Crunch won't stop the big, fat Australian wedding

On average, 21.9 per cent of the budget goes on clothing and the wedding dress. Photo / Thinkstock
On average, 21.9 per cent of the budget goes on clothing and the wedding dress. Photo / Thinkstock

Australian couples don't hold back when it comes to their big day, forking out an average of A$36,200 ($45,680) for their dream wedding.

Many retailers may be finding it tough going but for weddings it's apparently a case of "sensible splurging".

Couples are spending 6.5 per cent more on weddings in 2010/11, business information analysts IBISWorld say.

Weddings are still viewed as a high-priority expense which couples save for over a period, despite gloomy consumer spending reports, according to IBISWorld general manager (Australia) Karen Dobie.

"So while couples may tighten their budgets in order to save, sensible splurging seems to be the theme for the big day," Dobie said.

IBISWorld senior analyst Craig Shulman said the trend over the past few years, since the global financial crisis, was for people to be more value-conscious.

"When you think about value you want to prioritise [your spending] and weddings are obviously a high priority purchase," Shulman said.

Dobie said couples were often in a stronger financial position when they got married than their predecessors, given an increase in disposable incomes, financial help from both sets of parents and a higher average age when they walked down the aisle.

Australia's wedding industry is worth a massive A$4.3 billion and IBISWorld expects revenue to reach A$4.7 billion over the next five years.

Venue hire is the highest cost, followed by wedding dresses, clothing and accessories, and then catering.

IBISWorld expects the A$942 million already spent on wedding dresses and clothing to increase by almost 7 per cent over the next five years.

"Although wedding spending is up, value for money still plays a large role in purchasing decisions," Dobie said. "This has seen demand decrease for high-price tailored wedding dresses - which were once considered essential for brides."

But Shulman said savings were most likely on the groom's side when it came to clothing.

THE NUMBERS

* A$36,200 is the cost of the average Australian wedding

* A$4.3b is the value of Australia's wedding industry

* 119,000 couples are expected to get married this year

* 60pc of couples blow their wedding budget

* 29 is the average age for women marrying

* 32 is the average age for men marrying

* 33.4pc of wedding budgets go on venue hire

* 21.9pc goes on clothing and wedding dress

* 17.6pc goes on flowers and stationery

- AAP

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