friends and family
37% - Wedding Fairs
36% - Personal experience at other people’s weddings
35% - Recommendations from their wedding venue


6. The evolution of the wedding gift list

Ten years ago, wedding gift lists were a largely predictable affair involving home furnishings invariably purchased through a well-known high street retailer.

In 2012, Prezola entered the market and offered a curated service that can accommodate for bespoke and unique requests, so you’re not dealing with one supplier. It is now the UK’s leading wedding gift service.

After Harrods closed its gift service in 2016, Prezola saw a gap in the market and now offers its own Platinum Service. According to co-founder Dom Beavan, “This is available to a select group of discerning clients by invitation only, through a network of high-end wedding planners, venues and suppliers.

“A dedicated list curator is appointed to each couple, who can then choose any product from any retailer in the world to add to their gift list.

“Guests are supported through a separate international guest concierge team and, after the wedding, all gifts are delivered free of charge, anywhere in Europe.”


7. Why it’s not rude to go nude

The standout wedding cake trend that has emerged in recent years is that of the naked cake. In other words, there is no icing around the filling.

American chef (and MasterChef judge) Christina Tosi is often cited as the person who inspired this trend. It is certainly lighter than a traditional wedding cake and, rather than using marzipan and icing on the outside, it reduces the potential issues around nut-allergies.

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