London: New figures have revealed that more and more Brit women are likely to delay marriage until well into womanhood or even forsake it completely.
The average age of a first-time bride is now 30 and rising, while the number of weddings is the lowest for more than a century, official figures show.
The statistics suggest that women are putting off married life to pursue successful careers or to save enough money to pay for the wedding, reports a news daily.
And some simply decide not to marry as cohabitation becomes more socially acceptable.
The provisional figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the average age of first-time brides reached 30 in the first quarter of last year and 30.1 in the second quarter.
In 1966, the average in England and Wales was 22.5 and in 1991, it was 25.5.
Relationship experts attribute this to more women taking the chance to enjoy themselves during there twenties, instead of fretting about being left on the shelf.
The average age of first-time bridegrooms now stands at 32, having passed 30 in 1999, according to the figures, which also show that there are far fewer weddings taking place than in the past.
A total of 232,990 couples married in 2008-the lowest since 1895.
Marriage has now become a ``lifestyle choice``, said Simon Duncan of the Bradford University.
"You no longer need marriage to prove that you are an adult, so there’s not the rush there used to be for young people," he said.
The study was reported in a journal.