Sandals South Coast Jamaica Over the Water Chapel and Beach Aisle - Caribbean Beach Wedding |

How Does Your Wedding Measure Up to the Royal Wedding?

Ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding on the 19th May (just a few weeks away!), Sandals Resorts have conducted a study with Brits who got married for the first time in the last five years. So how does your wedding measure up to the royal wedding?

For more on the royal wedding, take a look at the royal wedding flowers and the royal wedding invitations.


Sandals South Coast Jamaica Over-the-Water Bungalows | above: Over-the-Water Bungalows at Sandals South Coast, Jamaica

The Cost of the Wedding and the Honeymoon

In Sandals’ survey, the average bride and groom getting married in the UK spent £13,370 “while an additional honeymoon abroad could cost up to an extra £6,220”. Almost £20,000 overall! On the other hand, Sandals found that a combined wedding and honeymoon (or “Weddingmoon”) overseas was, on average, as little as £10,380. Furthermore, 18% of newlyweds overspent on their wedding while 12% exceeded their budget by between 76-100%, and 85% of respondants revealed that they’d run into unexpected costs. Surprise expenses included:

  1. Food (13%)
  2. Venue (12%)
  3. Entertainment (9%)
  4. Décor (8%)
  5. Wedding dress (8%)

Similarly, regarding wedding gifts, most people (31%) in the survey said they asked for monetary help towards their honeymoon instead of the more traditional wedding gifts (here’s how to ask for a gift of cash) and, like Meghan and Harry, “one in six asked for a donation to their nominated charity instead of a wedding gift”.

Rumour has it that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may be planning a luxury honeymoon in the Caribbean. Will you be following in their footsteps?

Sandals Royal Caribbean | above: Over-the-Water Villas at Sandals Royal Caribbean

To save yourself from hidden costs, read up on these 5 expenses you might have left our of your wedding budget, and read on to find out how much the average wedding costs.

Top Wedding Planning Concerns

Sandals Royal Caribbean | above: Sandals Royal Caribbean

According to Sandals’ study, if a royal budget was available 83% of married Brits* would do things differently and just 17% wouldn’t change a thing. The top wedding planning concerns were:

  1. Overall cost (45%)
  2. Venue size/location (29%)
  3. Looking good on the day (27%)
  4. Entertainment (25%)
  5. Weather on the day (24%)

Interestingly, “wedding entertainment” was named as the second biggest concern after “overall cost” among 30% of responders from London and the South East. The average couple may not be being joined by top-tier acts like Ed Sheeran for their wedding as it’s rumoured Harry and Meghan will be, but that doesn’t mean they’re not looking for the perfect entertainment.

Additionally, the highest concern of 18% of couples was “inviting people they don’t know or have no contact with just to please their parents ” and, similarly, 13% of those surveyed said the seating plan is another big worry. Arranging the guest list can be stressful enough without throwing in a bunch of people you’re unfamiliar with! Plus it’s very likely that you may not keep in touch with every one of your guests anyway—Sandals’ survey revealed that “almost a third of people (30%) surveyed only kept in touch with 26-50% of their wedding guests after their big day and just 16% stayed in touch with everyone on their guest list.”

All the more reason to invite who you want and who you’re close to—you shouldn’t be pressured into inviting who you don’t want to be there, whether that’s adults or children (in Sandals’ survey,  21% of newlyweds didn’t invite children to the wedding). Prince Harry and Meghan Markle seem to be avoiding inviting people they don’t know well for their own upcoming wedding, having elected to not invite prominent politicians including Theresa May, Donald Trump, and Barack Obama.

Flower Crowns Retro Bride with Colourful Red Yellow and Blue Flower Crown |

The survey also revealed that 30% of those aged 25-30 said looking good on the day was a main concern and 22% were worried about what other people would think of their wedding. Furthermore, weather on the big day “proved most important for those who got married in the UK with a honeymoon overseas (27%)”.

Marsha-Ann Brown, Sandals Resorts’ Director of Romance, explains that,

“It’s a typically British trait for couples to be concerned about the weather on their wedding day, though it’s the one thing that no one can control, not even Meghan and Harry! Fortunately, Caribbean weddings are often blessed with sunshine—it’s one of the natural advantages of getting married overseas. The rise of social media over the last five years especially could explain the fact that most millennials are concerned about what other people think of their wedding day and how they look.”

Sandals South Coast Jamaica Over the Water Chapel and Beach Aisle - Caribbean Beach Wedding | above: Over-the-Water Chapel at Sandals South Coast, Jamaica

Weddings and Social Media

Though very few weddings will ever be under the same spotlight as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding this month, social media is an enormous part of many modern weddings:

  • It’s a treasure trove of wedding advice, trends, ideas, and inspiration.
  • Couples can stay in touch with everyone (guests, bridal party, and even suppliers) more easily, and coordination for things like hen/stag parties or shopping trips is much simpler.
  • If they’re so inclined, the couple can show off little “sneak peaks” throughout the wedding planning process.
  • In recent years there’s been a surge in popularity for “wedding hashtags”—couples can encourage guests to use these across social media so that they can see and keep track of all images posted online from their big day.

In Sandals’ survey, 54% of people said it was important that their wedding looked good on social media “regardless of whether they were pleased with the results or not” and just 23% “felt it was unimportant either way”. 41% said it was important that it looked good on social media and that they were pleased with the results. However, one in ten people completely banned social media on their big day or didn’t want anyone to share photos of it until they’d given the go-ahead.

Interestingly, it seemed that the most relaxed respondants regarding social media at their wedding were those from the North (East, West & Yorkshire and the Humber), since only 3% specifically asked “for their wedding day not to be shared on social media at all”.

Over the Water Chapel - Sandals South Coast Jamaica - Aisle to Isle Sandals & Beaches Weddings Caribbean Beach Wedding | above: Over-the-Water Chapel at Sandals South Coast, Jamaica

If They Could Do It All Again

According to Sandal’s survey, if they could do their wedding all over again respondents’ highest priorities would be:

  1. Better photography and videography (12%)
  2. Having more days of celebrations with family and friends (11%)
  3. Marrying overseas for better weather (11%)
  4. Inviting more of the guests they want rather than those they felt they should (10%).

“In hindsight, over half (52%) of newlyweds surveyed said they would have fewer guests and a more lavish wedding if they were to do it all again, compared to just 22% who would have more guests but a less lavish celebration”.

Sandals Royal Caribbean Over The Water Suite | above: Over-the-Water Suite at Sandals Royal Caribbean

*Sandals Resorts polled 501 UK residents who got married for the first time in the last five years as part of its weddings study, with the research conducted between 26th March and 5th April 2018.  Research was conducted by Opinion Matters and Markettiers. Opinion Matters abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles. 

Get a taste of the upcoming royal wedding with Iceland’s limited edition £8 version of the royal wedding cake and Heck’s limited edition “sweet ginger and Amercian mustard” sausages.

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