More Couples Are Tying the Knot

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN PRYNN

THE number of people getting married has risen for the second year in succession.

There were 267,700 weddings in England and Wales in 2003, 4.7 per cent higher than the previous year, according to official figures published today.

The total is well up from the all-time low of 249,227 in 2001 and the highest since 2000, said the Office for National Statistics.

However, the figures also reveal that couples are getting married later than ever before.

The average age at which people marry for the first time passed the 30 mark in 2003, they show.

For men the age was 31.2 and for women 28.9, the highest ever recorded. In 1971 the same figures were 24.6 for men and 22.6 for women.

The recovery in marriage comes after decades of decline.

The 2001 figure was the lowest since 1897 and led to predictions that the institution would be virtually extinct by 2030.

It is still far less popular than it was in the Forties and Fifties, when 400,000 weddings a year were typically recorded.

The all-time peak year was 1940, when hundreds of thousands of young couples married before husbands were sent to fight in the Second World War. …

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