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Northern Ireland women are waiting until I'm 30 to wed

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 03/07/2015

Tracey Hall on her wedding day last year with husband Stefan Rodgers
Tracey Hall on her wedding day last year with husband Stefan Rodgers

The average age of first-time brides in Northern Ireland has reached 30 for the first time, according to a new report.

Official figures also showed one marriage takes place every hour on average here, with August being the most popular month for weddings.

The average age for grooms is 34.1 years, with brides being slightly younger with an average age of 32.

For first marriages, the average age of brides is now 30 for the first time on record.

Style Academy director Tracey Hall (47) married gym owner Stefan Rodgers (41) in April 2014 at Mount Merrion Parish Church.

The Belfast businesswoman was 46 when she tied the knot and told the Belfast Telegraph she believed that the average age of first-time brides will rise further in future years.

"I'm not surprised by the report," she said.

"I'm still shocked when someone in their 20s says they're getting married, as it is very young.

"I think your adulthood has really just begun then.

"The thought of getting married after uni would have been inconceivable to me." Tracey explained that she never dreamed of being a bride and had not met the right person until Stefan.

"I started my agency in 1990 so it became my baby and I ate, slept and drank the agency for the first six years," she said.

"I threw myself into it completely and relationships became second."

She added: "I was never a girly-girl.

"I didn't have the big wedding dream or planned to be married with kids by any age."

Some of the key findings from the new report

  • 8,550 marriages were registered — roughly one every hour of the year.
  • 110 civil partnerships were registered (47 male and 63 female partnerships), 10 more than in 2013.
  • 2,455 divorces and 11 civil partnership dissolutions were granted, with non-cohabitation remaining the most common reason for separation.
  • In the year to June 30, 2014, the resident population of Northern Ireland rose by 10,800 people to 1,840,500.
  • Of the 24,394 births (12,543 males and 11,851 females) registered, 43% occurred outside of marriage.
  • Births to teenage mothers reached a new record low of 839, while births to mothers aged 35 years and over continued to rise.
  • 81 stillbirths were registered, 26% fewer than in 2013.
  • Of the 14,678 deaths, the leading cause of death was cancer (29%), followed by circulatory disease (25%).
  • Almost two out of every three deaths were of people aged 75 or over.

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