British concept store The Wedding Gallery has opened in London’s affluent Marylebone district, capitalising on soaring spending on nuptials. US wedding-planning website The Knot’s 2016 annual survey revealed that the average cost of an American wedding is now $35,329 – an increase of over $2,500 compared to the previous year and, notably, a larger year-on-year hike than any previous period.
Conceived as a one-stop department-store-meets-trade-show for all things wedding related, the 20,000 sq ft space offers dresses and suits (from prestige brands including Temperley London, Oscar de la Renta, Thom Sweeney and Gieves & Hawkes), cakes, perfume, jewellery, wedding gifts, floristry and expert-led hair and make-up advice. Visitors must book £50 ($65) 75-minute ‘tour’ appointments, which begin in a dedicated area showcasing the latest wedding trends. On finishing the tour, participants are handed a list of everything that has caught their eye on the way through.
Acknowledging The Knot’s findings that “total personalisation” is driving the US spend on celebrations, visitors can also begin working on bespoke projects with in-house wedding planners.
While UK wedding spending doesn’t yet match the US – average costs are £15,000 ($19,000) (Confetti, 2017) – savvy British high-street fashion brands are already getting a slice of the action. French Connection is the latest to launch a bridal range. Its inaugural range will hit stores in February 2018 – following Asos, Topshop and Whistles (all British).