THE NUMBER of marriages in Scotland has hit a 19-year high, but the birth rate has fallen, according to the latest figures.
• 9,155 marriages between April and June - up by over 500 on last year
• Birth rate down 2.5% on same period last year
A total of 9,155 couples tied the knot between April and June, up by more than 500 on the same time last year.
The six per cent rise in weddings has led to the highest number in marriages in any three-month period since 1993.
The statistics from the Registrar General for Scotland also revealed a 2.5 per cent drop in the number of births and 5.6 per increase in deaths.
There was also a rise in the number of civil partnerships, with more women tying the knot than men. There were 138 same-sex marriages, four more than the same period last year.
Marriage experts said more Scots were saying “I do” because weddings were becoming more affordable than ever with options available to suit every budget and a wide range of faith and non-religious services.
Juliet Wilson, a registered celebrant with the Humanist Society of Scotland, also told how she believed the rise was due to the wider availability of non-religious ceremonies as well as the increased affordability of venues.
She said: “More than ever before, couples have a huge choice in where they wed, be that in a church, back gardens, nightclub or by the sea.
“The recession has led to huge discounts for brides and grooms, with more affordable midweek dates and off-peak options to suit everybody’s pockets.”
Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, described the increase in marriages as “fabulous”.
She said: “How fantastic that more couples feel able to embark on such on extraordinary adventure together.”
One in six of all marriages took place in Dumfries and Galloway, home to the country’s wedding capital of Gretna Green. The next top wedding spots were Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Highlands.
Alister Lynn, owner of the Gretna Wedding Bureau, told how 2012 was set to be his busiest on record. Around 1,700 couples are expected to marry at his famous venue, 200 more than last year. He said: “Anyone who says romance is dead in Scotland is way off the mark, they just have to look at what is going here in Gretna Green.”
As is an ongoing trend, slightly more boys were born than girls. A total of 14,344 babies were born in the three month period, compared to 14,708 at the same time in 2011.
There were rises in both cancer and stroke deaths, up 2.8 and two per cent respectively. This took cancer deaths for the three months to 3,943 and deaths by stroke to 1,116. The figures showed a drop in the number of people dying from coronary heart disease, down 3.8 per cent, to a total of 1,840.
There were 13,700 deaths registered in Scotland which Registrar General for Scotland, George MacKenzie, said was “around the same level” as those for the second quarters of all the years from 1999 onwards.