The number of couples getting married in Derry is on the rise, new figures reveal.
Provisional figures just released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) reveal there were 527 marriages in Derry in 2011 with civil ceremonies accounting for almost one third (31%) of all marriages in the city last year.
In 2010, a total of 460 marriages took place in the city.
The latest figures further show that the average age of brides and grooms has come down for the first time since 2005.
In 2010 the average age rose to 35.5 years for a groom and for brides to 32.7 years.
But last year the average age for grooms stood at 34.4 years while the average age of brides fell to 32.3 years.
Across the North the average age for newlywed couples stands at 33.9 for a groom and 31.6 years for a bride.
The Guildhall hosted 53 marriages last year while the Beech Hill (19), the Belfray (17) and the Waterfoot 15) were among the most popular venues in Derry for civil marriages.
The figures further reveal that almost half, 48 per cent of local couples, were living together at the same address before getting married.
Eighty percent of of those who tied the knot in Derry last year were getting married for the first time.
The figures also show there were six civil partnerships in Derry last year with four male couples and two female couples exchanging their vows in the city.
Meanwhile the statistics further reveal 266 couples were divorced in Derry last year with 133 women filing for divorces and 133 men filing petitions.
Across the North the number of marriages registered in 2011 was 8,366, a rise on the 2010 total of 8156.
“In 2011, the marriage rate in Northern Ireland increased to 5.9 persons marrying per 1,000
population aged 16 and over, from 5.8 in 2010,” according to the NISRA.
“However, this still remains lower than the highest rate seen over the last thirty years of 9.2 persons per 1,000 population aged 16 and over in 1984.”