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Average age to get married reaches record high

Brides and grooms are waiting longer and longer to get married, with new data from the Central Statistics Office showing the average age of those getting married reached a record high last year.

The CSO figures show that the number of wedding ceremonies fell slightly last year, that just under half were Roman Catholic ceremonies, and that couples still prefer the summer months and a Friday or Saturday to tie the knot.

One major finding is that the average age of grooms and brides in 2018 was 36.4 years and 34.4 years, respectively - both a record high.

The groom was older than the bride in 62.5% of marriages and while Monaghan had the youngest average age - 34.5 for grooms and 32.5 years for brides - Wicklow had the oldest couples walking down the aisle, at 38.3 years for grooms and 36.3 years for brides.

At the extreme ends of the age spectrum, 230 people aged under 20 got married last year, while 760 people aged 60 or above got hitched. There were 0.5 marriages per 1,000 males last year aged 16-19, while there were 1.2 marriages per 1,000 females in the same age category.

There were 21,053 marriages last year, almost 1,000 fewer than in 2017, and while 87.2% of opposite-sex marriages were the first for both the groom and bride, 2,440 marriages involving at least one divorced person, while in 568 marriages both parties were divorced.

There were no civil partnership ceremonies last year as it was superseded by same-sex marriage, of which there were 664 ceremonies last year. Most were previously single but 9.9% were previous civil partners and 3.7% were divorced.

The figures also show that 12.7% marriages involved both the bride and groom living outside the State before marriage, while just over 23% of all marriages involved the bride and groom being of the same socio-economic group.

More than 61% of marriages last year involved a religious ceremony, and just under 50% were in the Catholic faith, while the Spiritualist Union of Ireland performed 6.8% of ceremonies. Civil marriages accounted for almost 30% of marriages while 9% of couples had Humanist ceremonies. Civil marriage ceremonies accounted for almost two-thirds (62.8%) of same-sex marriages

As for when to get married, August was once again the most popular month, followed by July, with January the least popular. Fridays and Saturdays were most likely to be picked as the day of the ceremony, while Sundays and Mondays were least popular. Saturday 4 August was the single most popular date for weddings last year.

The latest figures mean that Ireland currently ranks 18th when it comes to marriage rates across the EU, well behind leading countries such as Lithuania and Romania.