Civil ceremonies on the rise as religious weddings fall out of popularity
The number of couples getting married with religious ceremonies has fallen 6.2 per cent in a year.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed an increasing preference for civil ceremonies, especially those in approved premises such as stately homes and hotels.
Provisional statistics indicate that in 2011 in England and Wales there were 247,890 weddings, a 1.7 per cent rise from 243,808 the previous year. Of these, 174,600 were civil ceremonies, a 5.4 per cent rise, while religious weddings, whether Christian, Muslim or Jewish, correspondingly fell from 78,128 in 2010 to 73,290 in 2011.
Civil ceremonies now account for 70 per cent of all weddings, a rise from 64 per cent in 2001, and the proportion that took place in approved venues rose 14 per cent from 125,612 in 2010 to 143,220 in 2011.
“Following their introduction in 1995, there has been a continual increase in the proportion of marriages taking place in approved premises. This coincides with a rise in the number of approved premises licensed for weddings,” the ONS said in a statement.
Of the religious wedding ceremonies carried out in 2011, the latest year for which there are published figures, 53,700 were Church of England or Church of Wales, 8,240 were Roman Catholic, 8,680 were of other Christian denominations while 2,670 were for other religions including Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Sikhism.
The number of women aged 16 or over getting married fell slightly from 20 per thousand to 19.8 but the number of men getting married remained constant at 20 per thousand.
The greatest number of marriages were for men and women aged 25 to 29 while the age group with the biggest percentage increase in the number of marriages from 2010 to 2011 was 6.5 per cent for women aged 55 to 59. The second biggest group was men aged 60 for whom there was a 6.5 per cent rise in marriages.
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said the figures were a reflection of the way modern society is moving away from religion.
“It’s an absolutely classic example of how society is changing,” he said. “There’s a general, overall change in attitudes to religion.”
“There have been other statistics, particularly the Census, showing a big change. It’s quite natural it would be reflected in the figures for marriage.”
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...