Lovers urged to buy protection

Spring has almost sprung and for Britain’s celebrities, love is well and truly in the air. There has been a spate of starry romances upgrading to full-blown engagements, one of which was Gareth Gates pledging life-long love to his dancer girlfriend Suzanne Mole.

The pop star went down on one wobbly knee at a News Year’s party. He told the Sun that after a few drinks, he found the situation "hilarious". Gates added: "I wasn’t able to stop laughing. I don’t know if it was nerves or what. She was in floods of tears, though. And she said yeah, which was nice!"

Scottish songstress KT Tunstall is also planning on getting hitched after drummer boyfriend Luke Bullen proposed at Christmas. Unfortunately for KT, their hectic summer schedules are making picking a suitable wedding day extra hard. She confessed to the Daily Record: "I’m really excited about getting married but we still have to set our date."

Across Britain 1.8 million people are planning to propose to their beloveds this year, according to research conducted by Abbey. However, the high street bank warned that a "staggering" 42 per cent of engagement rings are uninsured and a further 16 per cent of owners of such costly ornaments do not know if their cover extends to their rings.

Abbey urged anyone buying a ring to check that it is insured through one of their policies straight away and to buy cover for it if it is not. Fewer than 30 per cent of engagement rings are covered by existing policies, it noted. Furthermore, as the cost of precious metals has risen recently, it is important that review their home contents insurance regularly, the bank’s report added. Lloyd Wilson, head of Abbey Insurance, said: "The number of people who don’t think about insurance for their engagement rings and other precious items is quite staggering. With the average engagement ring costing around £1,200, it’s important to arrange insurance immediately."

Romantic Britons

It is not just Abbey stressing the importance of considering cover before popping the question, last month Co-operative Insurance issued a warning to romantic Britons. Although it is understandable that when nervously considering asking for someone’s eternal companionship, thoughts of money and insurance are far from the proposer’s mind, the insurer has urged would-be fiances to protect their "most expensive romantic gesture". James Hillon, head of home insurance with the firm, urged: "Our advice is to check your cover before going down on bended knee and ensure that your romantic evening doesn’t end in tears."

Unfortunately, with rings that expensive, many Britons may feel that their finances are a bit too stretched with higher living costs for them to afford the outlay, meaning the credit crunch could be standing in the way of true romance. However, despite many institutions cutting back on what they are prepared to lend, there are still deals to be had. Sainsbury’s Bank estimates that during 2008, £1.16 billion will be borrowed through personal loans in order to pay for weddings. It revealed that the average amount borrowed by one of its customers to fund their big day is £9,363.

Big day – big cost

Of course, the engagement ring is just a precursor to one of the most expensive as well as special days in a young couple’s life. A study published last month by Alliance & Leicester revealed lovers estimate their wedding will cost 22 per cent less than it does, with the average amount spent now totally £19,400. Richard Al-Dabbagh, head of personal loans at the bank, warned that the most important day of a couple’s life can have a "hefty price tag attached" and suggested a low-rate personal loan can be a sensible way to help pay for the event. He added that managing the financial aspect of a wedding day is as important as choosing the reception venue or the rings and deserves as much attention.

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