The number of weddings taking place in the Church of England has seen its biggest annual increase for a decade.
According to the 2010 statistics released last week, marriages in the Church of England increased by four per cent to 54,700.
A Church of England spokesman attributed the growth to “extensive work by the Weddings Project” – a comprehensive online guide to Church weddings including legal aspects, ceremony vows and planner.
He also noted that the introduction of the 2008 Marriage Measure – which made it easier for people to get married in the Church – had also helped.
Commenting on the figures the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, said: “It’s encouraging that making it easier in law to have a church wedding – while investing in research and development to help care for couples and guests – has started to bear fruit.”
Andrew Rumsey, the vicar of St Mary’s church in Oxted, told the Guardian: “I’ve been really surprised how many young couples are wanting to be married in church.”
According to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics, only 231,490 couples wed in England and Wales during 2009, the lowest number since 1895.
Following the success of the Royal wedding between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey in April, it is expected 2011 figures for ceremonies in the established Church will increase again.
Debbie Codd, acting editor of Wedding magazine, said: “Seeing the royal wedding, its fabulous setting and all the paraphernalia that goes with a religious ceremony, makes people think it would be lovely to do the same.
“It reminds people who aren’t perhaps regular churchgoers of what it is actually like to be in church. There’s something about it that feels a bit more solemn and sincere.”