Graded Reading - Pre-intermediate
What is a British wedding like in the 21st Century? Who pays for it? Who decides on the wedding dress, the venue and the guests? Are all weddings the same? How much does a wedding cost?
Figures for 2018 show that the average cost of a wedding in the UK is now around £32,000! There are so many costs! First, we have the engagement ring, which the man (called the groom) gives to the lady (called the bride) as a sign that they are getting married. Secondly, there is the wedding reception or party, together with the cost of food and drinks for all the guests. Thirdly, there is the cost of the wedding dress for the bride (average price £1,300) as well as the dresses for her helpers (the bridesmaids). The groom and the best man (usually the best friend of the groom) also need new suits. There are the flowers for the bride to carry (the wedding bouquet) plus transport to the church or hotel, photographs and perhaps a video as well. Don't forget there is also, on average, a cost of approximately £4500 for the honeymoon - an extra special holiday for the bride and groom after the wedding.
In addition, there is the cost of pre-wedding celebrations for the men and the ladies. This is called the stag party for the men and the hen party for the ladies. These parties often last for a whole weekend! The majority choose a UK location. However, many brides prefer Spain, France or Ireland and the grooms prefer Germany, Amsterdam or the Czech Republic.
In the past, the bride's family usually paid for the wedding. However, this tradition is disappearing. In reality, only 5% of brides have parents who pay for everything. Instead, many couples receive a contribution from both sets of parents. The bride and groom then pay any extra costs. On average, the engagement period (the time between the marriage proposal and the wedding day) lasts 20 months for UK couples.
These days the bride and groom like to make most of the decisions themselves. For example, the couple like to choose where the marriage takes place, who comes to the celebration and what clothing the bride, groom, bridesmaids and best man are wearing.
Some couples decide on a church for the wedding ceremony, followed by a wedding reception for all the invited guests in a local hotel, country house or village hall. A decorated farm or barn is also becoming a very popular choice! (In 2018, 28% of weddings used these picturesque locations.) However, many couples now prefer not to marry in a church. Instead, the official Registrar comes to the wedding venue to perform the ceremony. Then the photographs and the celebration meal follow at the same venue. The festivities usually continue into the evening with music, dancing and more food. Most couples invite extra friends and relatives to come to this 'evening reception'. The average number of guests for the wedding ceremony and meal is 82, with a total of 106 for the evening reception.
The average age of the UK bridal couple on the wedding day is gradually increasing. It is now 31 years for a woman and 32 years for a man. On average, a couple is together for 4 years before the engagement. Often they are buying a house together. However, this is becoming more difficult in Britain with the very high cost of housing, especially in London and the South East.
Despite this, 98% of couples still find the money to organise a honeymoon after the big day. The most popular honeymoon destination is currently Asia, followed by North and South America. Italy and Greece are the most popular countries for a European honeymoon.
Hitched: Our 2018 Wedding Survey Results: Are you a Typical 21st Century Bride? Available from: https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning/organising-and-planning/wedding-survey-2018/ [Accessed 25/05/2019]
Wedding Ideas: The A-Z of British Wedding Traditions and Etiquette. Available from: https://www.weddingideasmag.com/a-z-of-british-wedding-traditions-and-wedding-etiquette/ [Accessed 25/05/2019]
Wedding Trends in Great Britain: comprehension questions
1. According to recent figures, how much is the average cost of a wedding in the UK?
2. Nowadays, what is the percentage of weddings totally paid for by the bride’s parents?
3. What is the official title of the person who performs the wedding ceremony if it is not in a church?
4. What is the average age of (a) the bride and (b) the groom on the day of their wedding?