New figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that more people are getting married between the ages of 65 and 69.
The 65-69 age group saw the highest percentage increase in the number of marriages in 2012 than any other age group. The number of men aged 65-69 who got married jumped by 25 per cent and the number of women rose by 21 per cent.
The figures revealed that for most people these were second marriages. Only around one in ten 65-69 year-olds were single before marrying, two thirds were divorced and the rest widowed.
However, it seems it is not only the older generation who are falling back in love with marriage. The figures from the ONS also revealed that overall marriage numbers had increased by just over 5 per cent in 2012 across England and Wales. 262,2401 marriages were recorded in the year, the highest number since 2004.
The reasons why older people are choosing to tie the knot is not clear, however, marriage at an older age does bring some obvious advantages. For example, being married means that you can avoid a 40% inheritance tax for a surviving affluent partner who has cohabited for several decades.
Another reason might be that people are living longer and healthier lives than ever before and are keen to enjoy their later years. Falling in love and getting married may still hold the same allure for the over 65’s as it does for younger people.
However, marriage in later life can also present challenges. Adult children may have opinions about a parent’s new husband or wife, as well as about how the new marriage may affect their own inheritance.
Divorce later in life can prove to be particularly painful as it is more likely that one or both partners will be retired and have little or no earning capacity. This means that the wealthier party’s assets are at greater risk should they divorce and that any children may well lose out on inheritance.
9 facts about marriage from the 2012 ONS figures
There was one marriage every two minutes in 2012.
There was an increase in marriages in 2012, with 262,2401 taking place. This was a 5.3% increase from 2011 when there were 249,133.
Civil ceremonies accounted for 70% of all marriages in 2012. The proportion of marriages that were civil ceremonies first exceeded religious ceremonies in 1976.
60% (156,480) of marriages took place in approved premises such as hotels, stately homes and historic buildings.
67% (175,0401) of all marriages were first marriages for both partners.
15% of all marriages (38,320) were remarriages for both parties and 19% (48,8801) were to couples where only one partner had been married previously.
The greatest number of marriages were for men and women aged 25 to 29.
The mean age at marriage was 36.5 years for men and 34.0 years for women.
The largest percentage increase in the number of marriages was for men and women aged 65 to 69, rising by 25% and 21% respectively.