Church of England's island of Jersey wedding rate drops in 2017 as 70 percent of couples choose civil ceremony

The island of Jersey near Normandy, France, which is generally an Anglican community, saw a drop in church weddings in 2017. At least 70 percent of the 447 marriages that took place last year were performed as a civil ceremony, Superintendent Registrar Claire Follain confirmed.

(REUTERS/Michael Buholzer)Only 30 percent of weddings took place in churches in 2017 in the Anglican region of the Island of Jersey.

Follain, however, told the press that there was no downward trend in couples seeking to marry in the Church of England or other religious denominations on the island. She believed that the majority were simply waiting for the legalization of same-sex marriage and the introduction of outdoor ceremonies. She added that once these are approved, she is certain that church weddings will pick up because "they can have the marriage ceremonies they wanted."

In January, lawmakers debated on an amendment to the legalization of same-sex marriage on the island. The proposal originally reached the senate in 2015 but delays pushed its full enactment.

The proposal also included amendments to open-air weddings or beach venues. Currently, members of the Anglican community cannot marry in public venues unless with expressed permission from its parish priest. Even then, it almost always comes with conditions.

The Superintendent Registrar also stated that the island of Jersey still remains a popular destination for many British couples who want to get married in a picturesque place. Follain also observed a steady increase of tourist weddings because of Brexit.

"It has been steadily increasing in the last couple of years due to things such as Brexit and the value of the pound," Follain revealed. "The pound does not go as far as it used to."

Of the 134 church weddings last year, 96 ceremonies were from the Church of England and 31 were done in a Catholic Church. The rest of took place in churches that belonged to the Methodist, Freedom and Kingdom Hall. Meanwhile, the majority of the civil weddings took place the Register Office.