Covid-19 may have delayed many couples’ summer wedding plans, but that doesn’t mean engagements have stopped. Even though the past few months have seen thousands of weddings pushed back, there are still countless people who have used their time in quarantine to plan a proposal. According to research, summertime is still one of the most popular seasons to get engaged – second only to Christmas. So, as we move deeper into summer and find ourselves being invited to more and more 2021 weddings, let’s turn our attention to the engagements themselves.
For most people, getting engaged is one of the most important milestones in their life – which is incentive enough for couples to go all out in celebrating. In the age of social media, where it’s become possible to keep a permanent record of life’s biggest moments, getting engaged has become so much more than just buying a ring and popping the question. Engagements now involve everything from the ring, to the party, to the perfect photographer and, in some cases, the dream destination.
But what’s the cost of all of this?
We here at the The Shoot have carried out some research to find out just that.
The Average Cost of an Engagement
Using the prices found on a number of popular platforms and service providers for engagement rings, photographers and party venues, we have worked out the average cost of an engagement in the UK.
The Engagement Ring
The Engagement Party
The Engagement Photographer
£125 / per hour
Travel (UK Train from London)
Travel (World Flights from London)
The fact that engagements have now become slightly more lavish does not detract from the value of the engagement ring. This isn’t to say that a ring is always a necessity - in fact, a survey found that almost 1 in 4 proposals were happening without one. However, an almost overwhelming majority of proposals still involve the classic engagement ring. But what’s the cost?
“Three full months salary” used to be the rule of thumb when it came to budgeting for an engagement ring. However, as time has moved on, people have become more wary of splurging on a ring and the jewellery market has become more competitive, the price ranges have diversified. Using the e-commerce site Shopstyle as a base for our research, we found the cost of an engagement ring to range from £9 all the way through to upwards of £40,000. Taking a mean from the amounts we encountered, we have found the average cost of an engagement ring to be around £1,458.83.
Social media has had a huge impact on allowing the niche industry of engagement photography to flourish. In fact, a study revealed that 1 in 3 couples choose to announce their engagement on social media first. Platforms like Instagram have played a significant role in the boom of engagement photoshoots, with couples now wanting to have access to professional-grade and high-quality shots to share on social media. The growth in these sort of photo sharing platforms have also fed into the events and travel industries too, with there now being extra demand for large parties or unique settings as the backdrop for the perfect engagement photoshoot.
That being said, an engagement photographer isn’t there to simply help a couple fill up their followers’ news feed. An integral part of planning the perfect proposal is ensuring you and your loved ones can remember it forever - and this means having the right photographer there to capture the moment with a stunning photoshoot. This is why engagement photography has grown into such a popular and established industry. But how much will it cost to hire one for your special moment?
Pulling data from our own platform, we can work out the average cost of hiring an engagement photographer for an hour. Prices range from around £58 to over £150 depending on what you’re after and after averaging out the prices, we have found the cost to be £125.10 per hour.
What makes a special moment even more special? For many, it’s the ability to share the celebrations with friends and family. Or, in this case, throwing a full-on engagement party. Engagement parties are not new by any standard - in fact, they have existed almost as long as marriage itself. Whilst some couples choose to keep engagement celebrations low key, there’s no doubt that social media has helped make engagement parties evolve into more extravagant affairs.
In 2019, the average cost of an engagement party in the UK had reportedly risen by 29% - and it may not be going down anytime soon. Couples are choosing to spend more on large engagement parties, deciding to hire a venue instead of using their own homes not only to accomodate more people, but to create unique settings for unforgettable engagement photos.
But how much will this cost you? Using a popular venue hire platform, we’ve worked out the average package prices for 50 guests, a venue, catering equipment and venue alcohol/alcohol licence. Taking all this into account, the average cost of venue hire for an engagement party comes in at around £1,520.75.
The Cost of an Engagement
The Grand Total
So, what’s the final figure? If we total up these individual costs, the cost of an engagement comes to a grand total of £3,104.68.
Bearing in mind this figure is also on top of the cost of the wedding itself, which was reportedly just over £30,000 in 2019, and we can see how engagements have become much more than a ring. For many people, getting engaged is everything from the perfect ring, to the dream party, right through to having a photographer there to capture it all.
The Evolution of an Engagement
If you had asked someone 10 – 15 years ago what the most important part of a proposal was, the most common answer would have probably been “the ring”. But, thanks to social media, that may no longer be strictly true.
As social platforms have grown, it’s become possible to share snippets of life’s important moments with all of your friends and family across the globe – simply with the click of a button. With hundreds of accounts and hashtags dedicated to collating and sharing beautiful engagement photos, there is now an added reason for couples to pull off more and more impressive proposals.
All of this means that, for many people, an engagement has evolved past the simple combination of a ring and a question. It can now involve everything from a massive party, to a beautiful professional photoshoot – and in some cases, it may even involve an unforgettable trip.
The Destination Engagement
You’ve probably heard of a destination wedding, but have you heard of a destination engagement? Going away in order to create the most romantic backdrop for a proposal is a growing trend and one that goes hand in hand with the rise in engagement photography. For many, a destination engagement is more than just the special experience of being away from home, it’s now made even more unforgettable with the inclusion of a destination engagement photoshoot and, in some cases, even an entire engagement party.
Having a foreign and romantic backdrop for your engagement photos is one way to ensure they are always remembered, which is one of the reasons why so many couples are choosing to go for it. But what’s the added cost of this? We’ve taken popular proposal spots in both the UK and abroad in order to figure out how much traveling for your dream destination engagement will cost.
The Most Romantic Places in the UK to Propose
The UK is full of scenic landscapes and hidden gems that make the perfect spot for an engagement - all just a train ride away from London. From Portreath in Cornwall to the Isle of Skye, there are loads of romantic hotspots topping off the list for the best places to propose in the UK.
But just how much would you need to spend just to get to one of them? Using data pulled from a popular travel website, we’ve averaged out the cost of a train ticket to 10 of the most romantic proposal spots in the UK and found the average price of a ticket to come to exactly £122.80. If we add this to our previous total, we can see the cost of an engagement by train comes to £3,227.48.
The Most Popular Places in the World to Propose
What if your perfect proposal takes you further afield? Maybe you want to pop the question in front of the Eiffel Tower, or at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World - if that’s the case, the cost of the plane ticket may be a little bit higher.
Using Skyscanner, we’ve averaged out the prices of plane tickets for direct flights (where possible) for two people to 10 of the most popular proposal spots in the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, topping the list as the most expensive is one of the Seven Wonders - The Grand Canyon in Arizona USA. On the other hand, one of the cheaper destinations was Paris. Either way, the average cost of a plane ticket to one of these most popular engagement destinations will set you back around £1,256.33.
So, what does this mean for our total? If we add this to our average, we can see that the cost of a destination engagement by plane will come to around £4,361.01.
On average, couples are willing to spend upwards of £3,000 on creating their ideal engagement. This not only shows the real cost of a proposal, it also shows what an engagement has become. Getting engaged remains the same joy-filled milestone as it was 15 years ago, but on an even larger scale.
We now live in an age where it’s possible to celebrate and share the joy further than ever before. With relatively simple travel connections and unprecedented access to professional photography and venue hire services, planning a lavish proposal and engagement celebration has essentially never been easier.
However, the cost of an engagement comes down to more than just accessibility. Ultimately, being able to celebrate your engagement or share the moment of your proposal with thousands of friends and family across the world means there is now a greater desire to create the most unforgettable event possible. This not only involves choosing the perfect ring, but it also means choosing the perfect location, the perfect party venue and, of course, the perfect photographer to make sure the moment is captured and ready to share with the world.