Irish couples are waiting longer than ever before to tie the knot.
New statistics from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office reveal that the average age of Irish brides is now 32.6, while Irish grooms are 34.7-years-old.
These figures, for 2012, represent a notable increase from the average ages recorded in 2004: 30.9 for women and 33 for men.
While this does not mean that marriage is on the decline in Ireland (there are an average of 20,000 Irish marriages and 600 civil partnerships recorded each year) Irish women and men are waiting longer than their counterparts in other European countries, including Scandinavia, Germany and Poland.
In the US, the trend is still for people to get married 20s, with 2013 figures showing the average age for men is 29, and for women, 27.
While many Irish parents are undoubtedly eager to see their grown children settle down, they should not be alarmed by the fact that Irish adults are waiting longer.
Peter Lunn of the Economic and Social Research Institute explained to the Irish Independent that these figures are perfectly in keeping with a trend in delayed marriages that has been growing since the 1970s.
The main reason behind this trend, he said, is co-habitation, which has grown significantly in popularity since the 1990s, as conservative or religious taboos against couples living together before marriage have gradually fizzled out.
“Up to the age of 28, Irish adults are more likely to be co-habiting than married,” he said.
Other factors include: increased selectivity and deliberation in finding a partner, wider access to birth control, a greater focus on education and career planning, the trend towards having smaller families, and the increased acceptance towards having children outside of marriage.
Another potential influence is the skyrocketing cost of Irish weddings, which were recently reported to average between $26,000 and $32,000.
On the other hand, maybe it's the amount of planning that must go into all those viral Irish wedding videos!
If you are getting ready to tie the knot, check out these old Irish wedding traditions for inspiration.
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