Why all the engagements?

Well, it seems 2010 was the year of the proposals (or as Jeffrey calls it “men joining the one knee club”) for many people in my and Jeffrey’s peer group. But I’ve been wondering what is making so many people want to get married recently. As far as I can work out, all of these people have been together anywhere between one and a half years and six years and range from age 24 to early 30s (I think).

If we look at a few external factors I imagine there are a fair few reasons people could come up with not to get married:

  • somewhere in the region of 58% of all marriages in England and Wales end in divorce
  • in 2008 there were 11.5 divorcing people per thousand married
  • weddings are expensive. In 2010 the average cost of a wedding was £21,000 (yes, you read that right – twenty one thousand British pounds)
  • there’s a recession on, unemployment is high, living is getting more expensive – with VAT now 20% and the CPI up to 3.7% the vast majority of us have taken a real term decrease in wages. All in all, life seems that little bit less stable
  • living together or having children out of wedlock is no longer frowned upon like it used to be. One example of this is from when Jeffrey told his friend Peter that he had some “big news”, asking Peter to guess what this might be. Peter’s first answer – “Sophie’s pregnant”
  • the popular belief that “we don’t need a ring and a piece of paper to prove how much we love and care about each other”

But maybe these factors are having the reverse effect:

  • the number of divorces decreased from 14 per thousand in 2004 to 11.5 in 2008 – are divorces getting more expensive? Or are people more sure when they do get married? or maybe this is affected by the fact that…
  • people are waiting longer and are older when they get married – in 2008 the mean age for never-married men and women getting married was 32.1 and 29.9 years respectively. An increase of about 3 years for men and women since 1998. Can you be more sure about where you are heading, and how you feel about someone having lived life a bit longer?
  • more often people are opting for smaller, lower key weddings which don’t cost the earth, breaking with the UK tradition of massive weddings for which you must save for years or rely on your parents to fund – e.g. me and Jeffrey – see other examples and tips for cheap nuptials here
  • in times of unease and uncertainty people look to those they love for support and stability (I’m speculating). Could getting married be seen as cementing your relationship and increasing your sense of stability?
  • times are hard meaning you need to save money wherever you can. Could people actually be responding to Cameron’s ridiculous reintroduction of the Married Couple’s Allowance? *

I would be very happy to hear why you are getting married, got married, or would like to get married in the future. Similarly, for those of you not interested in ever tieing the knot – why not?

But, to finish, here’s a little run down of all of our friends/colleagues tieing the knot either this year or next. Congratulations to you all. And I’m calling on some of you to share your experiences with the world via Sophie Kingo’s Getting Married:

Friends:

  • Kirsty and Mark (London)
  • Kirsty and Steve (Hull)
  • Vikki and Simon (Hull)
  • Ben and Karen (London)
  • Nicola and Tim (Bishop’s Stortford)
  • Lizzi and Dave (Hull)
  • Rob and Nicola (London)

Colleagues:

  • Jenni and her lucky fella (London) – follow her path to the marriage via Just Two Brides
  • Bethia and her man (London) – this coming Saturday!
  • Lucy and her fiance (London)

*note – I doubt it

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