Royal marriage turns spotlight on wedding costs
The announcement of the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton has brought wedding costs into the spotlight, with some estimates that the event next year could cost upwards of £50m.
While the parents of the bride traditionally foot the bill for weddings, Michael and Carole Middleton will undoubtedly be glad that they are not expected to shell out for the nuptials of their firstborn.
But even though street-cleaning and security are not among the wedding costs faced by most couples, the price of the average wedding still makes for sobering reading. This year insurer Weddingplan estimated the average cost of a wedding at £21,000, which on top of rising higher education costs and the large deposits now expected by most mortgage lenders could be enough to drive many young couples to elope.
A little forethought, however, could go a long way towards softening the financial blow of the big day. Long-term regular saving is not just a useful way of meeting known costs such as university fees but can also enable parents and grandparents to help out with weddings and civil partnerships, house purchase or the grandchildren's education.
Figures prepared by F&C show that, assuming 6% a year compound growth (although the value of stockmarket-based investments can go down as well as up, and this figure is not guaranteed), an investment of £100 a month would grow to £21,000 in 12 years. At £50 a month it would take 19 years to amass the cost of today's average wedding, while those who could afford a larger regular commitment could fund the big event in seven years one month at £200 a month, or just three years three months at £500 a month.
Interestingly, an investment of £100 a month into F&C's flagship Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust has grown to £21,409 over the 12 years to 29 October 2010. Over five years to the same date £100 a month saved into FCIT would have grown to £6,989 (source: Lipper, with income reinvested. Past performance is not a guide to the future. The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount invested.).
F&C offers a variety of savings plans giving access to its range of 12 investment trusts. The Children's Investment Plan and Child Trust Fund Shares account can be accessed from a little as £25 a month, while the Investment Trust ISA and Private Investor Plan have a minimum monthly investment of £50. As well as the globally diversified Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust, others in the range include British Assets Trust, Investors Capital Trust, F&C Private Equity Trust, three smaller companies specialists and two property trusts.
Jason Hollands, Director, Head of Corporate Affairs at F&C Investments, commented: "There are so many costs involved in bringing up children these days that parents may despair of giving their children a wedding day to remember, even if it is not on anything like the scale of next year's Royal wedding. However, increasingly the cost of a wedding is no longer borne solely by the bride's parents, with the groom's family and the couple themselves likely to be chipping in.
"By saving even quite modest amounts over a long period, families can help to avoid loading young couples - who may still be carrying a significant overhang from their university studies - with more debt as they begin their lives together."
For more information on F&C's range of savings schemes and the investment trusts that can be accessed through them, visit fandc.co.uk.