More than seven out of ten young people still dream of marrying, the Church of England said yesterday.
This is despite declining marriage rates – and the plummeting number of couples who choose white weddings in church.
The Church drew its figures from a poll in which singletons aged between 18 and 35 were quizzed on marriage and weddings.
Among them, 59 per cent said they would like to marry at some point, and 12 per cent said they were already engaged.
More than seven out of ten young people still dream of marrying, the Church of England said yesterday
Fewer than a quarter said they were unsure or uninterested in marriage.
However, the poll also found that greater numbers of young people would stage their wedding in a stately home or a country house than in a church.
The rise of the stately home wedding, allowed under 1990s legislation, has been a major cause of the falling popularity of church weddings.
The support for marriage echoes the findings of a number of relationship think-tanks and the Girlguiding organisation, which found in a 2012 survey that 72 per cent of girls disagreed with the idea that marriage is just a piece of paper, and 76 per cent thought it was better to be married than unmarried.
Reverend Dr Sandra Millar, of the Church of England, said: ‘It is encouraging to see that young people are still thinking and planning for a wedding.
‘Research suggests marriage is seen as the crown on a long-term relationship, and despite the fact that many may be delaying or choosing not to marry at all, the idea of a special, beautiful wedding day is still one of life’s big dreams.’
The poll also found that greater numbers of young people would stage their wedding in a stately home or a country house than in a church
Latest official figures show that the number of marriages in England and Wales fell below 240,000 in 2015, and marriage rates are at their lowest since records were first collected in 1862.
The Office for National Statistics figures also showed that fewer than one in five of the couples who did marry in 2015 chose to do so in a CofE church.
The new Church of England survey, carried out by 9Dot-Research among 1,085 unmarried people, found 47 per cent of young people would prefer a wedding in church to one held in a register office.
But it also showed that 59 per cent would like to marry in a country house, stately home or castle.
Harry Benson, of the Marriage Foundation think-tank, said: ‘This survey repeats the message of previous surveys that the dream of happily ever after is alive and well, and linked to getting married.’