Irish couples are personalising their weddings like never before.
They’re also older, more value-conscious and six times more likely to get married in a civil ceremony than a decade ago. So what’s it like to get married in 2010?
“Generally, couples are leaving it later to get married,” says Colette O’Loughlin of online wedding magazine, SimplyWeddings.com. “Co-habiting plays a significant role in that. If a couple is living together for a number of years, it doesn’t seem that important to get married... other reasons are financial. A partner may have lost their job, for example... or want to wait until they are more financially secure.”
In 1992, according to the Central Statistics Office, the average age of a bride and groom was 27.1 and 29 respectively. By 2006, that had risen to 31.2 and 33.2.
The biggest change of all, of course, is in the proportion of civil marriages taking place. That has increased from 6% (928) in 1996 to 23% (5,127) in 2006, according to the latest CSO figures - reflecting new civil registration law as much as a changing religious climate.
Since 2007, it has been possible for civil ceremonies to take place at HSE-approved “off-site” venues around the state, which today vary from Dublin Zoo to Dromoland Castle.
Then, of course, there’s the recession. “Couples would have spoken openly in the past (in some cases nearly boastfully) about the vast amount of money they were spending on their wedding,” says Colette O’Loughlin. “Very few mentioned the word ‘budget’.”
Now, she says, couples realise they don’t have to spend a fortune to have a fabulous day. “In fact, there’s never been a better time to get married. Hotels (who take the biggest chunk of your wedding budget) have revised their wedding packages. There are some great offers around.”