Popularity of religious marriages falling in North Lincolnshire,
Fewer couples are choosing to tie the knot in a church, synagogue or other religious venue in North Lincolnshire, new figures reveal.
For the first time ever, across England and Wales, less than a quarter of marriages were religious ceremonies.
In North Lincolnshire, there were 181 religious weddings in 2016, compared with 236 five years earlier, according to the latest Office for National Statistics data. That's a drop of 23% since 2011.
Despite the downward trend, religious weddings are more popular in North Lincolnshire than the rest of the country.
In England, a quarter of marriages were held in religious venues, while in North Lincolnshire the proportion was 29%. These figures only include opposite-sex marriages.
Across England and Wales, three in four religious weddings were Anglican, while a further 11% were Catholic. Non-Christian ceremonies only amounted to 4% of the total.
The Canon Sandra Millar, who heads the Church of England's work on weddings, says many couples might think they have to be regular parishioners to get married in a church. She said: "We want to reassure couples that they don’t have to be churchgoers to have a church wedding.
"They don’t need to be christened, and we welcome couples who already have children.
"We’re working hard to encourage couples to ‘just ask’ at a church about getting married and all the creative possibilities that there are for their service."
In 2016, 646 couples got married in North Lincolnshire a similar number to 2011.
Across England, the number of marriages has remained steady over the last five years, with 236,238 in 2016. Of the weddings held in North Lincolnshire, only 2.9% were between same-sex couples – seven between men and 12 between women. That's a 73% increase compared with 2015, the first year same-sex marriages were recorded.
The data does not include same-sex civil partnerships which were converted into a marriages.
Kanak Ghosh, from the ONS, said: “Marriage rates remain at historical lows despite a small increase in the number of people who got married in 2016."