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Love is in the Air: weddings look like registering “highest growth in 26 years”

“The decision to marry was taken by a growing number of Portuguese in the first 10 months of last year”.

The starry-eyed affirmation follows news from number-crunching institute INE, which says marriages between January and November 2017 (30,171) represented a 3.9% increase on vows exchanged during the same period of the year before (29,038).

“If the last two months of 2017 maintained their tendency for growth” (which INE cannot calculate just yet), then 2017 will have registered the highest growth in marriages of the last 26 years”, says a triumphant tabloid Correio da Manhã.

Coming in the build-up to St Valentine’s Day, no doubt February will see another spike in people popping the question.

Says CM, one has to go back to 1981 to find a better ‘growth-year for weddings’, though in those days there were many more ceremonies going ahead: 76,282 to be precise – many of them requiring those honking processions of cars through villages and towns that have all become obsolete today.

It was in 2007 that civil ceremonies finally took over church weddings (24,345 as opposed to 21,943), but even the authorisation of same-sex marriages in 2010 couldn’t stop the rot of weddings suddenly losing their allure.

Numbers have been falling consistently for years, says the paper, while the age of brides and grooms has been increasing.

While marriage could now be coming back in fashion, lovebirds are generally in their early 30s, not the 20-somethings of previous generations.

President of the Portuguese association of demographics Maria Filomena Mendes suggests that this is all a “reflection of the crisis years” when people put off everything that could be put off, not knowing where life would take them.

The 3.9% growth in numbers “could signify” that Portugal has arrived at a time of “less economic uncertainty”, she said, giving couples “more confidence about the future”.

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