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Wedding industry in Australia

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Wedding industry

The Australian wedding industry generates over $2 billion annually, with many weddings costing in excess of $20,000, and an estimated 116,000 weddings taking place in Australia each year.

Wedding industry reports, and figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, show that the actual number of weddings taking place has increased continuously in the last few years, although the relative marriage rate is declining with only 5.5 marriages per 1000 of the population in 2007 compared with 7.1 in 1988.

There are many other trends that the Australian wedding industry has had to respond to in recent years in order to remain profitable. Here are a few of the current marriage trends in Australia:

Wedding industry trend 1 – Couples marrying later

Wedding industry figures show that the average age for marriage has increased, both for men and women. In 1989, the average age for first time marriage was 26.1 for men and 24.0 for women. By 2007 this had increased to 29.6 for men and 27.6 for women. Along with this trend, the wedding industry is seeing more couples financing their own weddings rather than relying on their parents to do so.

Wedding industry trend 2 – Couples choosing to live together first

There has been an increase in the trend for couple to live together before marriage, and in 2007, 76.8% of couples that married were already cohabiting. Census figures show that in 2007 7.7% of Australians over the age of 15 were unmarried but living with a partner. This figure had increased from only 4.3% in 1991.

The Australian wedding industry has had to adapt and appeal to couples who are already living together, perhaps with children, as well as those that will set up home together after the wedding.

Wedding industry trend 3 – Shift in popular wedding season

Although March is still the busiest month for the Australian summer wedding industry, with many couples choosing to marry during this month because of the weather, November and October are increasing in popularity. Many couples are choosing to get married at this time of the year to avoid the very busy wedding season and make the most of the daylight hours.

Wedding industry trend 4 – Increase in civil ceremonies

The Australian wedding industry has seen an increase in the number of civil marriage ceremonies compared with religious services. In 2007 63% of couples were married in a civil ceremony by a wedding celebrant rather than a religious minister. Of the 37% who chose a religious marriage ceremony, one third had Catholic services and two thirds had Anglican services.

Wedding industry trend 5 – Increase in inter racial marriages

Although the majority of weddings in Australia are still between Australian born men and women, the wedding industry has seen an increase in marriages between foreign born men and women and Australian born partners. In 2005 around 16% of weddings in Australia fell into this category with slightly more Australian born women marrying foreign born men than the other way around.

Second or third marriages are crucial to the wedding industry

Remarriage is a crucial part of the Australian wedding industry, with only around 50% of 2007 weddings involving first-time marriages for both partners. Divorced people have a fairly high chance of remarrying, and 56% of men and 46% of women that were divorced between 2000 and 2002 could expect to remarry. The wedding industry may see a fall in the rate of remarriage as the divorce rate is currently dropping and stands at around 2.3 per 1000 of the population.

Impact of the global credit crunch on the wedding industry

It is too early to be sure how the global credit crunch will impact the wedding industry, but it may be that we will see a reduction in the size and scale of weddings, and a return to homemade wedding stationery, cakes, bombonieres and other accessories. In recent years many couples have financed elaborate wedding using loans or credit, but if these are no longer available, many brides will find themselves on a tighter budget when it comes to choosing that special dress or romantic venue.

The wedding industry is seeing a growing trend for more intimate weddings held at home, perhaps in a garden marquee, and this may be due to the current economic climate. With the dollar falling against other world currencies, many couples may choose to remain in Australia for their honeymoon, rather than travelling abroad and there could be a decrease in the popularity of destination weddings.

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