Couples now wait three years to get married due to rising wedding costs

A new poll has found that couples stay engaged for an average of three years before they get married, due to the rise in wedding costs.

According to dailymail.co.uk, a survey by Vouchercodespro.co.uk has found that ten years ago, couples only waited 11 months to get married, now that has risen to three years. The survey also found the average cost of a wedding has shot up from £9,500 to £19,700 in the space of ten years.

The poll consisted of 1,903 couples who had married a year ago and 1,872 couples who got married ten years ago to compare the differences. Around 74 per cent of the couples who had married a year ago wished they could have got married sooner, but admitted they had to have a longer engagement to save up enough money for their dream day.

A change in traditions has also seen couples who get married these days are four times more likely to pay for their own weddings, which is possibly the reason why it takes them so long to save up. Wedding costs include a wedding reception venue, clothing, catering, rings, hen and stag parties and the honeymoon.

Spokeperson for Vouchercodespro.co.uk, George Charles, said: “The results of our study really do highlight the pressure that young couples are under these days to have the dream ‘fairy-tale wedding’ that can better friends” and family members’ previous attempts. After analysing the findings, I can’t help but wonder if, instead of tradition focused on promising to devote your life to one person for eternity, a wedding is now considered to be a very expensive party or popularity contest.,” reports femalefirst.co.uk.

Agency notices trend in clients requesting themed events

More event organisers are choosing specific themes for their gatherings in an attempt to boost engagement with attendees, one event agency has revealed.

Evolve Events has identified a growing trend in clients seeking the use of props and character actors for their conferences, meetings and dinners in order to get people talking about what’s happening around them.

According to Anna Peters, marketing director at the London-based agency, more and more people are asking how they can make the activity at their event venues “more impactful, punchy and memorable”.

In an attempt to deliver on their demands, her company has started to pitch the idea of themed events and this seems to have caught on.

“We are seeing a shift towards a more stylised and interactive approach to get key messages across,” she told meetpie.com.

One of Evolve’s most recent accomplishments was a 1940s-styled event for the UK broker Awards, which celebrated the benefits of pulling together in times of adversity.

She claimed that bringing people together in this way creates a “feel-good factor” that other events cannot match. At the same time the attendees also gain a sense of achievement, because they’re often given the chance to learn a new skill or complete a challenging activity before the event.

Cited by internationalmeetingsreview.com, Ms Peters did however say that although some gatherings really lend themselves to certain themes, companies should always consider whether the use of characters or otherwise will set the right tone.

“Think about the meeting topic and consider selecting only key parts, such as a gala dinner,” she added.  

  

Survey to find recipe for 'the perfect event'

A new survey looking into what makes the perfect corporate event has been launched, reports meetpie.com.

The Science Museum and caterer Jackson Gilmour have teamed up to discover what people would most like to see when turn up to a business gathering.

Available at Jackson Gilmour’s official site, the survey is open to anyone that’s ever attended an event and contains questions on a wide range of topics.  

These include what motivates someone to attend an event and how the type of conference space can impact its success, along with some of the more humorous questions, like how much wine is ‘enough’.

All the information will be used to develop a formula on what makes the ‘perfect event’, which could prove useful for those planning corporate gatherings in the future.

Francis O’Hagan, Jackson Gilmour’s operations director, said: “To my knowledge, research on this scale has not been attempted before; we are looking forward to sharing our findings with event organisers, venue teams and suppliers all over the capital.”

As reported by citmagazine.com, the survey forms part of the broader Science of Events project, which also includes focus groups with a number of events industry experts around autumn time.

The project will culminate with a large-scale ‘Event Lab’ gathering next year.    

"Rail bagel" could offer alternative to the M25

A so-called “rail bagel” could encircle London within the next 20 years to offer an alternative to the M25, ft.com reports.

London has already made numerous provisions to help with the predicted population boom, which includes the Crossrail service to take the strain off the Underground. Now, the capital could go one step further by introducing a rail equivalent of the M25 which will circle Greater London.

A plan detailing the high speed rail orbital is set to be delivered within the next 12 months, before city planners mull over the idea alongside other alternatives to determine which is the most viable and cost effective compared to benefits or returns offered.

The proposals have been designed with the population boon in mind, with London set to see its population grow from today’s level of eight million to nine million by 2020 and ten million within the following decade. Locals won’t be the only ones set to benefit from improved infrastructure, however, as tourists and business people heading to London’s event spaces may soon have significantly more choice when it comes to choosing their routes.

Speaking to londonlovesbusiness.com of the requirements London faces, rail bagel champion and deputy mayor for transport Isabel Dedring explained: “Over the longer term, what we need is high-speed public transport connections to tackle congestion and help town centres thrive.

“The more you look at it, the more you realise the road network staying as it is today just isn’t going to work over the next five to 10 years.”

More brides making wedding speeches

More brides are breaking tradition and making speeches on their wedding day, according to a report from telegraph.co.uk.

A number of sources, including wedding photographers and masters of ceremonies, have been quoted as saying they have noticed this trend in recent years.

It was suggested that this could be due to more women getting married at an older age, where they are less likely to be fazed by public speaking.

Alternatively, it could be linked to a general decline in traditional weddings. Either way, it appears that brides are now more than welcome to make a public speech at their wedding reception venue.

Commenting on the trend, The Independent’s deputy arts editor Alice Jones claimed there was no reason why more brides shouldn’t be able to do a speech on their big day.

“They have probably planned most of the day and paid for half of it. At the very least, they might have some thanks to give. As for the guests, having spent the best part of an hour hearing about how wonderful she is, it’s not unreasonable to imagine that they might like to hear from the woman herself,” she said.

Traditionally, it’s only the groom, best man and father-of-the-bride who perform wedding speeches.

Business travel spend set to break $1 trillion this year.

Spending on business travel around the world is set to reach $1.12 trillion (£724 billion) during 2013, ibtimes.com reports.

According to the GBTA BTI Outlook survey – which is sponsored by Visa – spend on business travel is set to rise by 5.4 per cent this year to the total of over $1 trillion.

Looking ahead, the survey analysts claimed that this growth will only set the foundations for more expansion, with the market set to grow further still every year to 2017. This growth won’t escalate steadily, however, but is set to reach a high during 2014 (8.2 per cent), before hitting 7.6, 7.2 and 7.1 per cent for each year thereafter.

Much of this additional spend on business travel is not set to come from the traditional global leaders such as the US, but will instead originate from the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), as well as many others across the Asia-Pacific and Latin American areas.

Despite the rise of Asian and South American business travellers, western destinations look set to remain popular, with event spaces in London, Europe and the US set to remain popular end destinations.

Commenting on the findings, head of global commercial solutions at Visa, Tad Fordyce told associationsnow.com: “This year’s global BTI shows the importance that emerging markets like China, Brazil and India play in the global business travel marketplace.

“With global business travel expected to experience continued growth in the next five years, China is projected to overcome the US as the top business travel market in the world by 2016.”

Make sure your wedding suit contrasts with the bride, retailer tells grooms

A retailer has noted that grooms should make sure their wedding suit contrasts with their bride-to-be’s dress.

Bob Finnigan from Glasgow’s High & Mighty store claimed that it will look better on the day, especially in photographs, if a couple’s wedding outfit doesn’t match.

He told heraldscotland.com: “Obviously quality and cut is essential, but think about the colours you choose. If your bride will be in traditional white, go for something darker so there’s a contrast for photographs – charcoal or black are classic and always look stunning.”

Mr Finnigan continued: Think about your colour scheme and choose a good match for your pocket square, waistcoat or lining so that the details compliment each other.”

Men also might want to purchase another suit that they wear to the wedding reception venue in the evening, if they don’t want to wear the same outfit as the actual ceremony. They may wish to be careful about what they do choose however, as it was revealed by femalefirst.co.uk this week that 40 per cent of women are embarrassed by men’s ‘scruffy looks’.

The research, which was carried out by Pot Noodle, also found that five per cent of the nation’s men never wear a suit, which means they could need extra style tips when it comes to their big day.

European air travel volumes on the rise

Passenger volumes for European air travel saw a rise during the first half of 2013, buyingbusinesstravel.com reports.

According to newly-published statistics from the Association of European Airlines (AEA), some 176 million passengers were carried by its members between January and June this year. Compared to figures for the same period of 2012, this represents a 2.9 million increase – or 1.7 per cent.

For long-haul travel, meanwhile, figures rose by around three per cent to nearly 37 million. International short- and medium-haul journeys, meanwhile, totalled roughly 97 million; an increase of 3.2 per cent.

The figures suggest that travel volumes to Europe are improving on both a domestic and global scale – which is good news for those organising events at London’s event venues and hoping for an audience from all over the world.

Not only did total passenger numbers increase, but so too did efficiency, with airlines exercising capacity constraint to drive down the cost-per-passenger totals. During H1 2013, average seat-kilometre figures rose by 1.2 per cent. Similarly, passenger load factors also increased by 1.2 per cent to a record level of 78.8 per cent.

These figures came at an optimum time for airlines, the AEA claimed, as 2013 was outlined to be a “crucial” year with many having to undertake aggressive cost-cutting exercises, travelandtourworld.com claims.

Eight out of ten newlyweds sell their wedding gifts online

It seems as if some wedding guests don’t choose the best gifts, as 82 per cent of newlyweds have admitted to selling their presents online.

According to dailymail.co.uk, wedding guests might not pick the best presents because 42 per cent of them feel that buying wedding gifts is stressful. Furthermore, one in ten said they were embarrassed by their gift and one in five expected their present to never be used, returned to the store or sold on onto sites such as ebay.

Guests find the ordeal so stressful, that some even decide not turn up to the wedding reception venue at all, just because they are worried about what to buy. One in ten guests said they have turned down a wedding invitation because of this and six per cent even believe a bad wedding gift choice could ruin a friendship.

Declan Byrne, spokesperson for One4All, which conducted the survey, said: “The average spend on gifts for weddings is high, just under £38, so it would be much better if that money was spent on something that couple really want.”

However, wedding gifts aren’t the only items that turn up on ebay. One bride tried to sell her failed tyre-shaped wedding cake on the auction site, despite the fact it looked awful and was inedible, huffingtonpost.co.uk reports.

London Southend named best airport in the UK

London Southend airport has been named the UK’s best in a new passenger survey, theguardian.com reports.

The airport, which services both London and Essex, was named top of the pile by consumer magazine ‘Which?’ after it managed a customer satisfaction score of 84 per cent. Its nearest rivals were Humberside (81 per cent), Robin Hood – Doncaster Sheffield (78 per cent) and London City (77 per cent).

Bottom of the pile were London Luton and London Heathrow – Terminal One, which could only manage 43 and 45 per cent respectively.

London Southend benefited from a £100 million investment package after it was taken over by the Stobart Group back in 2008. This now looks to have paid off in spades, with consumers praising Southend on its speedy check in and arrivals process.

The results could well impact the airport that travellers use when heading into London, either for holidays or on business to one of its meeting venues, with Southend doing significantly better than the likes of Heathrow and Gatwick.

Commenting on the study – which saw some 11,000 consumers quizzed – executive director of Which?, Richard Lloyd, told bbc.co.uk: “It is clear some of our major airports have some work to do if they are to keep more of their passengers satisfied.”