The number of Marlborough couples who got married last year is at its lowest in more than two decades, new figures show.
The latest figures released from Statistics New Zealand showed 163 Marlborough couples married last year compared with a peak of 234 in 2005.
Blenheim woman Michelle Hutton says although she would like to get married she had other priorities. Hutton lives with her partner Darren Bogle - they are not married, but the couple have three children together, Jack Bogle, 6, Ella Bogle, 8, and Sophie Bogle, 4.
"The reason we haven't got married is because we had kids," Hutton said. "I had trouble getting pregnant so that took priority. The second reason is the cost."
She said they would eventually get married but would wait until their children were older.
"We are not against having the piece of paper.
"It can just get over the top . . . I don't want a big wedding."
Hutton said she had been married before but her partner had not.
"I think a lot of woman used to think you had to be married to have half of everything.
"Back when I got married, you got married before you had kids."
There was no rush to the aisle, but when they did get there they would look at spending about $5000 on their wedding, Hutton said.
Two decades ago in 1994, 195 Marlborough couples got married. From 1996 onwards, figures remained stable until 2005, when the number of Marlborough couples marrying peaked.
Marlborough wedding celebrant Jenny Andrews said the Marlborough figures were consistent with a nationwide trend.
"I'm not surprised. It's just following the trends [and] it is reflective of society."
She said many couples were still willing to commit to a serious, long-term relationship but an increasing number were not comfortable tying the knot or did not see it as a priority.
While she had conducted a few civil union ceremonies, Andrews only officiated her first same-sex marriage earlier this year.
As at the 2013 Census, there were 17,622 married couples living in Marlborough.
There were 6312 people who had separated, divorced or been widowed and 8856 people who had never married or been in a civil union.
- The Marlborough Express
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