UK Wedding Statistics 2014 – The Wedding Secret

The Latest UK Wedding Stats!

Ever wondered how popular weddings have been over the last few years? How about comparing that to weddings over the last 100 years? Well we’ve been working hard breaking down the very latest marriage statistics to come out of the UK – and this is what we found.

Highlights of The Analysis

  • Currently, marriages in the UK are on an increase (recovering from an all-time low)
  • Dumfries and Galloway and Argyll and Bute in Scotland are the most popular local authorities in the UK for marriages (per capita of population)
  • Scotland is the most popular country in the UK for marriages (per capita of population)
  • Civil ceremonies make up 67% of all marriage ceremonies in the UK
  • Marriage ceremony types vary quite considerably from country to country in the UK

–A Quick Note–

We have gathered and combined statistics for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – courtesy of the ONS from various years – the most recent uses provisional data from 2012 (the latest available statistical year) which you can see in the ‘Marriage Trend’ section (only). The rest of the graphic features statistics from 2011, as further information (such as 2013 and 2014) have not been made available at the time of writing for England and Wales. The 2013 data for Scotland and Northern Ireland have been made available.

Further Reading: If you’re looking to get married in the UK, browse our selection of venues here

UK Weddings

Number of Marriages

The total number of marriages in the UK in 2012 totalled 301,254. Of this, England and Wales contributed 262,240 (87%), Scotland 30,534 (10%), and Northern Ireland 8,480 (3%). The large proportion from England and Wales is of course, down to population.

On The Rise

As you can see, marriages in the last four statistical years have been on the increase, jumping from the UK’s all-time low of 267,898 in 2009. They have nearly returned to the last peak of 313,551 in 2004.

It’s likely that this all-time low dip was influenced by the recent recession in the UK, which lasted from 2008-2009.

Is the recent increase influenced by our recovery from the recession? Or are there more intricate social influences at work here? Let’s take a look at the history of marriages over the last 100 years.

The 100 Year Marriage Trend in the UK

We’ve covered a lot of this section in our previous, England and Wales 2013 infographic analysis article, so considering this data has not changed, and it’s very similar to the UK’s data, take a look for a more in-depth breakdown of the socio-economic journey that marriage records highlight, here.

In the meantime, here’s a quick summary of marriages in the combined countries of the UK over the last 100 years.

UK Weddings

World Wars – There are clear peaks post and pre-World War I and World War II on the chart below. This is due to the desire at the time to marry considering the extreme circumstances, and also to the large number of foreign soldiers (US and Canada) temporarily residing in the country!

The Baby Boomer Era

There are periods in the 1960s which have large peaks in marriages. This is partly down to the population boom post World War II (in turn thanks to the many marriages during and after the war). This is backed up by the fact that the average age of marriage during this period is around 24.

The Downward Trend

The 80s onward sees a gradual downward trend of marriages until the present day.

Where?

Analysing the latest available (2011) regional data for marriages in the UK brings up some interesting results indeed.

Bear in mind that we have interpreted the data in terms of marriages per capita of population (1000). This helps us see a fair representation that is not skewed by large populations (there were 31,726 weddings in the London region in 2011 for example – but considering its population, 8 Million, that is not too much!)

UK Weddings

  1. Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway was by far the most popular local authority in which to marry in the whole of the UK in terms of marriages per head of population. This suggests that it is a popular destination for couples travelling from outside the region.

Once again, we go into detail about the possible causes for this in our Weddings in Scotland 2014 infographic.

As a quick summary, this is due to the popularity of Gretna Green, known in the past as a destination for English couples looking to hold ‘runaway weddings’, away from the more strict laws in place in England.

  1. Argyll and Bute

The stunning Argyll and Bute region is a popular destination for those living in the populous Glasgow and Edinburgh, as the region is relatively accessible from those cities.

  1. Rutland

Rutland, located in the Midlands, and adjacent to the populous Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, has the highest number of marriages per population in England. Rutland Water is a beautiful region within the tiny county that is clearly popular for weddings.

The Most Popular Regions to Marry in The UK

For every 1000 people, there were 4.54 marriages that took place in the UK during 2011.

Scotland is the most popular region (country) within the UK in terms of its population for marriages, quite an interesting feat considering 87% of weddings took place in England and Wales in 2012. This is followed closely by the South West of England.

UK Weddings

Both are sparsely populated regions with grand swathes of beautiful countryside, making them popular destinations to those living outside (in more urban areas for example).
When?

Day of The Week

Saturday is by far the most popular day of the week to marry, with 54% of all weddings taking place on this day during 2011. This comes as no surprise considering the day’s suitability to the 9-5 routine.

Tuesday is the least popular day to wed in the UK, at 4%, with Wednesday close behind (5%). This is thanks to these two days’ being the furthest away from the weekend.

UK Weddings

Time of the Year

The months of May through September constitute the peak season in the UK with August being the singularly most popular month to wed, at 40,255 (15%) marriages.

UK Weddings

Age

As you can see, men in the UK tend to marry at an older age to women, with a large 2.4 year age gap.

UK Weddings

Type

Here we look at the different type of wedding ceremony that take place in the UK. There are two main types of ceremony:

  1. Civil Ceremonies are non-religious events which are conducted by registrars employed by the local authority.
  1. Religious Ceremonies are those conducted by a recognised religious body (i.e. Church of England, Church of Scotland etc.), and belief systems (i.e Humanist) in Scotland (only).

UK Weddings

Civil Ceremonies

As you can see, 67% of all marriages in the UK were conducted as registered civil ceremonies – a clear reflection of the UK’s secular orientation. This means that religious ceremonies only have 33% of the share.

Religious Marriages

National Church Weddings

In the graph below, we’ve grouped together the Church of England, Church of Scotland and Church of Ireland (in Northern Ireland) marriages which took place in 2011. As you can see, ceremonies with these larger, Protestant Christian groups are still the dominant form of religious ceremony in the UK.

‘Other’ Marriages

In comparison to our England and Wales 2013 infographic, the recorded number of ‘other’ marriage types is quite large (1.4% in England and Wales compared to 5% in UK).

‘Other’ here means other religious ceremonies including Christian religions such as The Assemblies of God Church, Methodist, Baptist etc,. and other non-Christian religions such as Judaism, Islam etc.

Scotland

Scotland is worthy of its own mention here as it treats types of weddings differently to the rest of the UK. In terms of marriages ceremonies, Scotland categorises ‘belief systems’ such as Humanism as religious.

In Scotland, temporary authorisation can be granted to an individual affiliated with a recognised religious group or belief system (Roman Catholic Church or Humanist Society for example). This also contributes to the relatively large 5% ‘other’ weddings we see in the UK pie chart.

Ireland

The ‘Other’ count is very large in Ireland too (25% in 2013), contributing to this the wider variety of religious ceremonies which take place in Ireland on a yearly basis, besides Catholic, Church of Ireland and civil ceremonies. This includes a large number of Presbyterian and Methodist ceremonies, and ‘other denominations’.

Conclusions

Of course the UK’s marriage statistics are influenced by different countries in the UK. Although England and Wales contributed 87% of all weddings in 2012, it doesn’t paint the whole picture, as per head of population, Scotland is actually the most popular place to marry in the UK.

Marriage ceremony types vary quite considerably from country to country in the UK, with Scotland hosting a great deal of humanist weddings, Northern Ireland a higher proportion of religious weddings and England and Wales many civil ceremonies.

On a positive final note, marriages are on the up in the UK!

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Weddings in Northern Ireland 2014 – The Wedding Secret

The Latest Northern Ireland Wedding Stats Fresh Off The Press!

Over the last few months we’ve been breaking down some of the latest marriage statistics to come out of Northern Ireland. And finally, we’ve put together our infographic depicting the patterns we’ve found. Take a peek below, and scroll further down to see some of our own speculation thrown in, along with comparison to the rest of the UK’s marriage trends…
Highlights of The Analysis

  • Out of anywhere in the UK, religion plays a more important role in marriages in Northern Ireland
  • Conflict is a catalyst for an increased number of marriages
  • Fermanagh and Omagh is the most popular place to marry in Northern Ireland taking population of the county into account
  • The 60s-70s were the most popular time to marry in Northern Ireland’s history.

Provisional Data

This infographic portrays data provided to The Wedding Secret by the NISRA from 2013 – at the time of publishing the data released is provisional, and is subject to change until the publication of the 2013 Annual Report of the Registrar General. Note also that 2013 is also the latest available statistical year – at the time of writing, 2014’s data has not been made available.

Further Reading: If you’re looking to get married in the UK, browse our selection of venues here

Number of Marriages

Northern Ireland celebrated 8,126 marriages in 2013. This is decrease in 4.2% compared to 2012. Some suggest that getting married in 2013 is unlucky – does this drop represent this notion? We can either look to the future, and wait for 2014’s data to be released, or look to the past for an insight to what this means…

The 100 Year Marriage Trend in Northern Ireland

The Wars

This is an extremely turbulent era for Ireland as a whole – but very interesting from a statistical point of view. Still part of Great Britain, the whole of Ireland fought in WW1 (including what is now Northern Ireland). The data that we have in the graphic just takes data from the geographical area of Northern Ireland pre-independence in 1921.

There’s a strong spike in the number of marriages just after the First World War. This is followed by a gradual decline in the number of marriages until a few years before WW2. Perhaps the conflict of the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War are to blame here.

The story of marriages and WW2 is similar to the rest of the UK. Two peaks pre and post war.

The 70s

1970 sees the largest number of marriages in Northern Ireland’s history – 12,297, beating even the pre/post-war figures. This follows on from a general upward trend after the end of the second war. This stands out as unique from the marriage statistics we have seen from all the other countries in the UK, where in England and Wales we see a general decline followed by a consistent boost in the 60s-70s. In fact, this 60s-70s boost isn’t even visible in our Scotland Infographic.

In our England and Wales infographic, we speculated that this sustained peak in marriages was due to the Baby Boomers reaching the average marrying age. But does that tell all of the story for Northern Ireland?

The Troubles

We can’t help but mention the well-known period of strife called The Troubles (Northern Ireland Conflict), which began in the late 60s and only ended in 1998 with the Belfast ‘Good Friday’ Agreement. Did The Troubles have influence on this peak of marriages in 1970s? Conflict brought about by the world wars certainly led to an increase in marriages, so the same could be true here.

The last 15 years

After a gradual downward trend from the 80s onward, marriages were suddenly on the increase in 2001.

Did the signing of the Belfast ‘Good Friday’ (1998) agreement spell a period of stability?

Or is it The Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 – where civil ceremonies were allowed in approved premises, which had something to do with this increase?

This upward trend is unique to Northern Ireland, with both Scotland and England and Wales’ pattern of marriages continuing the downward trend from the 70s.

Where?

This data has been organised to reflect the Local Government Reform, reducing the 26 counties to 11, due to take over on 1 April 2015. The data from the separate counties of 2013 have already officially been combined by the NISRA.

  1. Fermanagh and Omagh

In terms of number of marriages related to the population of the county, Fermanagh and Omagh is the most popular, with 6.34 marriages for every 1000 people living there. There are plenty of possible reasons why this could be…

  • It’s the largest of the new counties (one eighth of Northern Ireland’s land mass), with significant amounts of the area being covered by water like Upper and Lower Lough Erne, and rural areas such as peatlands and mountains. Thanks to this it has a relatively low population.
  • The county is known for its beautiful countryside and stunning vistas, and has a strong tourism trade. Areas like Lough Erne which are likely to contribute to the high marriage numbers per capita population in Fermanagh and Omagh. It’s a popular destination for couples travelling from outside the county, and perhaps even the country!
  1. Mid and East Antrim

In 2nd place it’s Mid and East Antrim (previously Boroughs of Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus), which includes parts of the stunning Antrim Coast and the Glens – another popular destination, this time in close proximity to Belfast.

Least Popular Regions

The least popular regions are Lisburn & Castlereagh and Antrim & Newtonabbey – interestingly these are the least popular regardless of population too (ignoring the number of marriages per 1000 people method). This suggests that couples in Northern Ireland prefer to get married away from urban/suburban areas such as those around Belfast.

Northern Ireland’s Popularity For Marriages in The UK

So how does Northern Ireland stack up against the rest of the UK in terms of its marriages in 2013? With the UK holding 4.45 marriages for every 1000 people, and Northern Ireland holding 4.62, the country is more popular than average, and in the top 5 most popular countries and regions in the UK.

When?

Time of the Year

This is data for 2013. It comes as no surprise that the summer months are the most popular, and the winter least popular.

These figures closely match what we see for England and Wales, Scotland and the UK as a whole.

Age

The average age for marrying brides in Northern Ireland in 2013 was 32 and 34 for grooms. Note that this takes second (divorced or widowed) marriages into account. The average age for first marriages was 30 for brides and 32 for grooms.

Adding some new data to the mix, County Derry holds marriages with the oldest couples on average, with the age for husbands being 34.1, and brides 31.9.

The youngest is Graigavon with husbands being 32.1 and brides 30.4

Type

The first thing to note here, especially in comparison to the rest of the UK, is that religious ceremonies were the dominant type which took place in Northern Ireland in 2013 (69%).

This hints towards Northern Ireland being made up of a more conservative, traditional and less secular population.

Other

You can see that a quarter of marriages that took place were classed as ‘other’. It’s important that we clarify this before going any further.

This amount includes other faiths, primarily other protestant denominations like Presbyterian (12%) and Methodists (9%).

Catholic Marriages

Just over half of all religious marriages that took place in Northern Ireland in 2013 were Catholic. This reflects the religious story of Northern Ireland.

As part of the official 2011 census (NISRA), 40.8% of residents stated they were Catholic, with 35.8% of the population stating they are of the Protestant faith (combined Anglican, Presbyterianism, Methodist).

With 35% of all marriages being Catholic, and (at least) 30% being Protestant, these figures show that marriages truly do have a significant social story to tell!

Conclusions

Once again, rural and picturesque regions such as Fermanagh and Omagh have quite the pull when it comes to hosting marriages.

Marriage type and occurrence within a given country are an extremely useful insight into its socio-economic history – especially so with Northern Ireland. The 60s-70s show the most popular period in Northern Ireland’s marriage history, unlike England and Wales, where the war-period was the most popular.

Northern Ireland has the highest percentage of religious marriages in the whole of the UK, the majority of which were Catholic – again making Northern Ireland stand out from the crowd.

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Weddings in Scotland 2014 – The Wedding Secret

The Latest Scotland Wedding Stats Fresh Off The Press!

Over the last month we’ve been working hard deciphering some of the latest marriage stats to come out of Scotland. What we have below is an analysis and breakdown of the above infographic, which brings our speculation, additional statistics and patterns into the fray.

Highlights of The Analysis

  • Scotland is the most popular part in the UK to marry in considering its population (per capita)
  • Dumfries and Galloway has remained the most popular administrative region for marriages this year thanks to Gretna Green
  • Comparing Scotland marriage statistics to England and Wales marriage statistics (up to 2011)
  • Men get married at an older age in Scotland
  • Large number of humanist weddings taking place in Scotland

Further Reading: If you’re looking to get married in the UK, browse our selection of venues here

Number of Marriages

Let’s look at the last 4 years of marriages in Scotland. Here we can see a relative rise in marriages until 2012, before the numbers drop back down to 2009-levels. We could offer plenty of speculation here, but some anecdotal evidence suggests that some couples avoid getting married in the year 2013 due to bad luck!

The 100 Year Marriage Trend in Scotland

You may be interested in comparing this section to our 2013 England and Wales infographic! There’s plenty of more detailed speculation reflecting a socio-economic story which also applies to Scotland.

WW1 – You can see that Scotland’s peak in marriages occurs post WW1, in contrast to England and Wales, where there were peaks in marriages both before and after the war. There was a clear trend for loving couples to marry before and after the war years.

The Marriage (Scotland) Act 1939

Prior to 1939, any citizen was able to witness a marriage in Scotland, and it would be deemed legal (as exemplified by Gretna Green).

The graph above shows a steep peak in marriages in 1939 and 1940. Both the influences of WW2 and the 1939 Marriage Act could be to blame here.

WW2 – Scotland (and indeed the rest of the UK) saw an equal boost of marriages pre and post-World War II. There was a clear motivation to marry both sides of the war, and the stats were boosted thanks to the fact that hundreds of thousands of foreign troops (from places like Canada and the US) were stationed in Britain, resulting in a mass of registered marriages and the subsequent ‘War Brides’.

The Baby Boomer Era

Next comes a general downward trend in the number of marriages, followed by peaks in 1956, 1968 and 1980.

Marriage-related acts were introduced in 1965 and 1977 in Scotland which roughly coincide with the last two of these peaks.

Where?

In the graphic below, we’ve organised the data to give a clear indication of the most popular areas to marry without large numbers of population skewing the results (using number of marriages per 1000 population in each area).

Dumfries and Galloway is by far the most popular area in Scotland to marry.

This is wholly due to the significance of the village of Gretna Green, which hosts the majority of the area’s marriages.

The romantic significance of this unassuming little village, located close to the England/Scotland border, lies in its historic use as destination for ‘runaway’ irregular marriages. Thanks to Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act in 1754, couples could legally marry in the presence of any citizen as a witness. Gretna Green owes this association simply because it was conveniently accessed via the English border.

In terms of number of marriages overall (rather than per capita), Dumfries and Galloway still has the most number of marriages.

Argyll and Bute is a distant second, with 11.21 marriages per 1000 people residing in the area and its popularity might be down to its proximity to the populous cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh and its stunning range of lochs, hills, mountains and countryside.

Scotland’s Popularity For Marriages in The UK

When comparing number of marriages to population to other regions in England and Wales, Scotland is the most popular, with South West England coming in a close second.

This is due to the high frequency of marriages, compared to its overall residing population – which can only suggest that either people travel in from outside the area, or more people get married on average in the country. Gretna Green’s significant contribution to Scotland’s number of marriages is likely to be a culprit.

Humanist and Outdoor marriages are also legally recognised in Scotland, making the country a tempting destination for weddings for those living outside of Scotland.

When?

Day of The Week

Predictably, Saturday (45%) is the most popular time of the week to marry, followed by Friday (25%). In comparison to the England and Wales stats, Scotland has a more even spread of marriages on alternative days to Saturday. 25% of marriages in Scotland happen on a Friday, as opposed to England and Wales’ 19% for example.

There could be many reasons for this, with a less conservative attitude towards weddings (and which days they should be held on) being just one.

Time of the Year

The months of May through September constitute the peak season in Scotland, with August being the singularly most popular month to wed, at 3,929 (14%) marriages.

Age

The median age which women married in Scotland in 2013 was 32 years old, which is an increase of one year in the median from 2012. The total average brides’ age stopped increasing in 2003.

The age at which men married in 2013 remained at 34 years old, maintaining the trend of the last 7 statistical years since 2006.

Compared to England and Wales’ 2011 statistics (which are still relevant considering Scotland’s average age of marrying has seen little change over the last 7 years), men in Scotland tend to get married 1 year older than England and Wales.

Type

Perhaps the most noticeable part of this graphic is that 51% of marriages in 2013 in Scotland were ‘civil’, which means they were non-religious and hosted by an authorised Registrar.

This is actually a 16% difference to our England and Wales Infographic, demonstrating that Scotland carries out a higher percentage of ‘religious’-type ceremonies.

Other Religions including Humanism

27% of all marriages in Scotland in 2013 were declared as an ‘other religion’ – quite unusual for a predominantly Christian country when it comes to religion. This is down to the legally recognised status of humanist weddings in Scotland – elsewhere in the UK these forms of ceremonies are not considered as binding by the government.

In 2013 there were 3185 humanist weddings registered with the Humanist Society Scotland. We can expect this figure to rise over the coming years.

State church religious weddings were less popular in Scotland in 2013 than in England and Wales, with Church of Scotland hosting 17% of the country’s marriage ceremonies, and Anglican Churches hosting 24% in England and Wales.

Conclusions

Gretna Green and humanist weddings have significantly affected some of the statistics that we’ve seen from Scotland. There are some subtle differences in the age that grooms marry in Scotland, and in terms of popularity of weddings in recent years, will we be seeing a continuation of the downward trend, or did the superstition of getting married in 2013 just have a temporary influence on what we are seeing? We can only know in 2015.

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Weddings in The South West 2013

The South West

Following the success of the English Wedding Infographic we released earlier this year, here at The Wedding Secret we’ve decided to take a closer look at statistics from our local area, next up, the South West!

The largest of nine official English regions, amongst others, the South West spans Gloucestershire, Somerset, Cornwall and Devon, and contents four world heritage sites! This part of the country is famed for its historic towns, rolling countryside, and areas of natural beauty – no wonder it’s a popular spot for weddings!

Further Reading: If you’re looking to get married in Bristol and the South West, browse our selection of venues here

Weddings in The South West

(Data has been gathered from the office of national statistics)

In the last statistical year, there were 27,923 marriages in the South West of England.

10 Years of Weddings in The South West

On average, there are 4.3 marriages per 1000 people in England, in the South West, this figure jumps to 5.3.

Wedding Popularity in The South West

This makes The South West the most popular region to marry in England, with 21% more weddings than average.

The most popular place to marry in the South West is Bath & North East Somerset, with 7.07 marriages per thousand inhabitants (compared to the English average of 4.3). The least popular area is Swindon.

This is most likely down to Bath’s stunning architecture and large selection of beautiful wedding venues.

Wedding Ceremonies in The South West

South West England conducts 2% less civil ceremonies then the English Average, suggesting that this area of the country is slightly more religious.

South West Marriage Trends

The South West has a 2.4% higher population of married couples living in the area, and 3.5% less single people.

Marriage Demographics in The South West

The South West’s lower than average single population can be explained by the fact that this area is home to less young people than the average English region. The South West has a higher than average percentage of people aged 47+, which explains the raised percentage of married couples!

Population Density of The South West

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Weddings in Somerset 2013 – Statistics

Somerset

Following the success of the English Wedding Infographic we released earlier this year, here at The Wedding Secret we’ve been working through statistics from our local areas, next up – Somerset!

A rural county bordering Bristol, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Devon, Somerset is famed for its beautiful countryside, picturesque towns, rolling hills and scenic landscapes – and that’s probably why so many couples choose to marry here!

Further Reading: If you’re looking to get married in Somerset, browse our selection of venues here

Weddings in Somerset

(Data has been gathered from the office of national statistics)

Here at The Wedding Secret, we’ve found out that in the last statistical year, there were 3,834 marriages in Somerset.

10 Years of Weddings in Somerset

In the last statistical year, there were 4.3 marriages per thousand people in England, compared to 5.2 marriages per thousand people in Somerset!

Wedding Popularity in Somerset

This makes Somerset 20% more popular than the average English county, and the 24th most popular area to marry (out of 119)!

These statistics suggests that Somerset is such a desirable location to tie the knot, couples are travelling from all around the country to get married here!

Wedding Ceremonies in Somerset

Somerset has 5% less civil ceremonies than other parts of the country, implying either that couples in this area are slightly more religious, or perhaps Somerset has a larger selection of religious venues.

Somerset Marriage Trends

The graph above seems to explain these contrasting figures. On average, Somerset has less young people living in the area, which would explain the low single population. Similarly, the county has a lot more people aged 47+ living in the area, which would explain the high percentage of married couples – people move to Somerset to settle down!

Population Density of Somerset

As demonstrated above, although Somerset is one of the most populated counties, it is one of the least densely populated (106th out of 119) – a reflection of the vast amount of beautiful countryside that surrounds this part of the country!

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