Published: 00:01, 14 April 2019
Fewer couples are choosing to marry in a church, synagogue or other religious venue in the Towns, new figures reveal.
In Medway, there were 145 religious weddings in 2016, compared with 178 five years earlier, according to the latest Office for National Statistics data.
That’s a drop of 19% since 2011.
And religious weddings in Medway are less popular than in the rest of the country.
In England, a quarter of marriages were held in religious venues, while in Medway 15% were.
The figures do not include same-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, the Church of England’s head of projects and developments, says many couples might think they have to be regular parishioners to get married in a church.
‘We want couples to know they don’t have to be churchgoers to have a church wedding’
She said: “We want to couples to know 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, 963 couples got married in Medway , 4% less than in 2011.
Across England, the number of marriages has remained steady over the last five years, with 236,238 in 2016.
Kanak Ghosh, from the ONS, said: “Marriage rates remain at historical lows.
“Most couples are preferring to do so with a civil ceremony and for the first time ever, less than a quarter of everyone who married had a religious ceremony.”
Of the weddings held in Medway, only 2.7% were between gay couples – nine between men and 17 between women.
That’s an 18% increase compared with 2015, the first year same-sex marriages were recorded after the law was changed in 2013.
Those figures do not include civil partnerships which were converted into a marriages.