People are marrying later than ever before, the Office for National Statistics has reported.
In 2014 the average age for men getting married was 37, and for women just under 35 – a distinct increase from the previous year, when the figures were 36.7 for men and 34.6 for women. This continues a largely steady rise since the early 1970s. Back in 1974 the average age was just 28 for men (marrying women) and 26 for women (marrying men).
Meanwhile, the average age for same sex couples marrying is higher than for heterosexual unions: 39.5 for men and 36.9 for women. 2014 was the first year in which marriage became an option for same sex couples in England and Wales.
There were a total of 247,372 opposite sex marriages during 2014. That figure represents an increase of 2.7 per cent over the previous year but it was still more than six per cent less than the marriage peak in 2012.
Just 28 per cent of these unions were religious ceremonies, continuing a long-term decline. In 1964 nearly 70 per cent of all marriages were religious in nature, but this has been the minority choice since as long ago as 1992.
Reflecting its then recent introduction marriages, only 4,850 same sex marriages were held in 2014: about one in 46. The great majority of these were civil ceremonies: less than a quarter were held in religious venues.
Stowe Family Law Senior Partner Julian Hawkhead said the increase in the number of marriages, even if only modest, was reassuring given current political uncertainties and instability. The continuing increase average at which people marry was also worthy of note he continued.
“As a general rule, people who marry later in life will have established a career for themselves and accumulated assets in their own names which they will bring into their marriage. While this can provide greater financial security and stability for the families, it may also require better planning and protection through ensuring that prenuptial agreements are prepared where appropriate. Additionally, couples in every case need to have prepared Wills to determine how they wish to leave their assets.”