Belfast Telegraph

Irish bide time before getting wed

Irish people are getting married almost 10 years older than their parents did in the 1970s, new figures show.

The average groom last year was 35 years old and was marrying a bride two years his junior, aged 33.

Back in 1977, when couples were tying the knot younger than ever, newly-wed husbands were most likely 26 years old and their wives were on average 24.

The latest records from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also show differences in the ages people get married around the country.

In Monaghan, it appears, love struck pairs can not wait as long as others to get hitched, with grooms aged on average 33 and brides aged 31.

But there is apparently no such rush in Co Waterford, where new husbands are most likely 37 years, and their wives 34.

And depending on what part of the country you live in, you are more or less likely to choose local when it comes to the love of your life.

In Donegal, it seems, they do not need to travel far to meet their match, with more than 92% of grooms picking a bride from the same county.

However, less than three quarters (74%) of new husbands in Leitrim settle down with a fellow county-woman.

The report shows religious ceremonies still account for almost seven in 10 weddings (68%) in Ireland, the vast majority of these in Catholic churches.

But well over a quarter of couples (28%) now opt for civil marriage ceremonies.

In recent years, Humanist ceremonies in particular have risen in popularity, now making up more than 4% of all marriages last year.

A majority of older brides and grooms, aged over 45, get wed in a civil marriage ceremony.

Nearly nine in 10 (88%) of all marriages are the first time both the bride and groom have taken the plunge.

But nearly 2,500 weddings last year involved at least one divorcee. The number of divorces granted last year increased by nearly 3%.

The CSO report shows 392 gay couples tied the knot in a civil partnership ceremony last year.

More than three quarters of the same-sex unions were in Leinster, the vast majority of which were in Dublin.

There were no civil partnerships in either Donegal or Monaghan last year.

Civil partnerships give same-sex couples some legal recognition of their relationship.

A referendum is being held on May 22 on whether to extend full civil marriage rights to gay partners.

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