Monthly Archives: June 2011

Oh yes, a second wedding related infographic

I gave you a treat with the last infographic on the cost of weddings and other related stats. Well, here’s another.

The Royal Wedding cost the British tax payer a huge £52.5million, while the average UK wedding costs a staggering 17,880 quid. I guess then, according to the below infographic, if we spent the money from the average wedding on things to directly benefit others instead of one big day, 2503 people could benefit.  That’s some food for thought…


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A wedding infographic

I love a good infographic. Sadly, I haven’t come across many wedding related infographics with a British focus, but tonight I have.

First, here’s a little run down of the facts that surprise me somewhat, and how they differ to our experience:

  • 61% of brides choose their own engagement ring. Jeffrey chose mine and I always had absolute faith in him that he’d know what to go for. If he doesn’t know me enough to know what I’d like in an engagement ring does he know me enough to marry me?
  • the average spent on invitations is £500. Outrageous. Our invitations must have cost all of £40 tops.
  • the average cost of wedding flowers is £750. We’re buying my bouquet, my bridesmaid’s bouquet and three button holes (though I did originally consider making them myself). But otherwise my parents are growing the flowers for the tables. This won’t cost more than £200 all in.
  • the average spend on bridemaids’ dresses is £1,000. We bought my sister’s Monsoon dress on Ebay for £30 (<1/3 of the original price).
  • the average wedding dress costs £1,500. I’ll let you into a secret – mine cost <1/5 of that and is just as beautiful…in my opinion.
  • 88% of brides will take their husband’s surname upon marriage – see my previous post for my thoughts on this.
  • the average length of an engagement is 18 months. Ours? Eight.
  • 7% of couples won’t be living together when they get married. This I find bizarre.
  • the average age for a bride is 29. I’m not surprised by this. Today I was telling colleagues (and the girl who I go to to get waxed) that I, all of a sudden, feel too young to be getting married. Now in the grand scheme of things I’m not far off the average (I’m 27). But my Scottish colleague and I agreed that feeling young is to do with living in London. Up north people seem to get married younger than in London.
  • the 10 most expensive weddings ever start at approx £1.5m and top at approx £63m. Get real.

Infographic by Policy Expert (

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What’s in a name?

In the office today we had some wedding related chat prompted by an invitation from HR to get our business cards replenished. They order 1000 business cards per person at a time. I swear no one ever gets through that many before they either leave, change job titles, or get married.

Needless to say, I got nowhere near distributing my 1000 before my job title changed over a year ago. I didn’t bother to order more and I’m still no closer to getting rid of the huge pile of cards cluttering up my drawer. And now my name’s about to change. At least, I think it’s about to change.

The wedding’s just over 8 weeks away now and we’re en route to having a very happy ceremony where we will become… What? This is the tricky part.

I believe I should be saying we’ll become Mr and Mrs Boakye. Since way back when women became their husband’s property they would change their surname to their husband’s surname. This is what we humans like to call ‘tradition’.

Apparently, according to, this is the “simplest option”, but I’m not quite sure how that can be the case. It’s also the “preferred option of today’s brides”, or so we’re told. And apparently “life is made considerably easier and less confusing  to others when making joint financial, legal and social arrangements”. OK. So I guess that makes sense if you’re living in the 1950s where cohabitation was an anomaly. But Jeffrey and I already have our mortgage, joint account, credit cards, utilities, et al in our separate names. This leads me to believe that for us what would actually be simplest is for me to keep Hostick. Who cares what’s easiest for the financial and legal institutions we deal with? They make my life hard enough and I wouldn’t mind something that’s easiest for me for a change thanks.

Now I understand why any wife-to-be would like to take her husband-to-be’s surname. But I admit I am a little surprised that it’s the majority. I know a fair few people who have got/are getting married this year or next – 8 or so – and of those, that I know of, only one has decided not to take her husband’s surname. The rest have given up their surname to take on their husband’s. The reason many of them give? “It’s tradition” or “[insert fiance’s name here] wants me to”. And when it’s the latter it feels slightly more like it’s the man’s call – with the woman succumbing to the ingrained tradition of paternalism, discrimination and the female as property.

I haven’t got a problem with people making this choice. But I just don’t think it’s for me. I can see how it might be symbolic, and how it can immediately create a sense of family. But I’ve been Sophie Hostick for 27 years. I’m not about to become Jeffrey’s property. We don’t need a name to make Jeffrey and me feel like a family. I’m my own person. I have an identity. It’s suited me for 27 years and it’ll suit me for the rest of my life ta.

I don’t need tradition to tell me to become Sophie Boakye, or lose my identity completely and be formally addressed as Mrs Jeffrey Boakye of Mr and Mrs Jeffrey Boakye. (Apparently, again according to, I could find myself commonly addressed Mrs Sophie Boakye which, we are told, is incorrect and is in fact how a divorced woman would address herself. Heaven forbid I should make that error).

But then, to me Mr Boakye and Mrs Hostick sounds weird. I guess this is where I’d become Ms Hostick. But the title Ms just doesn’t appeal either.

So I floated the idea of Jeffrey taking my surname – if it’s symbolic and creates a greater sense of family than having separate surnames, surely that could be an option? Jeffrey could become Mr Jeffrey Hostick. But, as it goes, while a woman has two automatic legal options (continue to use her maiden name or change her surname to her husband’s) a man has no legal right to change his name and has to go over more hurdles to change his name than a woman might. But this aside, it seems I have found Mr Boakye, not Mr Right. Jeffrey told me in no uncertain terms that he will not be changing his name to Hostick.

So what’s the option? Well, I think there are a few:

  • combine our names – Hostick meets Boakye. Our marvelous choice of surnames include – Bostick (yeah yeah. I know. Like the glue. I never heard that in school), Hoakye, Tickbo, Hosbo. But surely creating a completely new name hugely eradicates a sense of self. If I don’t want to lose my identity I can’t expect Jeffrey does either, and Tickbo just means nothing to us or to anyone else.
  • use my surname as a middle name – Sophie Hostick Boakye – meaning I can use my full name or the common married name at my leisure. Also leaving others to just drop Hostick as they please.
  • hyphenate/double barrel – stick Jeffrey’s name at the end of mine with a hyphen in the middle, forcing Hostick to remain a part of my name.
My choice? I’ve decided on the latter. I would like to take Jeffrey’s name. I really want to marry him and be a unit. I like the symbolism. But I want to keep my identity and thus hyphenating our names feels right. But Jeffrey will be keeping Boakye. So we’ll be Mr Jeffrey Boakye and Mrs Sophie Hostick-Boakye. And it works reasonably well I think. Despite the fact that instead of just having one surname to spell I’ll now have two.


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Wedding Invitations

Well, the date is fast approaching – we are now less than 11 weeks away from our wedding – so the next thing to do seemed to be wedding invitations.

Now, etiquette says wedding invitations should be sent out at least 6 weeks before the wedding. But what with us inviting people from Denmark, France and London to travel up to the beautiful East Yorkshire for our wedding, we thought we ought to send our invitations out sooner. But what did we want out invitations to look like?

Way back when, I discussed the dreaded wedding theme. In this I quoted how the wedding website Confetti said that wedding invitations should reflect the style choice for our day – be it a theme (e.g. football) or a colour (e.g. pink and brown). The aim of such a theme is to “create a unique style and mood for your celebrations”. 

You may remember that I suggested that the theme of our wedding could be ‘us’ – that is, something that is a reflection of us. So I guess that means creative/British/Ghanaian/Danish, which led us to colour and homemade – with our very own font (see our Save the Date cards).

And there was no way I was going to order ready made cards when I could blatantly make them myself to some style that suits us perfectly.

So, out came the  sewing paraphernalia, the scraps of Ghanaian and English/Danish style fabric, print-outs of the definitions of love and marriage and the blank A6 windowed cards I’d bought online, and I made I start.

I thought it would be great to use fabric that show our heritage, dictionary definitions that would link into Jeffrey’s love of English language and literature, and sewing that passes a lot of my time.

I cut hearts out of the pieces of paper with definitions on, and sewed them onto little squares of fabric to fit in the window of the cards:


I then used the font that my sister Lisa designed to design the inside of the invitations, along with the travel information and gift list inserts. Put them all in the card, stuck a sticker of Jeffrey and me on the back, put them in the envelopes, et voila. Invitations done. And I am very pleased with myself as I love them, and sincerely hope the recipients do too.

And you can see them all below (minus 3 which I made later than these). I’m thinking I could make some of these to sell, so if anyone wants, or knows anyone who wants any making, to a particular theme, then get in touch!



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