More Britons going abroad to get married

Tue Feb 1, 2011 9:13am EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Prince William and Kate Middleton may have decided on a traditional British wedding but nearly a fifth of their compatriots prefer to get married abroad, according to new research.

A study by consumer research group Mintel showed on Tuesday that 18 percent of Britons chose to tie the knot abroad last year, a rise in the number of such marriages of 27 percent between 2005 and 2010.

The rise has taken place at a time when overseas travel is cheaper and as the number of weddings at home continues to fall as the price for getting married in Britain remains substantially higher than elsewhere.

An estimated 266,000 UK weddings took place in 2010 marking a 7 percent drop over the five years since 2005. In 2010, the average wedding abroad cost 6,585 pounds ($10,580), while the average British wedding costs just below 20,000 pounds.

"The lower costs of overseas weddings are an important factor for many, with cost concerns influencing the whole market," said Mintel Senior Travel and Tourism Analyst Tom Rees.

"However the various desires to do something different, seek out better weather than can be expected in the UK and to avoid overblown, too-many-guest affairs are attracting more and more couples to the weddings abroad market."

Mintel also discovered that the number of guests who preferred to attend British weddings has fallen and the number of those who say "the cost and time required in attending a wedding abroad puts relatives and friends in an awkward position" has also fallen to nearer one in seven (15 percent) in 2010 from about one in five (19 percent) in 2008.

The desire for a honeymoon abroad has also risen significantly in the last two years, to 70 percent in 2010 from 57 percent in 2008, according to Mintel.

Despite the pressure of getting married, the cost of the ceremony, the wrangles over the guest lists, menu and flowers, 13 percent of people said they would like to "do something extraordinary" although 28 percent said they wanted to "just relax."

(Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Steve Addison)