As society moves so do our traditions and priorities
As society moves, our traditions, fashion, trends and ideas move with it. This article will look at whether the age of the UK woman when she marries has changed over time and if so why?
After World War II, the UK along with many other Western Countries saw a huge increase in the number of weddings and babies (the baby boom). Many service men coming home from the war were eager to marry their loved one that had waited for them whilst they were away. In this era, it was common for women as young as 16 to marry but over time society and women’s priorities have changed.
Since 1981 there has been a rapid decrease in the number of women marrying between the ages of 16 and 19. In 1981, there was a total of 63,343 women between the age of 16 and 19 that married compared to 2009 figures of just 3,106. The huge decrease in numbers is evident but what caused this change?
Recent figures from the ONS show that the average age at which UK women marry has climbed from 29.9 years in 2008 to 30 years in 2009. As the figures illustrate, the average age in which women marry has been consistently increasing in recent years. In 1981 the average age of a Bride was 23.1, this then crept to 25.5 in 1991 and 30 years in 2009.
In correlation with the figures, Lady Diana was just 20 years old when she married Prince Charles in 1981 and Catherine Middleton was 29 when she married Prince William in 2011, suggesting that the Royals are more reflective of British social trends than some may like to admit.
Society has moved on and it is now common for couples to cohabit before entering into marriage, both women and men want to be sure they know what their life will be like living with their partner before getting married. Unlike in the 50’s to early 70’s, it is no longer unacceptable to have children out of wedlock, quite the opposite in recent years. People in their 20’s are getting an education, moving away and finding independence. These changes in the makeup and priorities of society all contribute to the average age of a Bride being slightly older than 30 years ago.