People are waiting much longer to get married now than they did forty years ago with just 14% of brides under the age of 25
- Around 80 per cent of brides in 1970 were younger than 25 years old
- But by 2012, this figure had fallen to just 14 per cent
- Numbers of grooms aged under 25 fell by more than 90% in same period
- Teenage girls tying the knot plummet from 60,000 to 3,000 since the 1980s
- More than half of 20-year-old men and women will never marry, say experts
The young bride blushing as she walks up the aisle has become an endangered rarity, an official analysis said today.
It said that fewer than one in seven women are now younger than 25 on their wedding day.
The disappearance of the young bride has come as millions of women choose to cohabit with a partner rather than marry, and at a time when those who do choose to marry are more often experienced women in their 30s and older rather than shy youngsters.
The numbers of under-25s getting married has dropped by nearly 80 per cent in the last forty years (file picture)
The shift away from early marriage was highlighted by the Office for National Statistics in a snapshot study of the lives of young people.
In 2012, the analysis said, only 14 per cent of brides were aged under 25, fewer than a fifth of the share of young brides in the late 1960s. The proportion of brides under the age of 25 was running at close to 80 per cent between 1965 and 1970.
Since then the face of marriage has changed as young women have seized new opportunities for education and careers, and as expectations that they will marry have faded away.
The shift has meant the teenage bride is almost entirely extinct. In the early 1980s more than 60,000 teenage girls went to the altar or to the register office – by 2011 the number had fallen to fewer than 3,000.
The fading of the importance of marriage has also meant the end of the ‘shotgun wedding’, in which parents pressurised a teenage couple to marry, usually following the discovery of a pregnancy.
Overall, ONS figures show, there were just over 37,000 brides under 25 in England and Wales in 2011, a year in which there were nearly 250,000 weddings.
Among these, fewer than a third actually walk down the aisle. Brides who have church weddings are outnumbered twice over by those who choose a more modern style of wedding in ‘approved premises’ such as stately homes, hotels or football ground hospitality suites.
The Marriage Foundation think tank said the figures mean many young men and women will never marry, with fewer than half of current