Celebrity weddings are not just for the pages of Hello magazine but highlight an important growth area for the trade, says Teletext Holidays' Victoria Sanders
Hollywood’s most glamorous couple are about to tie the knot. We think. Gossip magazines are full of speculation that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are ready to get hitched in the South of France.
The champagne has been spotted being delivered to their chateau close to Brignoles, a tiny village not far from Aix-en-Provence. The marquee is up.
But so far, no sign of Angelina in her wedding frock (although by the time you read this the deed could be done).
A great media guessing game it may be, but one thing beyond doubt is that celebrity weddings set trends. And weddings are big business. A Brangelina ceremony in France will inspire couples to follow hot on their heels.
Overseas weddings are one of the few growth sectors of the travel industry in the recession. According to Mintel, one in five now take place abroad.
Since 2005, the number of British couples going overseas to get spliced has risen 27%, reaching just over 57,000 in 2010. And it’s growing every year.
The average cost of a UK wedding is now £20,000 while it’s only £6,585 for a ceremony abroad. That’s a great slice of business for travel agents.
A generation is growing up happy to hop on a plane and join their friends wherever they opt to marry.
Louise, our new office manager, got married in France – better food and cheaper bubbles are the reasons she cites. In a few weeks she’s heading off to be a guest at a wedding in Santorini. And she’s just going for the night. The choice of destinations and wedding venues is so much better than it was even a few years ago.
More short-haul options are opening up all the time which makes it easier for guests to travel. The Columbia Beach in Pissouri near Paphos is a great example of a stunning resort which does weddings brilliantly and affordably.
Many agents have gone into them in a big way. But as a growth sector of the market, weddings, and honeymoons too, are still a real opportunity for many of us.
We are seeing a surge in some long-haul bookings now. At this time of year the prices are often cheaper than going short-haul.
We’ve got deals at the moment to Thailand, Cuba and Sri Lanka – all with amazing savings. I’d certainly consider creating online content geared towards young couples looking for great-value wedding and honeymoon options.
You never know, Weddings Away by Teletext Holidays – it’s got a ring to it, don’t you think?
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