Lockdown’s missing marriages

Marriage Foundation has responded to the latest ONS marriage statistics showing around 115,000 missing weddings, even though marriage rates have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.

Its’ highly respected Research Director, Harry Benson, told parliament news.co.uk – “The latest figures for marriages in England & Wales in 2021 and 2022 were released last week by the Office for National Statistics.

“These welcome figures show a significant rebound from the 61 per cent fall in 2020 including the highest number of same sex marriages. However, Britain’s lockdown policies led the biggest drop in weddings in Europe. By comparison, our neighbouring countries in Western Europe saw a drop of just one quarter.

“Some of those whose wedding plans were prevented in 2020 clearly carried forward those plans into 2021 and 2022.

“Although ONS report that marriage rates have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, there remains a significant shortfall over the combined three-year period 2020-2022 compared to 2019.

“In total, we are still missing some 115,000 weddings, which equates to more than half an entire year’s worth of cancelled marriages.

“What has happened to these couples? Have they benefitted by saving money? Did they marry overseas instead and so aren’t counted in the figures? How secure do they feel about their future having not been able to express their commitment in front of family and friends?

“Perhaps it’s not surprising that half a year’s worth of couples have given up. The public messaging from our political class is that marriage doesn’t matter really – although most think it’s important for their own private lives. It’s now a decade since any cabinet minister mentioned marriage in a major speech. None of the three established parties have anything to say about marriage in their manifesto.

“Who will champion marriage in the next Parliament?”

Alistair Thompson

Alistair Thompson is the Director of Team Britannia PR and a journalist.