Stresses of wedding planning revealed

22 Mar 2016

A new study reveals brides-to-be spend up to 300 hours of worktime on their wedding planning

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Would you sell a family member to pay for dream wedding day? Or worse, (gasp) your dog?

The surprising results of new research from Bridebook* shows some brides would have done such a deed, among other fascinating findings.

The study found:

  • The average bride spent 970 hours planning their wedding last year
  • 300 hours were done in work time – so an estimated 81 million hours of work time were lost to sneaky wedding planning last year 
  • Valentine’s Day was the most popular day brides would have liked to be proposed to on
  • 40 per cent of brides admit they would have sold a family member to pay for their wedding, although only 5 per cent would have sold their dog



The research revealed that Valentine’s Day is the UK’s most popular day for proposals, and 77 per cent of brides said they would have liked to have been proposed to on the most romantic day of the year. This was closely followed by Christmas Day (70 per cent), a holiday abroad (61 per cent) and New Year’s Eve (54 per cent).

But while Valentine’s Day is associated with romance, other romantic traditions are being broken. For example, more than half of couples uploaded a selfie of their special moment ‘she said yes’ last year (55 per cent), nearly the same amount as asked the father of the bride’s permission (56 per cent) and one in three chose not to get down on one knee.



It’s not uncommon for brides to get planning right away to make sure they secure their perfect wedding, but it’s not all a three-tiered dream. The in-depth survey of more than 5,000 brides reveals what the to-be-betrothed are really thinking.

The most stressful things about planning a wedding:

  1. 65 per cent said they hated spreadsheets
  2. 64 per cent said they stressed about going over budget (and one in five did go over budget)
  3. 61 per cent struggled to wade through advice
  4. 56 per cent said they had disagreements over guest lists
  5. 53 per cent said family interference frustrated them (one third of couples even tried to ban their parents for being involved in wedding planning)
  6. 21 per cent felt let down by a supplier
  7. 18 per cent felt overcharged by a supplier
  8. 15 per cent said they felt pressure to ‘get it right’ from others

With budgeting and Excel so high on the list of wed-stress, it’s no surprise that the blessed few lucky enough to afford it (5 per cent) enlisted the help of a wedding planner. Others, however, took more drastic action with nearly one in three couples (32 per cent) attempting to officially ban their parents from being involved in wedding planning. Shockingly, 40 per cent admit they would have sold a family member to pay for their wedding, although only 5 per cent would have sold their dog. And 1 per cent even said they had to ‘fire’ a bridesmaid.

Planning a wedding can be a lengthy process, with the average bride last year spending 970 hours planning her wedding, that’s 11 and a half weeks UK brides spent in total in 2015. What’s more, the average bride took ‘something borrowed’ to an extreme and used approximately seven and a half weeks of work time (300 hours) planning their wedding – better invite the boss!

So with 270,000 weddings last year, 81 million hours of work were lost to sneaky wedding planning. Brides admitted using office stationery, contacting suppliers over email, drawing up seating plans, searching online for inspiration and creating Excel budgets as some of the ways they spent their working hours. Ten per cent even admitted using the office postage system to send some of their invitations.


Wedding day

The wedding day also underwent a transformation with one in five having a bespoke wedding hashtag, an increase of 50 per cent from the year before. And that’s an awful lot of hashtagging considering the average wedding last year saw 3,400 pictures taken. And selfies were ever-popular too, with a staggering 76 per cent of ‘Twitter brides’ and ‘Instagrooms’ taking a long-armed snap on their wedding day – the Wedding Selfie, or #Welfie.

A whopping 60 per cent of brides revealed they used social media too on their wedding day last year with 15 per cent updating their statuses. ‘#StatusUpdate – Cutting Cake’.

With all this online activity it’s not only the glasses being charged at a wedding. Some couples are even providing phone charging stations (2 per cent) ensuring that batteries don’t run out of juice before the guests do.




Londoners were the most likely to pay for the wedding by selling a family member with 53 per cent saying they would be tempted. However, they seemed to need all the support they could get – with 72 per cent saying they definitely wouldn’t have banned a family member from the wedding.

South East

Three per cent of people in the South East took ‘something borrowed’ to the next level and said they did around 3 to 4 hours of wedding plan during each work day.


The Welsh were least likely to be tempted to sell a family with only 22 per cent but the second most likely to sell the dog with 8 per cent (after the South East with 11 per cent).

Northern Ireland

Northern Irish were least likely to give up their dog, with only 2 per cent prepared to take the pooch plunge.


People in the Midlands were most likely to ban their parents from helping with planning, with 41 per cent saying they would, and of those 30 per cent answered ‘definitely’. They also hated spreadsheets more than any other region. 75 per cent of those who answered called them boring, uninspiring and complicated.


Only 1.5 per cent of people spent more than three hours planning their wedding at work and 77 per cent did less than an hour per day ‘on the boss’ time’ – making them one of the most honest regions.

South West

In the South West they treat their loved ones well – 67 per cent said they would never sell off a relative – well above the average.


Scots were the most honest with 50 per cent saying they never planned their wedding during work hours (compared to an average of 38 per cent).

* Facts based on Bridebook 2016 National Wedding Survey of 5,000 UK brides

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