By Cate McCurry, PA
The number of marriages celebrated last year jumped by 81 per cent compared with 2020, new figures show.
But despite the increase to 17,217 marriages, the number of couples tying the knot remained 15 per cent lower than pre-pandemic 2019 rates.
The figures were released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in its Marriages 2021 report published on Friday.
Covid-19 restrictions had a huge impact on the number of couples getting married, with many forced to postpone their nuptials by a year.
The data was compiled from marriage registration forms of all marriages registered in Ireland in 2021.
It also shows that brides and grooms are getting older. The average age for brides was 35.4 years and 37.4 years for grooms in opposite-sex marriages.
The average age of both men and women in same-sex marriages was 40.1 years.
— Central Statistics Office Ireland (@CSOIreland) April 29, 2022
Roman Catholic marriage ceremonies were the most popular ceremonies for opposite-sex couples in 2021.
Friday was also the most popular day to get married for all couples.
The data shows August was the most popular month to wed for opposite-sex couples, while September was most favoured for same-sex ceremonies.
Gerard Doolan, a CSO statistician, said: “There were 17,217 marriages in Ireland in 2021, including 500 same-sex marriages. This equates to a crude [unadjusted] marriage rate of 3.4 per 1,000 population.
“While the number of marriages celebrated in 2021 increased by 81% from 2020, it was still down 15% from 2019 when there were 20,313 marriages, reflecting the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.
“The average age of men in an opposite-sex marriage was 37.4 years while the average age of men in a same-sex marriage was higher at 40.4 years.
“The average age of women in an opposite-sex marriage was 35.4 in 2021, while the comparable age for women in a same-sex marriage was 39.9 years.
“The most popular form of ceremony for opposite-sex couples was a Catholic ceremony (40 per cent), followed by a civil ceremony (34 per cent).”
The popularity of these two forms of ceremonies for opposite-sex couples has been in decline since 2014 however, when they accounted for 87 per cent of all marriage ceremonies.
A civil ceremony was the choice of 328 same-sex couples, at 66 per cent.
A humanist ceremony accounted for 8.3 per cent, or 1,394, of all opposite-sex marriages and 13.6 per cent, or 68, of all same-sex marriages in 2021.
Mr Doolan added: “With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, it’s no surprise to see the return of August and September as the most popular months for opposite-sex marriages and September and July for same-sex ceremonies.
“January was the least favoured month to tie the knot for all couples.”
Friday and Saturday continue to be the most popular days to tie the knot for opposite-sex couples, while Friday, followed by Thursday, were the most favoured days to wed for same-sex couples. These are unchanged from 2020 results.
Sundays and Tuesdays were the least popular days of the week to marry for all couples.