Record low proportion of the East Riding weddings held in religious venues

A record low proportion of couples in the East Riding are choosing to get married in a religious venue.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 10:30 am
Statistics show 498 weddings were conducted in a church, synagogue or other religious venue in 2017.

The UK’s largest humanist group said a national decline reflected couples increasingly wanting a ceremony that matches with their non-religious beliefs.

In the East Riding, 498 weddings were conducted in a church, synagogue or other religious venue in 2017, according to the latest Office for National Statistics data.

That means just 30% of ceremonies were religious – the lowest rate since records began in 2001.

That is down from the highest rate, 46%, in 2001.

The figures, which only include opposite-sex couples, show less than a quarter (23%) of weddings across England and Wales were religious in 2017.

Humanists UK said they already perform more than 1,000 non-legally recognised humanist weddings each year in England and Wales.

Chief executive Andrew Copson said: “The vast majority of people in England and Wales identify as non-religious and this is growing each year with no sign of changing so it’s not surprising that couples don’t look to religion to celebrate the most meaningful moments in their lives any more.

“Instead they want non-religious ceremonies that reflect their beliefs, their values, and their love.”

Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, said a church wedding is a unique occasion where time-honoured vows are exchanged in a “special and spiritual atmosphere”.

He said: “We know from research that many couples want this for their wedding day, whether they are regular churchgoers or not. I would like to reassure couples that they don’t have to be christened or confirmed, and we welcome couples who already have children – just ask.”