Many people dream of the day they exchange wedding rings – after all, it's meant to be the happiest day of your life, representing love, security and family. But figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that the number of couples exchanging wedding rings is waning. In March 2006, marriage rates fell to their lowest level on record.
Wedding Rings - 1862 to 2006The number of wedding rings exchanged has fallen to its lowest levels since records began in 1862. The Office of National Statistics revealed:
- In 2006, 22.8 men per 1,000 unmarried men aged 16 and over got married, down from 24.5 in 2005.
- In 2006 the percentage of women exchanging wedding rings was 20.5 per 1,000 unmarried women aged 16 and over, down from 21.9 in 2005.
- In 2006, the number of marriages fell by 4%, compared with the previous year.
- In 1895 more wedding rings were exchanged than in 2006 with 228,204 weddings.
- More than three-fifths (61%) of all marriages in 2006 were the first for both parties, while remarriages for both parties accounted for just under one fifth (18%).
- First marriages have fallen by more than one third (37%) since 1981, while remarriages have fallen by a quarter.
Wedding Rings Exchanged Much Later
The figures also showed that more couples were waiting longer until they got married. The average age men invested in wedding rings and got hitched was 36.4 years in 2006, five years older than the average groom's age in 1991. For women, the average age they exchanged wedding rings with their partner was 33.7 in 2006 – an increase of just over 4.5 years since 1991.