Suffolk's wedding business rakes in �68m

DESPITE the doom and gloom of the credit crunch, the wedding industry in Suffolk is booming, earning �68 million this year alone.

Jo Thewlis

DESPITE the doom and gloom of the credit crunch, the wedding industry in Suffolk is booming, earning �68 million this year alone.

This is an increase of �10million from last year, with an average wedding costing �19, 265.

The number of couples choosing to get married in the county has also increased from 3,303 to 3,526 in 2008/09 and business is looking bright for next year too.

Tony Bates, of Hadleigh Road, Ipswich has seen trade double since he set up Bates Chauffer Driven Cars two years ago, catering for 200 weddings this year and he has 30 booked for 2010 already.

“The wedding industry in Suffolk is a huge part of the economy,” he said. “I'm turning away business at the moment.

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“The credit crunch hasn't made much difference. Brides really look forward to their big day.

“Their wedding is their special day and they want to spend money on it.”

A survey of more than 4,000 brides by You and Your Wedding magazine this year showed 52 per cent of women would not let the economic downturn affect their big day.

Couples spend around �3,100 on food, �2,487 to hire a venue, �1,018 on a wedding dress, �1,276 on drink and �300 on flowers.

Wedding photographer Jamie David said he has been flooded with enquiries for most days of the week.

He said: “This year has been one of my best and I'm already getting bookings for next year.

“Weddings are big money in the region, the industry is thriving.

“I think people have had enough of hearing about the recession and decided to have their special day come what may.”

Although more couples are saying 'I do', many of them are waiting to snap up last-minute deals to make their dreams a reality.

Mid-week weddings are soaring in popularity as people bide their time and hunt for a bargain.

But with brides now splashing out on average �599 on entertainment, �941 on photographers and �365 on transport, there is a sizable bite of the cherry for all.

Stephanie Callister-Jarrold, publisher of the Wedding Guide in East Anglia, said the wedding industry formed a vital part of the region's economy.

“Weddings are big business,” she said. “The industry must be a massive part of the local economy but, in the current climate, people are looking for value for money.

“A lot of other trades have been hit but people are still getting married.”

Jean Barker, who runs Amazing Cakes by Jean in Elmswell, has seen an increase in her businesses as the traditional fruit cake is replaced by more inventive treats such as individually-iced fairy cakes.

Despite the credit crunch, Jean said brides would not scrimp on the trimmings for their day and she had catered for 100 weddings in the past year.

She said: “Couples are spending a lot on their weddings these days.

“It is amazing. Some couples are hell bent on having their big day.”

Food �3,100

Honeymoon �2,866

Venue hire �2,487

Engagement ring �1,720

Drink �1,276

Wedding dress �1,018

Photography �941

Entertainment/music �599

Video �546

Engagement party �501

Bride's wedding ring �457

Registrar/church fees �413

Groom's wedding ring �398

Bridesmaid dresses �371

Cars/transport �365

Groom's outfit �290

Honeymoon wardrobe �253

Thank-you gifts �211

Invites/stationary �195

First night hotel �193

Favours �141

Jewellery �141

Veil �103

Bridesmaid flowers �102

Make up/skincare �97

Shoes �97

Lingerie �88

Hair care �75

Headdress/tiara �74

Perfume �49

Total: �19,265

Total weddings in Suffolk


Register office 1211

Civil venues 1114

Churches 1201


Register office 1192

Civil venues 1025

Churches 1086