Who really pays for the big day?
The average Irish wedding costs anywhere between €20-25k, but who is actually footing the bill in 2015 - and how are they managing to afford it? There are so many costs associated with starting a life together for couples these days, from sky-high deposits for homes to raising children, that many engaged pairs are at a loss as to how they're going to cope financially with their big day.
Traditionally, it was customary for the bride's family to pay for the vast majority of the wedding, and in more recent times the cost was often split between the parents of both the bride and groom. However, more and more couples are choosing to pay for everything themselves, and accepting smaller contributions from their nearest and dearest.
Research by weddingsonline.ie in January of this year showed that 18pc of the more than 2,000 people surveyed had taken out a loan to cover wedding costs. 60pc used their existing savings, while 21pc shared the cost of the celebration with their parents.
"We paid for 60pc of our wedding ourselves," says accountant Eimear Lynch from Dublin. "Our parents probably contributed about 20pc of the total budget each, in that they gave us a lump sum of cash to use, and paid for things like my dress and the flowers."
"One thing my father always wanted to do was pay for my wedding," says Niamh Brennan, a sales associate from Cork. "He had been saving for it since I was born, which I thought was really beautiful. It didn't cover everything, and my husband and I paid the difference, but it was so brilliant to have that fund there when the time came."
"I find that nowadays it is usually the couple themselves who fund their big day," says Stephen Sheridan oftheweddingguy.ie. "However, this depends on the situation. The older the couple the more likely it is that they will be funding the celebration themselves. Most couples I help are working entirely off their own budget and this is where I come into play a lot in helping to keep costs down."
However Stephen has been hired by the parents of couples who felt that their son or daughter wasn't coping well with the sometimes mammoth task of planning a wedding. "In not wanting to interfere, they gifted my services to them. Therefore they felt they had an input without being directly involved but had contributed financially."
Ciara Byrne, 29 from Dublin, has strong feelings on the matter. "We're paying for our wedding later this year ourselves, because it seems bonkers to us to ask our parents to pay for a day we're throwing. Shouldering the financial responsibility ourselves has helped us keep our plans small and how we want it, rather than feeling like we need to give anyone else a say because they're paying for it."