2021: Despite COVID-19, love is (still) in the air

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Over the last year, our relationships have been tested like never before – adding true meaning to the marriage vow ‘for better or worse’. Tying the knot is a huge milestone, and although this is a time of happiness, the stress and financial burden that often comes with weddings can take a toll on us. However, COVID-19 brought on an additional hurdle to tackle that none of us saw coming before saying “I do”.

The Choosi Cost of Love Report 2021 follows on from the first iteration in 2018 and forms part of the Choosi Research Series. In our latest instalment, we explore the costs, pressures, and stresses of planning a wedding. We also investigate the impacts in which the COVID-19 pandemic had on weddings and relationships in general.

 

The hard costs

Although a time of joy and love, the cost of weddings can be a financial burden. On average, Australians think a typical wedding these days costs approximately $29,645, which is almost $5,000 higher than what we thought three years ago. When looking at demographics even closer, recently married couples estimated the average cost to be even higher at $33,182, while those planning to get married are looking to set aside around $17,184. four in five (84.2%) recently married couples agree that the average cost of a wedding is too high and believe budgeting and keeping costs down are critical in the planning process.

Wedding hacks and cost savers

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recently married couples became creative in their tactics when cutting down for the big day, which sadly meant removing extended family and those with less close ties. Apart from having a small wedding, other popular hacks included cutting down on certain elements (51.9%) planning and researching (49.9%) and moving to a lower cost venue (36.6%). Keeping costs down was an important part of the wedding planning process for 85.3 per cent of those recently married couples as well as those planning to get married (89.6%).

The costs of COVID-19

2020 was undoubtably stressful for recently married couples, with close to nine in ten people reporting that COVID-19 impacted wedding plans. Due to government regulations cutting down the guest list (56.9%), changing or rescheduling the wedding entirely (32.7%) and coming to terms with not having a destination wedding (10.3%) were all sacrifices made. The frustration certainly didn’t stop here, as many had honeymoon plans impacted (54.7%). Due to the uncertainty of the entire situation, some decided to elope to avoid the hassle (12.3%).

Recently married couples also had to deal with the ever-changing rules and restrictions while planning their wedding. With restrictions, nearly one in three reported cutting their wedding budget (31.3%). Although many would see this as a positive, many had a sense of really ‘missing out’ after making these cuts. Surprisingly, only one in four look back and regret having made the cutbacks and concessions (27.7%).

The cost on mental health and wellbeing

For those recently married couples, planning a wedding during the pandemic had a considerable impact on both their physical and mental health. Two in five (51.7%) reported mental health ramifications, meanwhile just over one in ten (11.6%) reported physical health impacts. Adding to this pressure, more than a quarter (26.6%) felt pressured to have a wedding that was ‘Insta-perfect’, with over three-quarters (76.9%) agreeing this places unnecessary stress on couples. Respondents also felt that this pressure detracts from the meaning of marriage (77.3%) and the joy of the occasion (77.2%).

For worse and for never

In some cases, the pandemic caused irreversible relationship damage, with three in ten (29.3%) reporting that the pandemic stress caused break-ups with their partner, or that they considered it in some form. We’ve also come to see that some of us have different viewpoints on marriage and commitment, with close to one-fifth (18.1%) of those not planning on getting married more likely to have already broken-up with, or thought about breaking-up with their partner in the last year.

Getting back to the real meaning

It’s not all doom and gloom though, despite the ramifications of the last year, many couples found silver linings throughout the planning process. Restrictions meant less pressure to invite a large a number of guests (45.0%) and allowed some couples to get back to more intimate and meaningful gatherings (43.0%). We also saw one-third (34.9%) of recently married couples use the money they saved on the wedding and invest it in other important life moments such as home improvements, paying off a mortgage or saving for a holiday.

If the last year has taught us anything it’s that love wins, and silver linings can be found in the direst of situations.

Stay tuned for more research from Choosi coming soon.

For more insights into the costs, pressures and stresses of planning a wedding, take a look at the Choosi Cost of Love Report 2021.

Media release

Posted: 30 Jul 2021

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