The Numbers Game
South Africa continues to be a growing attraction overseas as a wedding destination. Celebration House research has revealed the following interesting facts:
- Destination Weddings in general are on the increase. For example, in the USA, 16% of couples marrying for the first time plan a Destination Wedding, and for second weddings the number increases to 60%.
- Around 327 600 weddings take place in Britain each year and their total wedding market is estimated at £4.6 billion per annum.
- The average wedding in the UK costs between £19 00 and £25 000 (approximately R252 000 to R350 000) which translates to about half an average annual UK salary!
- Market research analyst Mintel reports that an overseas wedding can cost a third of a wedding in Britain. By marrying in SA, for example, couples can afford luxury weddings. (An 'average' wedding in South Africa costs between R80 000 and R100 000.)
- According to The Telegraph (March 2006), almost a quarter of British couples tied the knot abroad in the preceding two-year period.
- Two in five of those questioned said they wanted to combine their wedding and honeymoon in one holiday extravaganza.
- South Africa, St Lucia, Mauritius, Las Vegas and Antigua were favourite destinations for couples, offering a combination of sun and romance.
- Recent research from Halifax Travel Insurance in the UK reveals that in the course of one year a staggering 1.3m Brits will attend an overseas wedding, despite the expense involved.
- Cape Town has approximately 2980 hours of sunshine per annum, compared to London's 1480 hours.
- South Africa’s wedding season of good weather extends to 39 weekends, compared to only 13 in the UK.
- There is no jet-lag as a result of travelling to South Africa from the UK and, unlike other foreign countries, South Africa has English as an official language.
- In the Western Cape alone there are approximately 200 venues suitable for weddings.
- During the mid-summer months of December, January, February and March, these venues each host approximately 10 weddings per month. (A very conservative estimate, as the wedding season in fact starts in September and extends until May.)
- This translates to a total of 2000 weddings per month, or 8000 weddings during the four summer months.
- Service providers - photographers, venues, florists etc. all report that up to 50% of their business is coming from abroad. If this is accurate, 4000 'foreign' weddings take place in the Western Cape alone each summer! This trend is not confined to the Cape. We have received similar reports from other parts of the country.
- In addition to the numerous couples from foreign countries who marry here, many of the 500 000 young South Africans currently living in the UK return to South Africa for their weddings. Since they often marry someone from another country, they tend to bring a number of overseas guests with them for the occasion.
- If each of these couples brings along 30-50 guests, the amount of income generated in the country can add up to between R600 000 and R1 million per wedding. (Research has shown that the average guest spends between R1000 and R1500 per day during a stay of 14 days.)
- Multiply that amount by the 4000 weddings held here and you will find it adds up to a staggering R4 billion. Even if both the number of weddings held here and the cost per wedding were halved, it would still amount to a billion rand industry.
- It is said that every 12-15 tourists create one job in this country. The wedding industry alone is therefore creating between 6000 and 10 000 jobs without any organized attempts to exploit this potential as yet!
It would cost an industrialist a lot of time and money to create that many jobs in such a short time. By promoting weddings in South Africa, these jobs are sustained and many more created.
For all the above reasons, we at Celebration House and The Wedding & Honeymoon Association of South Africa are passionate about encouraging more couples to marry on our shores, and will continue promoting South Africa as a wedding destination at the National Wedding Shows held in London each year.
We firmly believe that 'local is lekker' and should be actively promoted internationally here's our chance to do something positive about it. By working together, we believe we have the potential to make South Africa Wedding Capital of the World.