THE number of people getting married in Scotland has reached its highest level in four years, figures show.
The statistics from the Registrar General for Scotland revealed that 3,255 couples got hitched during the first three months of this year – the highest number since the first quarter of 2008 and a four per cent rise on same time last year.
The figures highlighted a rise in the number of births and a drop in the number of civil partnerships.
They also showed a fall in the number of deaths caused by Scotland’s biggest health killers: cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Last night, marriage experts welcomed the growing number of couples choosing to tie the knot, claiming it showed Scots were romantics at heart and that Scotland remains a popular place to wed.
A sixth of all Scotland’s marriages took place in Dumfries and Galloway – home to Scotland’s wedding capital, Gretna Green.
Other top spots include Edinburgh, with 377 marriages, Glasgow, with 369, and the Highlands, where 163 couples chose to marry.
Alister Lynn, owner of the Gretna Wedding Bureau, described his business as “booming”, with more love-struck couples exchanging vows at his four wedding venues than before.
He said: “This year looks like it is going to be one of our busiest ever – we expect to hold about 1,700 weddings. This is 200 more than last year.
“We have couples from all over the world now. We still get 16-year-old runaways but it is very much a mixed bag when it comes to ages. We have every age, up to people in their 90s.
“We had a couple very recently who had got married for the third time – to each other. Anyone who says romance is dead in Scotland is way off the mark.”
Juliet Wilson, a registered celebrant with the Humanist Society of Scotland, believes the rise is due to the wider availability of non-religious ceremonies and the increased affordability of venues.
She said: “For every ceremony I do, I turn down about three. That is how popular marriages are. People now have a huge choice in where they wed, from churches and hotels to their back gardens or even a nightclub.
“The recession has led to huge discounts for brides and grooms, with more affordable midweek dates and off-peak options to be had.”