The issue of Brides magazine on the shelves today is the last one ever. That’s it for print.
What is happening in the UK? Is the eternal allure of frothy frocks, beautiful bouquets and obedient bridesmaids evaporating? Has the sparkle of rings and receptions become dulled after the onslaught of austerity and the Brexit years?
The answer seems to be yes. The decline of print magazines is an old story, one that has seen many an old friend disappear into digital realms — or just disappear altogether.
The decline of weddings is a newer one. People are increasingly postponing when they get married or are just not bothering to tie the knot at all. “Cohabiting couples” were the fastest-growing family type over the last decade, according to the Office for National Statistics.
There are many reasons for this. One is the financial hurdle. When you add up the venue, the vicar, the cake and the catering, it’s a pretty high price to pay for a small ceremony.
Another is the housing market. If you have a choice about whether to get married right now, or wait a few years while you save for your deposit on somewhere to buy, it’s pragmatic to plump for the latter. After all, a wedding might mean you are paying rent to a landlord for longer than you planned to. Romantic photographs by an ornamental lake or a place to call your own? It’s a no-brainer for the generation that struggled to move out of their parents’ house.
Then, once you’re living together, perhaps you’ve had children together, too, the idea that you need to don a white dress to sign some documents becomes less important. There’s the school run to do! The packed lunches to pack!
Yet cohabitation is not marriage. Just because you live together does not confer upon either of you the same legal rights as a spouse. Just ask Eva Gabrielsson.
Maybe the final edit is a boring but vital necessity. The decision, in the end, is not about frocks but finances.