By Sharon Labi – The Sunday Telegraph
 
COUPLES are shunning religious wedding ceremonies in record numbers and going down the civil path to marriage to gain control and avoid pre-marital counselling.

Religious weddings outnumbered civil ceremonies until 2001 when they reached a 50-50 split.

The number of civil marriages has steadily risen to hit a high last year, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

New NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages figures show celebrants performed 60.6 per cent of ceremonies in 2008, compared to 39.4 per cent for religious weddings.

Social researchers say the trend is driven by second and subsequent marriages, older brides and grooms, along with the decline of religious observance in Australia and couples’ desire for greater freedom in designing their ceremony.

“Most churches have a reasonably non-negotiable policy of having to have some pre-marriage counselling or be involved in some sort of premarital course,” demographer Mark McCrindle said. “In a commitment-free era that is one of the limitations.”
 
Younger generations also had little connection with religious institutions and civil celebrants were marketing themselves better, he said.

Despite 70 per cent of Australians ticking an affiliation with a particular religion in the Census, the country was less religious than in the past, social researcher David Chalke said.

“In the old days civil weddings used to mean she wore a cocktail frock and he wore a suit whereas a church wedding was the big white dress wedding, but that’s not the case now,” he said. There was also a growing trend towards more outdoor weddings.

“Increasingly, we’ll find the only people who get married in a church are those who have a personal connection with that church, whether it’s because they go there or they were christened there or their parents went there,” Mr McCrindle said.

Jewish and Muslim couples were more likely to have religious ceremonies.

Churches often frowned upon excesses and couples found the venues too constraining, Mr Chalke said.

“People want to craft their own wedding and craft their own vows. If you don’t want to go through the love-honour-and-obey routine you’re more likely to end up with a civil wedding,” Mr Crindle added.

Cost did not appear to be a factor, as the price of a wedding at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney starts at $1000. A civil wedding usually requires hiring a venue celebrants charge about $600.

In 1999, 52.3 per cent of marriages were religious. By 2002, the figure had fallen to 49.2 per cent, in 2005 it was 45.5 per cent and last year it was 39.4 per cent.

Civil celebrant Elizabeth Trevan said business was booming, adding: “It gives them a lot more freedom, they’re very personalised and it’s about the couple, not about anyone else or about the religious traditions.”

Some couples included religious symbolism to keep their parents happy and pay homage to their heritage.

Sky News presenter Nicole Webb married James Walkden yesterday at St John’s Anglican Church, Kirribilli.

“We’re not overly religious but James and I thought it was more formal getting married in a church,” Ms Webb said. “While we both love the outdoors, we thought a church would be more real, more symbolic.”


0 Responses to “Exchanging Vows As Couples Shun Religion In Favour Of Civil Ceremonies”

  1. No Comments

Leave a Reply





Youtube Highlights

Archives

3K2 theme by Hakan Aydin