How Irish love's young dream has become a bit middle-aged
IRISH people are putting off marriage and staying single longer than ever.
A new report reveals that while Irish people are still keen on marriage and civil partnership, we're also getting more and more cautious about when we tie the knot.
Brides now wait till they're an average of 32.6 years to get married, which is eight years older than they were back in 1977.
And for grooms it's a similar picture as they're now 34.7 years old on average, up from just 26.2 in 1977.
However, the tradition of men marrying younger women remains as the bride was younger in almost two-thirds of marriages.
There were fewer than 250 teenage brides, and this included three aged 16 or under, 21 aged 17 and 117 aged 18, the Central Statistics Office report on Marriages and Civil Partnerships 2012 show.
Around a quarter of marriages are between men and women in the same type of work, although professionals are twice as likely to marry each other as most other occupational groups.
Marriage is increasingly popular as there were some 20,713 of them registered in 2012, up over 4pc on the previous year.
The number of divorces, meanwhile, rose by 3pc to 2,892.
That meant the marriage rate rose slightly to 4.5 per 1,000 people, although it's down on its Celtic Tiger high of 5.2 per 1,000 people.
We're now middle of the European league for marriage, on a par with Britain, but well behind Cyprus, Lithuania and Malta where the marriage rates are significantly higher.
There were 429 civil partnerships in 2012, with 263 of these between men, and 166 involving women.
More than half of these same-sex couples lived in the greater Dublin area, while Cork county accounted for 7pc of all civil partnerships registered.
By contrast, there wasn't a single civil partnership registered in Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon or Sligo in 2012.
Same-sex partners were typically older than newly married couples, with an average age of 41.6 years, while 7pc of them were divorced.
Most people still choose to get married on a Friday or Saturday, with Sunday only chosen by 1pc of couples.
And August was the most popular month for marriage with 3,046 couples getting married then, seven times as many as tied the knot in January.
The CSO was even able to pinpoint Saturday, August 4, as the most popular date for marriage in 2012 closely followed by Saturday, June 2.
Over 500 couples tied the knot on those two dates alone, suggesting you'd better book early if you want to marry on a summer bank holiday weekend.
Catholic weddings remain the most popular choice of ceremony chosen by 65pc of couples followed by civil ceremonies which were chosen by 28pc of couples.
However, both those options fell slightly in 2012, whereas the number of "other religious" ceremonies doubled to 883 since the previous year, and is 30 times higher than it was a decade ago.