Celebrity lifestyle craze in danger of bankrupting newlyweds

While all football fans will be watching proceedings on Austria and Switzerland over the coming weeks, it is likely, for one day only at least, that one off-the-field life of one of the game’s biggest names will take all the attention away for the European Championships.

After years of dating, childhood sweethearts Wayne Rooney and Colleen McLoughlin are finally set to tie the knot and, with the groom earning in excess of £100,000 a week and the bride having recently secured a multi-million pound book deal, no expense is set to be spared for the nuptials.

Already, the Manchester United striker has treated 25 friends and family members to the ultimate stag party on the party island of Ibiza, while Colleen has been jetting back a forth to between Liverpool and New York to get fitted into her £200,000 designer dress before setting off for her own pre-wedding celebrations with friends on Tenerife.

However, such preparations are small change compared to the big day itself.

As one source close to the happy couple told the Daily Mail this week: "Both of them want to make their stamp as the king and queen of the football world in a way that even the Beckhams weren’t able to do."

Indeed, the future Mrs Rooney wants the event to be "the biggest wedding of the year, if not the decade".

In order to knock David and Victoria off the top of the luxurious nuptials chart, dozens of guests will be jetted out to the Italian Riviera, where the wedding will take place in the sumptuous 16th century Villa Durazzo.

Over four days, football stars and celebrities will celebrate with everyday Liverpudlians, with the final bill expected to come to around £5 million, give or take a few hundred thousand pounds.

Ordinary couples want to live the dream too

Of course, glamorous weddings are nothing new. Roman emperors would host week-long celebrations, complete with human sacrifices and exotic animals imported from Africa to mark tying the knot, while even after going through the motions five times, Henry VIII never lost his appetite for an over-the-top post-wedding party.

What has changed, however, is that, whereas non-Royals or normal working folk would once be content revelling in merely watching a glamorous wedding and perhaps even buying a souvenir tea towel, now growing numbers are looking to reproduce the images they have seen in the glossy magazine in their own big day.

According to recent research from ING Direct, the average British couple now spends around £18,500 on a wedding, complete with three-day stag party in an Eastern European capital and a no-expense spared dinner.

In comparison, the average cost 20 years ago came to just £4,300, representing a rise more than five times the rate of inflation.

Colette Harris, editor of the magazine and website You and Your wedding, explained: "I think people’s expectation of what they should pay has become more expensive with all the celebrity wedding culture that you get in lots of magazines. There’s this sense that you have to have this enormous celebration with loads of guests and everything has to be blingy and that isn’t the case."

Don’t let debts turn a dream into a nightmare

Though celebrities and non-celebrities may have similar tastes, it is highly unlikely that the typical groom takes home a football player’s salary or that OK magazine will be waving a big cheque in front of Barry and Dawn from Swindon in return for their wedding photos.

As such, failing to keep within a sensible budget when planning a wedding can prevent a dream day turning into a nightmare as credit card companies start demanding payment.

Simple measures such as being ruthless with guest lists, holding the celebrations in a local church or registry office rather than in the Mediterranean, or even getting hitched during the week instead of on a Saturday can make a world of difference financially without necessarily taking anything away from the ceremony itself.

Of course, personal loans can be a bonus for those looking to tie the knot as soon as possible and who are confident that they will be able to pay it back.

But borrowing for the sake of bling may mean a couple’s happy memories are tainted by hefty debts which hang around long after the honeymoon has ended.

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