Friday 30 September 2016

DIY weddings and humanist ceremonies are all the rage for Irish weddings

Jane O'Faherty

Published 23/07/2016 | 02:30

Humanist ceremonies, DIY receptions and literally ‘tying the knot’ are the big trends in Irish marriages. Stock photo
Humanist ceremonies, DIY receptions and literally ‘tying the knot’ are the big trends in Irish marriages. Stock photo

Humanist ceremonies, DIY receptions and literally 'tying the knot' are the big trends in Irish marriages, as the high season for weddings approaches.

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While CSO statistics note the number of marriages in Ireland remained relatively stable last year, the most striking change was the number of humanist weddings taking place here.

Statistician Caroline Hennessy said humanist ceremonies jumped from 822 in 2014 to 1,294 in 2015.

"Over 1,000 couples got married for the first time in a humanist ceremony in 2015," she told the Irish Independent.

The non-religious ceremonies were first legally recognised in Ireland in 2013.

Prospective brides and grooms are also taking their time before walking down the aisle.

The average age of grooms in 2015 was around 35, while the average age of a bride reached an all-time high of 33.

Some 22,025 marriages were recorded in Ireland in 2015, just 20 less than in 2014.

August remained the most popular month for marriages in 2015, while Fridays and Saturdays were the most popular days of the week.

Around 57pc of those marriages were Roman Catholic ceremonies, staying relatively in line with previous years.

However, the Archdiocese of Dublin saw a fall-off of ceremonies from 2,217 in 2014 to 1,972 in 2015.

Ms Hennessy said figures on the marriage register have remained almost the same since the 19th century. But there have been some adjustments as recently as 2014, with the addition of both same-sex marriages and humanist ceremonies.

"Next year, we will record same-sex marriages with heterosexual marriages," she said, adding that 92 same-sex marriages had been counted in 2015.

Siobhan Walls, a Dublin-based humanist celebrant, has been officiating weddings all over Ireland since 2014.

"I'm booked out from April to September next year," she said. "I have people looking for weddings in 2018 already."

As part of her duties as a celebrant, Siobhan liaises with the couple in planning each detail of the ceremony, and its running order.

"It's non-religious, but each ceremony has elements like readings, music and rituals."

While 'DIY weddings' are rising in popularity, wedding planners remain in demand.

Collette O'Leary of Elegant Engagements says she is already taking bookings for 2020.

While she notes weddings have become more tasteful since the recession, she says DIY wedding trends are on the way out. "I won't miss the craze for vintage bicycles and Dolmio jam jars," she said.

"The one thing I don't want is for the bride to be up all night wrapping ornaments before her wedding, and then being completely exhausted."

However, she believes that years of thrift have toned down the "vulgar spending" once associated with Celtic Tiger-era weddings.

She has noticed an increase in new ceremonial trends, such as unity candles and hand-fasting, a Celtic tradition where the couple's hands are tied together.

Ms O'Leary also pointed out the popularity of "ring-warming", a Russian tradition that has appeared at Irish weddings. "The bride and groom pass around the rings to each group of family and friends, and every guest takes the ring and makes a wish for the couple. It's a really beautiful ritual," she said.

The same-sex marriage referendum has also boosted the wedding industry.

Marian Purcell, who has run the Gay Weddings Ireland website for a number of years, said she was "most definitely" busier after the May 2015 vote.

One huge trend Ms Purcell has seen is an increasing number of same-sex couples travelling to Ireland for their nuptials.

"We have a lot of American couples coming over with about 70 guests," she told the Irish Independent. "These are massive weddings, with all of the family coming as well."

Ms Purcell is set to host a same-sex marriage wedding event at the Crown Plaza in Blanchardstown, Dublin, on August 14.

"We expect about 50 equality vendors, and close to 400 attendees," she said.

Irish Independent

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