Civil ceremonies reach all time high in Ireland

One in five Irish couples now chooses a civil ceremony, according to the Central Statistics Office. This number is five times higher than 10 years ago, when only one out of 10 weddings was non religious.


Back in 1995, only one every 10 couples married in a registry office. In 2002, almost 18% of unions were civil, while in 1996 under 6% marriages were civil.


A total of 15,867 Catholic weddings took place in 2005 compared with 4,762 civil marriages. Civil marriages represented just over 22% of all marriages, more than five times the 1996 figure of 928.


Catholic ceremonies are still the most popular, even though the number of Church marriages has fallen as a proportion of all unions. The traditional way now accounts for 74% of marriages, as opposed to 90% in 1996.


The age of the newlyweds has also changed, with couples tying the knot later. Almost half of the brides are now over thirty. The average groom is now 33, whereas the bride is usually 31, both three years older than couples back in 1996.


The highest average age for grooms was in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, with 34.8 years, with the lowest average age of 31.7 years in County Monaghan. The highest average age for brides was also in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, with an average of 32.5 years, while the lowest average age was 29.2 years in County Cavan.