The West

Cheaper weddings on trend
Couples are marrying older and more cheaply

Australian couples are marrying older and more prudently, helping drive a shift away from extravagant weddings and designer dresses, industry analysts say.

An IBISWorld industry survey has found that sluggish retail spending is flowing through to the wedding market and the number of marriage ceremonies is remaining largely static.

An estimated 119,000 couples will tie the knot in 2012-13, about the same number as in 2011-12.

The 2012 update on Australia's $4.4 billion wedding industry released on Wednesday found Australian couples spent $36,700 on average on weddings in 2011-12.

IBISWorld (Australia) General Manager Karen Dobie said the modest 1.4 per cent increase was in line with sluggish growth across the retail sector.

"While unemployment remains low and disposable incomes continue to rise, we are opting to save rather than splurge more often than not," she said in a statement.

IBISWorld senior analyst Naren Sivasailam said people were choosing to have less extravagant weddings.

"People are marrying older and they do have more money, but with that age I think comes a bit of prudence in spending as well," he told AAP.

The average age of grooms is 31.4 years, while brides are 29.2 years.

Mr Sivasailam said spending was moving from bespoke wedding dresses and photography and video production towards food, flowers, stationery and other expenses.

Anecdotal evidence pointed to women choosing cheaper off-the-rack dresses requiring minimal alterations, he said.

"There have been a few rather high-profile bridal boutiques that have closed over the past 12 months."

Mr Sivasailam said having a professional wedding photographer for 12 hours was also becoming less common as digital cameras made photography and filming easier.

People were also using digital technology to design their own cards and stationery to cut costs, he said.

The survey found 15 per cent of Australians wed in October, making it the most popular month to marry, compared with only five per cent in June.

The West Australian

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