The Australian wedding industry generates over $4 billion annually, with weddings costing in excess of $30,000, with 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.
Couples marrying later in life
The median age of people married in 2009 was 31.5 years for males and 29.2 years for females. Since 1988, the median age at marriage has increased by 3.8 years for males and 3.9 years for females. Along with this trend, the wedding industry is seeing more couples financing their own weddings rather than relying on their parents to do so.
Change in popular wedding season
Although March is still the busiest month for the Australian wedding industry, with many couples choosing to marry during this month because of the weather, November and October are increasing in popularity.
Statistics you should know
In 2009, the most popular month for marriages was October with 15,569 (13.0%) marriages, followed by November with 13,224 (11.0%) marriages. The month of July was the least popular month for marriages with only 5,246 (4.4%) marriages taking place in that month.
Civil ceremonies on the Increase
The proportion of marriages performed by civil celebrants continued to increase in 2009, with 66.9% of marriages performed by civil celebrants. Civil marriages have outnumbered religious ceremonies since 1999 when 51.3% of all marriages were performed by civil celebrants. Of the 39,740 marriages performed by ministers of religion, the most common rites used were Catholic (32.8%) followed by Anglican (17.3%).
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, however, 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.