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Holiday company Dawson and Sanderson is launching a new service called www.giftmyhoneymoon.co.uk to help couples with the cost of their wedding and honeymoon

A new honeymoon gift service is set to encourage couples down the aisle towards wedded bliss with some help from their friends and family.

Holiday company Dawson and Sanderson is launching a new service called www.giftmyhoneymoon.co.uk to help couples with the cost of their wedding and honeymoon.

The new savings fund from enables family and friends to contribute towards a couple’s honeymoon, or their wedding abroad. The bride and groom-to-be can personalise their page on the site with the wedding photographs and upload a special message, and can even share it via Facebook and Twitter.

It’s estimated that couples are now spending an average of £4113 on their honeymoon* and with many already co-habiting before they get hitched, traditional wedding presents such as toasters and crockery sets are also on the decline. As a result, asking for cash gifts is becoming more fashionable and less of a social taboo.

North East couple Leah Nesbitt and Leonard Rundle, who live in South Shields are the first to try out the service.

Leah, who works as a dance instructor teaching Zumba and street dance for Sunderland Dance said: “These days most couples already live together so have things like towels, kettles and toasters for the house. What they really need is contributions towards the costs of the honeymoon as well as experiences whilst they’re there as it all mounts up. When the time’s right we’ll definitely look to set up a Giftmyhoneymoon account.”

Chris Pattison, managing director of Dawson and Sanderson said: “With the honeymoon being one of the most expensive getaways a couple will ever make, it seems reasonable to ask for a little help to meet the costs, instead of receiving items they don’t really need.

“Our new online service makes it a hassle-free process for guests to make a contribution towards this special occasion and also helps couples to easily track their growing pot of money. We’ll also give them £20 to get the account started as a special wedding gift.”

Since it was established 50 years ago in 1962, Dawson and Sanderson, which has 22 branches across the North and employs 300 staff, has sent six million passengers on holidays across the globe. In that time, the company has arranged more than 49,000 honeymoons and weddings.

A team of 60 specialist wedding and honeymoon co-ordinators is also on hand to help the couple find, and book, their perfect romantic escape or exotic dream wedding using the accumulated money so couples can be based anywhere in the UK.

But whilst newlyweds booking their honeymoon 50 years ago were flying out to Spain, the UK and France and spending an average of £550, these days they’re increasingly eschewing traditional breaks in paradise locations sipping cocktails by the pool in favour of longer, more adventurous post wedding breaks in places more associated with gap-year travellers, such as Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The Indian Ocean is also becoming increasing in popularity as a weddings destination according to the honeymoon sales team at Dawson and Sanderson.

The number of couples saying ‘I do’ in a different country has increased by 27% in the last five years to 60,000 in 2010, according to research company Mintel. Almost 18% of all weddings are now estimated to take place abroad and the market for overseas weddings is set to top £400 million by 2013.

The research also says young couples are saving their annual holiday entitlement to be used for one long honeymoon. Sixty five percent had taken most of their holiday time for a honeymoon in one go, to travel to a far flung destination for longer. A third of wedding trips booked in the last year were for four weeks or more, compared with an average of just 1.5 weeks two decades ago.

Dawson and Sanderson’s holiday packages and flights are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority giving customers peach of mind when booking their wedding or honeymoon.

A Giftmyhoneymoon account can be set up for weddings, honeymoons and renewals. To find out more contact a Dawson and Sanderson branch, ring 0800 542 8310 or visit www.giftmyhoneymoon.co.uk

*Source: travelmatch.co.uk, 2011
-Ends-

Additional Notes to editors - more facts and figures for editors (source Mintel October 2010)

The average cost of a wedding in the UK is just short of £20,000.

The average cost of a wedding abroad is £6585.

Weddings in the Indian Ocean are showing the most growth as a destination. The average cost of a wedding in Mauritius is £2500.

Second time marriages and renewal of vows plays a high contributory factor in the rise of the wedding abroad numbers.
Almost 18% of all weddings are now estimated to take place abroad.

This rise has come as the number of weddings conducted in the UK has continued to fall –270,000 took place in 2008 (the latest year for which official data is available), marking an 11.5% drop over the 10 years since 1998.

In England and Wales, 2008 saw the number of people getting married fall to its lowest point since 1895.

Three in ten people believe they may marry, remarry or renew their vows in future.

One in five people expects to get married at some point. The likelihood of holding these opinions varies regionally - four in ten people living in Yorkshire/the North East /the North West believe they may marry/ remarry/renew vows in future, with those from the South/Midlands/ Wales at the national average of three in ten.

And one in four people from Yorkshire/the North East expects to get married in future, as do three in ten from the North West – versus a national average of one in five.

The percentage of consumers ‘in the market’ (those who may marry, remarry or renew their vows in future) that would like to honeymoon abroad has increased significantly in the last two years, reaching seven in ten – up from fewer than six in ten in 2008. Preferring a UK honeymoon is now even less likely.

Across the ten-year period 1998-2008, 25-29-year-olds have remained the most likely to get married. However the average age at first wedding has increased for both men and women – for example, the age band second-most likely to contain brides in 1998 was 20-24- year-olds. In 2003 it was 30-34-year-olds and in 2008 it had become 35-44-year-olds.

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Media enquiries: Sam Hook at Uniquethinking on sam@uniquethinking.co.uk 0191 231 4985 or 0795 7551810




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