Waiting to wed: The average Irish groom is now 36 as couples leave it later to tie the knot
Grooms in Ireland are now the oldest on record, new statistics have revealed.
Couples are now waiting until later in life to tie the knot, according to the Central Statistics Office.
A breakdown of registered marriages throughout 2018 has found the average age of a bride is now 34.4 - and this rises to 36.4 years for a groom in opposite-sex marriages.
The age for grooms is now the oldest on record, according to the CSO.
The age for same-sex grooms was much higher at 40.1 years. The comparable age for women in a same-sex marriage was 38.7.
The CSO revealed that more than a quarter of opposite-sex couples opted for a civil marriage over the past year.
Humanist ceremonies are rising in popularity but a Roman Catholic ceremony is the prevailing popular choice for 49pc of opposite-sex marriages - or 10,027 couples.
However, the number of couples who have opted for marriage in a Roman Catholic church is falling significantly, down 2,894 from five years ago.
In 2018, religious ceremonies accounted for 61.2pc of all marriages - these included Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist, Jewish and Spiritualist Union of Ireland.
Civil marriage ceremonies accounted for almost two-thirds of opposite-sex marriages, or 62.8pc.
Unsurprisingly, the warmer months of June, July and August were the most popular for weddings, while the colder months of January and February were the least popular.
Friday and Saturday continue to be the most popular days to tie the knot for opposite-sex couples, while Friday was the most favoured day to wed for same-sex couples.
Sundays and Mondays remain the least popular days of the week to marry for all couples.
Within the past five years, the number of overall marriages has risen slightly - from 20,680 in 2013 to 21,053 in 2018.
But there are notable patterns in the type of ceremonies. In 2013, there were no Humanist marriages recorded but this had increased to 1,766 by 2018.
The number of civil marriages rose from 6,096 to 6,278, even though they dipped in popularity amongst opposite-sex couples.
This may be accounted for by the increase in popularity in Humanist Association and in Spiritualist Union of Ireland ceremonies.
Commenting on the report, CSO statistician Carol Anne Hennessy said: "There were 21,053 marriages in Ireland in 2018 including 664 same-sex marriages. This equates to a crude [unadjusted] marriage rate of 4.3 per 1,000 population.
"Although the average age of grooms in an opposite-sex marriage was at its highest to date at 36.4 years, the average age of men in a same-sex marriage was higher at 40.1 years.
"The average age of brides in an opposite-sex marriage was 34.4 in 2018, while the comparable age for women in a same-sex marriage was 38.7 years."