Our specialist divorce senior lawyer, Lucinda Connell, of Major Family Law, the best divorce and family law specialists in the North and South East, comments:

The Office for National Statistics has released statistics relating to marriages in England and Wales in 2013 and the figures reveal the first annual decline since 2009. In 2013, there were 240,854 marriages which is a decrease of 8.6% compared with 2012.

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 figures in 2012.

More than 75% of brides and grooms marrying in 2013 were marrying for their first (and hopefully last) time. Those aged 65 and over were more likely to marry in 2013 compared with 2003, with the greatest increase among women. The mean average 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.”