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Marriage and weddings in the UK - Statistics & Facts

Between 1991 and 2017 the marriage rate in England and Wales fell from 36 marriages per 1,000 people to 20.3, while for the UK as a whole, there were 78 thousand fewer marriages taking place in 2017 than there were in 1991. At the same time there has been an increase in the age at which people marry. In 1973, for example, the average age at marriage for men was 28.8 years and 26.1 for women. By 2018, however, the average age for men getting married stood at 38.1, and 35.8 for women. Another trend of recent years has been the rise of civil ceremonies at the expense of religious ceremonies. In 2017, around 186.6 thousand weddings were civil ceremonies, compared with around 48.2 thousand religious ones.

Modern marriage trends

While there has been a general decline in the frequency of marriage in the United Kingdom, it is still an important institution, as well as a valuable industry. In 2019 there were over 24.1 million married people in England and Wales, while in Scotland in 2018, 47 percent of the population were either married or in a civil partnership. One of the most important developments with regard to marriage, in recent years has been the legalization to allow same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom. Prior to 2014 civil partnerships were the only way for same-sex couples to gain the same legal rights as married couples, before same-sex marriage was legalized in March of that year, with Scotland following in December. The last jurisdiciton to legalize same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom was Northern Ireland, which did so in January 2020.

Wedding dates and costs

In terms of when weddings happened, the vast majority in England and Wales took place on a Saturday, with approximately 116 thousand weddings taking place on this day. Fridays were the second most-popular day for weddings at 42.6 thousand, while Tuesdays were the least popular day of the week. August was the most popular month for weddings in 2018, with 37.6 thousand weddings taking place in 2018, with September, July and June also proving popular. During this year the most common date for a wedding was Saturday, August 18, with almost 4.6 thousand weddings taking place on this date. In 2009 the average wedding cost around 20 thousand British pounds, but by 2018 this figure had reached approximately 32 thousand British pounds. Wedding venues accounted for the most of this spending, but other costs were also significant, including engagement rings, estimated to cost an average of over 3 thousand British pounds in London during 2017. Although places of worship were still a favored choice for wedding venues in 2018, the most common types were country or manor houses.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 21 most important statistics relating to "Marriage and weddings in the UK".

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