News Corp Reports :
AUSTRALIAN couples don't hold back when it comes to their big day, forking out an average of more than $36,000 for their dream wedding.
Many retailers may be finding it tough going but for weddings it's apparently a case of "sensible splurging".
Couples are spending an average of $36,200 on their dream weddings - a 6.5 per cent increase on 2010/11, business information analysts IBISWorld say.
Weddings are still viewed as a high priority expense which couples save for over a period of time, despite gloomy consumer spending reports, IBISWorld general manager (Australia) Karen Dobie said.
"So while couples may tighten their budgets in order to save, sensible splurging seems to be the theme for the big day," Ms Dobie said today.
IBISWorld senior analyst Craig Shulman said the trend over the last few years, post the global financial crisis, was for people to be more value conscious.
"When you think about value you want to prioritise what you're spending on and weddings are obviously a high priority purchase," Mr Shulman said.
Ms Dobie said couples were often in a stronger financial position when they get married than their predecessors, given an increase in disposable incomes, financial help from both sets of parents and a higher average age when they walk down the aisle.
Australia's wedding industry is worth a massive $4.3 billion and IBISWorld expects revenue to reach $4.7 billion over the next five years.
Venue hire is the highest cost, followed by wedding dresses, clothing and accessories, and then catering.
IBISWorld expects the $942 million already spent on wedding dresses and clothing to increase by almost seven per cent over the next five years.
"Although wedding spending is up, value for money still plays a large role in purchasing decisions," Ms Dobie said.
"This has seen demand decrease for high-price tailored wedding dresses - which were once considered essential for brides."
But Mr Shulman said it was most likely on the groom's side, rather than the bride, where any savings were targeted when it came to what they wore.
"The secondary clothing would most likely be diminished in expenditure, getting groomsmen to wear their own suits, that type of thing," he said.
People are spending less on photography, taking advantage of cheaper, digital technologies, but what they save there is simply shifted into other parts of the wedding budget.
"You find around 60 per cent of people actually go over budget with their weddings," Mr Shulman said.
Andrew Sinclair Brisbane Marriage Celebrant.