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Church weddings go up in Britain

The UK may seem like an increasingly secular nation, but figures released on Thursday show that, when it comes to marriage at least, the Church of England is still able to pack them in.

world Updated: Jan 28, 2012 01:30 IST

The UK may seem like an increasingly secular nation, but figures released on Thursday show that, when it comes to marriage at least, the Church of England is still able to pack them in.

The numbers show that weddings in the established church went up by 4% in 2010 to 54,700 compared with 52,730 in 2009 - the biggest annual increase in the past decade.

The church puts the rise down to successful implementation of its weddings project, which involved asking the public what they wanted from church weddings and briefing clergy on the findings. The project included the creation of a website, yourchurchwedding.org, designed to make planning ceremonies easier.

A number of high-profile weddings last year are likely to give the trend added momentum, with Debbie Codd, the acting editor of Wedding magazine, putting particular emphasis on the "Will and Kate effect".

"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," she said.

"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."

Lily Allen opted for a Church of England wedding last year at St James the Great in Cranham, Gloucestershire, while Kate Moss tied the knot at St Peter's in Southrop, also in Gloucestershire.

Although weddings and baptisms are on the rise, average Sunday service attendance dropped 2% to 923,700 in 2010. The ONS has released figures showing that, overall, the number of marriages continues to decline.

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