The number of couples opting for non-religious marriage ceremonies has reached an all-time high, according to the latest figures for 2016 just released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS reports that civil ceremonies are becoming more popular, and the figures for these have increased every year since 1992.

Under a quarter of all newlyweds opted for a religious ceremony in 2016, with most brides and grooms preferring a non-religious civil ceremony, such as a humanist one.

Couples are also older when they get married than in the past. In 2016, the average groom in an opposite-sex marriage was 37.9 years old, while the bride was 35.5 years old. For same-sex marriages, women married aged 37.4 while men wed at 40.8 years of age.

This may partly explain why the average spend on a wedding in the UK has increased. The figure in 2016 stood at £32,273, which meant that the rise from the previous year’s figure was a whopping 19%.

Some argue that weddings are becoming more of a social and secular occasion, as couples opt for a day that they feel is a true reflection of their personalities and partnership.

Engaged couples now tend to spend a lot of time and money on items for their big day that are unique to them, such as bespoke wedding stationery, personalised favours and handmade bridal jewellery.

According to the experts, it is a worthwhile investment. As Harry Benson of the Marriage Foundation says:

“The most successful relationships remain married ones.”