More choose to marry away from the church

Heddal stave Church, Cultural Heritage Fund ReformationHeddal stave Church.Photo: Norway Today Media

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Twenty years ago, over half of all wedding ceremonies took place in the Norwegian Church. Now, only one in three people choose the church when they are going to marry.

Civil marriage became, for the first time, the most common type of marriage last year. Figures presented by Dagen show that there has been a sharp increase in religious ceremonies outside the Norwegian Church.

In 2018, 20,949 marriages were entered into among residents of Norway. This was 1,162 fewer than the previous year. Only 7,630 couples got married in the Norwegian Church, which is 36.4 per cent.

In the same year, 1,797 weddings were held in religious and non-religious communities outside the Church, about 700 of which were conducted by the Norwegian Humanist Association (HEF). Civil marriage was most popular last year with 8,063.

“Marriage is the least popular ecclesiastical act. Funerals, baptisms and confirmation are far stronger,” says Harald Hegstad, Professor of Theology at the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society to Dagen.

Another factor is finances. Getting married in church is often expensive.

“Those who are getting married in the church would like to have a white wedding dress, many guests and a decorative and beautiful wedding. Civil marriages are often made easier,” says the professor.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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