Australian women who dream of perfect wedding are making inquiries – and sometimes booking receptions – at some of the most desirable wedding venues in the country while they are still single.
Top-end wedding venues can sometimes be booked for three years in advance — and hopeful brides will sometimes put down a deposit to save a date despite not having a groom.
Singles are known to “do the rounds” with a girlfriend in Australia’s most popular places to get married, and meet with wedding planners to discuss possible dates for their dream wedding, a wedding organiser told Business Insider.
“We get some ‘dear hearts’, is what I would call them, who desperately want to have a wedding. They have wanted it all their lives, and they will come and do the rounds with a girlfriend, have a coffee and check out all the venues in the region,” she said.
“I am sure there are some who have fictional partners because they don’t always get the story right, or they can’t always give the details, or they hesitate on the man’s side of things. They sit down with us, we take them through all the details, and it’s hard to keep the story going unless there is a real person involved.”
The Queensland wedding organiser said she had met four or five single women making inquiries about planning a wedding in two years’ time over the last for or five years.
Another wedding planner in Melbourne said she had met around five single women making inquiries in the last year.
Australia’s so-called “man drought” could be contributing to the phenomenon. Women outnumber men in Australia for the first time, making up just over half of the population, and women are marrying later in life — adding pressure to tie the knot before it’s too late to have children.
Manager of Maleny Manor, Marlene Murray, said she received 843 inquiries about wedding bookings in December and January, and several were from single women hoping to get a rock under the tree.
Some saved the date – which she will allow them to do for seven days before putting down a $2,000 deposit – and around 15 returned after the holidays to confirm their man was game.
(All together: Phew!)
“The conversations we have with them are quite in depth from that first phone call, so we get to know a lot about them,” Mrs Murray said.
“A lot of them will come back with their children for photo shoots on anniversaries, and some of them could have been girls who started off penciling the dates in hope,” she said. So dreams do come true.
Nadia Owen, Business Development and Venues Manager at the Willows in Melbourne met around five women last year who made inquiries about booking their wedding before they were engaged.
“Most people are traditional and wait until they’re engaged but there have been a surprising number of people who have said, ‘He hasn’t popped the question yet but I’m hoping he will’,” she told Business Insider.
“I always look for the ring on the fourth finger and when it’s not there I’m like ‘wow’.
“Sometimes they say it’s on the cards, or we are basically married anyway, or they are shopping around because they are from inter state.
“Some are more laid back about it and some are like, ‘right, I’m going to make it happen’.
“I have not really had that many, but enough for me to know and find it funny and think you’re putting the cart before the horse.
“But you can’t be picky as a business owner, I have to talk to everyone and at the end of the day everybody’s money is the same.
“One or two put a date on hold and one of them said they found a different venue and the other said it had fizzled out. I think she was getting ahead of herself.
“All of these people who have come without being engaged have come in looking for dates in 2014/2015 and we don’t even need to put dates on hold because that’s so far away.”
However dates do fill up quickly as the dream of the white wedding lives on in modern day Australia, and website Wedding Venues.com.au maintains many venues get booked out up to two years in advance “with some brides to be putting their names down before they even get engaged”.
They can also use websites like The Knot.com.au to plan their dream weddings alone.
Anja Winikka, the director of TheKnot.com, told the New York Times 40 per cent of 20,000 brides it questioned in 2011 revealed they visited the site, whether they had a boyfriend or not, before becoming engaged.
And 13 per cent created profiles, and joined in discussions on the “not yet engaged section,” where users message at length about whether it is appropriate for singles to go ring shopping.
“There are so many websites out there, and so much information, so because of that women are just saturated,” Ms Owen said.
“There are so many expectations, it just gets too much.”
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