IT appears that the number of couples tying the knot in Hastings and St Leonards is increasing.
Whether traditional values are making a comeback, or romance is on the up, is unclear, but the latest figures point to an upward trend.
The number of register office ceremonies in Hastings this August has increased by 24 per cent from last year, and over the whole summer period, there has been a five per cent increase compared to the same period last year.
The figures, which include ceremonies conducted at Hastings register office and other licensed venues across the town, showed an increase in August from 83 in 2010 to 103 this year (and for anyone wondering - no, the statistics don’t include the sham marriages at St Peter’s).
There has also been an increase across East Sussex as a whole of 16 per cent over the summer period.
Councillor Tony Freebody, lead member for community services, said: “These figures are good news for East Sussex and I am delighted that more couples are choosing this county and our service for their weddings and civil partnerships.”
This upward trend appears also to extend to church ceremonies, indicating that couples are not simply exchanging one type of service for another. Rev Deryck Charnock, rector of Church-in-the-Wood, off Church Wood Drive, St Leonards, said that the number of weddings in the church had nearly doubled compared to last year.
“I am pleasantly surprised, to be honest,” he said. “In insecure times, people look for security, and possibly that could explain it.”
St Ethelburga’s church in Filsham Road, St Leonards has also reported an increase in the number of wedding ceremonies.Terry Flack, church warden of St Leonards’, sister church to St Ethelburga’s, said that the number of weddings was up 15 per cent from last year. Once upon a time church weddings were the norm, and it may be a return to that.”