The Wedding Blues, Blame it On George Clooney!

Photography by Elisabetta Landoni

Alison Jane, The Ethical Hedonist Talking to Dan Doherty, Executive Chef at The Duke and Waffle.

Alison Jane, The Ethical Hedonist Talking to Dan Doherty, Executive Chef at The Duke and Waffle.

How times have changed. When my parents tied the knot in the late 1950s, my raven-haired mother got married in a Dior, new look style taffeta gown costing the princely sum of £14.00, from a department store in Birmingham; the reception was held in the village church hall and my grandmother baked the wedding feast. Looking back, my mother recalls that she couldn’t afford wedding bells, but she did splash out on her bouquet, a delicate trail of blood red roses, ferns and snowy stephanotis. The honeymoon was a road trip to Scotland, marveling at the salmon leaping in the raging river Dee, at Pitlochery. My mother has never forgotten the lingering and excruciating embarrassment of being newlyweds, staying in a hotel with paper-thin walls. The entire wedding cost less than £100. Fast forward to the 2015, and the average amount a couple spends on their wedding is £25,000. The truth is wonderful memories are not about how much money is spent, or how opulent the proceedings, they are all about the imagination.


Amazing view from the Duck and Waffle, the highest restaurant in the UK

George Clooney – The Wedding of the Decade

Now, in an age where we can see George Clooney stage the wedding of the decade amid the eternal, showy splendors of Venice, The Cipriani and the Grand Canal, it seems that more and more of us are not content to just be bystanders of celebrity culture, we want to live like icons too, even when it means living beyond our means and going into debt and financial strain to achieve this.

An Organic Pleasure Palace in the Sky


The wedding guests party with a difference!

So it was fitting, that when Experian invited a small group of journalists to play wedding guests, at a press briefing on the nations increasingly extravagant, nuptial spending habits, they chose to give us a glimpse of the high life, but not a superficial life, at the Duck and Waffle, a place the Ethical Hedonist would describe as a slow and organic pleasure palace come farmyard in the sky. Here, amid the theatre of an open kitchen, charismatic chef Dan Doherty serves up a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds. A verdant, slow food menu of playful culinary surprises, 40 floors up, with a dizzy, bird’s nest view over one of the most exciting, restless metropolises on the planet.

Time To Return to a Culture of Saving Up for the Big Day?

The Grand Finale – A crispy confit of duck lying on a waffle bed, crowned with a duck egg. And mustard maple syrup, of course!

This is certainly the place for a one of kind celebration. This celebrated foodie outpost, truly delights, and exceeds expectations. It is an extraordinary, quirky gastro dome. A love letter to the renaissance in real, slow, artisan food grown and made with passion. I would make my own lunches for a year to come once again to the Duck and Waffle, and experience the fruits of the forest; sea, farm and sky, with a man I am crazy about, and then whiz back down to earth with memories to last a lifetime.

A multi-coloured Heritage Salad

A multi-coloured Heritage Salad

But that is not how most of us behave, is it? With one in six of us making excuses not to attend a wedding because of the escalating cost of saying ‘I do’, isn’t it time to get back to a culture of saving up to get married and for unforgettable experiences?  Then the best day of our lives truly means something, instead of putting the bill on a credit card, only to loose many a sleepless night worrying about how on earth we will ever pay it off. Golly! Maybe it would be better to elope!

Tips To Put a Spring in Your Relationship and Your Finances

Money can be a source of conflict and disagreement in a relationship, especially where attitudes to spending differ, with one partner loving to spend and the other being more frugal in their approach to life.  Experian have come up with some very useful and sensible tips to help couples maintain harmony over finances, reap the rewards and still have a savings pot for treats!

Love and Money – Money Etiquette for Couples and How to Improve It

Set the ground rules. Do you want a joint account for regular expenses and separate bank accounts for personal spending? Or do you want everything to go together?
Work out who does what. The more frugal partner could look after the budget, while the more extravagant works out the ‘treats’, like meals out or trips away
Agree on short and long-term goals and how you’re going to achieve them, and review regularly together
Be honest about your past. If you have a less-than-perfect history of repaying money you owe, this could affect both of you in the long-term if your credit reports become linked
Take time together to understand if you need to improve one or both of your credit reports. Do this well in advance of applying for credit together

Spend all your time together talking about money
Keep secrets. Research from Experian shows that 29% of people in the UK discovered that their partner was keeping credit card debt from them
Dig yourself into a hole. If you find yourself in debt, don’t borrow more in the hope of putting things right. Ask for help and be open about it with your partner
Talk about money issues when you are angry. Arguing about money is never going to be productive
Expect your partner to completely change. It’s unlikely an extravagant spender will do a complete about-turn and suddenly become frugal.
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Here is Experian’s Revealing Infographic On How Much Britain is Spending On The Big Day