Insight: A new study reveals wedding trends & how much one can save on the big day during the pandemic

SOUTHEAST ASIA – Valentine’s Day just ended, which means the day of love was celebrated within the pandemic’s parameters for the second time. That said, is love being celebrated less throughout the pandemic years, meaning, are there fewer wedding bells ringing these days?

The bridal industry is one of the most affected by the worldwide pandemic. Big, lavish weddings have transformed into simple ceremonies with limited capacity and a live stream.

Thus, iPrice Group conducted a study that collected five Southeast Asian countries’ marriage registrations for the past two to three years, their Google searches for wedding-related keywords, and computed a budget estimate on how much a pandemic wedding would cost.


Marriage Registration Numbers Readjusts with the Pandemic

According to data from the Philippine Statistical Authority, marriage registrations in 2020 have decreased by a whopping 44 percent, from 432k to 241k (rounded up).

However, these numbers seem to be picking back up in 2021. PSA’s data is only available up until October 2021, which already surpassed the registrations of the full first pandemic year by 7 percent. Using the average registrations from January to October 2021, e-commerce aggregator iPrice predicts that the entire year of 2021’s figures will surpass 2020’s by about 28 percent.

Among the five countries observed in Southeast Asia, the Philippines had the most drastic change in marriage registrations.

Filipinos Are the Most Interested in Wedding-Related Keywords

iPrice’s latest study also discovered that Filipinos are searching wedding-related keywords more in 2021. There has been a total of 254 percent increase in Google searches for these keywords in 2021 compared to 2019.

Surprisingly, the keyword group “honeymoon destination/s” had about 7x more searches in 2021 compared to 2019. It is the country with the highest increase in searches for this keyword group out of four other Southeast Asian countries observed by iPrice. In fact, searches for this keyword group dwindled in Indonesia and Singapore.

Wedding rings and engagement rings increased by 152 percent and 120 percent, while wedding dresses and wedding venues increased by 134 percent and 147 percent respectively.

Interestingly, these wedding-related keywords peaked in January 2021, March 2021, and October 2021.

Despite not having the highest Google reach (number signed-in users visiting Google), the Philippines has the most searches on all sets of wedding-related keywords compared to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia, reaching nearly 8.9 million in 2021 (about 3-4x more than the other countries’ total searches).

Estimated Cost of a Mid-Range Wedding During the Pandemic

Since couples are now proceeding to tie the knot in new normal fashion, iPrice created an estimated calculation on how much an average mid-range Filipino wedding would cost during the pandemic compared to the good ol’ (pre-COVID) days.

Using the average mid-range budget and number of guests stated in My Bridesmade, which were taken from numerous reputable wedding vendors, iPrice estimated how much a COVID wedding at 20 percent and 50 percent capacity would be. The e-commerce aggregator used the budgeting percentages and formula of a WBENC-certified wedding supplier (Magnet Street) to do so.

According to reputable local vendors’ figures amassed by My Bridesmade, an average mid- range wedding would cost about Php566,000 with 150 guests. That said, a mid-range Filipino wedding with 20 percent of those guests (30 guests) would amount to Php264,888 which is 53 percent less than the pre-COVID wedding figure. A couple gets to save an estimate of Php301,112 in total!

On looser restrictions, some couples may dare to have a wedding at 50 percent capacity. Since there are more guests (about 75 guests), the total budget would be around Php356,580, which is 37 percent less than the original budget. With 50 percent capacity, newlyweds get to save about Php209,420 if they had a wedding during the pandemic.

iPrice obtained these figures by recomputing variables that are highly dependent on the number of guests, such as stationery/invites, reception (which takes about 48 percent of the budget), and gifts. As for pre-wedding dinners (e.g. bachelor’s parties, bridal showers, etc.), iPrice decided to exclude an allocation for this as couples may limit social gatherings.

That said, pandemic weddings may have their pros and cons. On one hand, couples may not be able to spend their special day with their entire family, extended relatives, friends, acquaintances, and maybe even long-lost cousins. On the other hand, they get to save a lot for their sweet future. Well, they save about 37-53 percent of a mid-range pre-COVID budget, according to this study.



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