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Number of marriages in 2013 fell by 8%

First annual decline since 2009

The Office for National Statistics has released statistics relating to marriages in England and Wales in 2013.

There were 240,854 marriages in 2013, a decrease of 8.6% compared with 2012 and the first decline since 2009.

Civil ceremonies accounted for 72% of all marriages in 2013. Religious ceremonies decreased by 14% while civil ceremonies declined by 6% in 2013, compared with 2012.

Over three-quarters of brides and grooms marrying in 2013 were marrying for the first time. Those aged 65 and over were more likely to marry in 2013 compared with 2003, with the greatest increase among women. The mean age at marriage was 36.7 years for men and 34.3 years for women in 2013, a small increase compared with 2012.

Elizabeth McLaren, at the Vital Statistics Outputs Branch of ONS, said:

"The fall could indicate the continuation of the long-term decline in marriages since 1972 or could be due to couples choosing to postpone their marriage to avoid the number 13 which is perceived as unlucky by many cultures."

The statistics are here.