COVID-19 crashed wedding plans in 2021

After putting their weddings on hold during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Australian couples were keen to get their happily ever after last year, but ongoing restrictions led to disappointment and more cancelled nuptials.

More than 89,000 couples got married in 2021, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed on Thursday.

Despite an increase of more than 10,000 nuptials from the record low of 78,989 in 2020, the number of marriages still lagged behind the pre-pandemic 2019 figure of 113,815.

The number of couples getting married fell by about a third in Australia's two most populous states, as extended lockdowns and restrictions were imposed because of the Delta variant.

"Marriage numbers in Victoria and NSW were particularly affected from June and July 2021 onwards as public health restrictions were stepped up," James Eynstone-Hinkins from the ABS said.

NSW was the only state to record fewer marriages in 2021 than in 2020.

Couples hoping for a spring wedding last year were disappointed after the rise of the Delta wave meant many ceremonies were cancelled during the second half of the year.

Those looking to tie the knot faced lockdowns, size and density limits on gatherings, mask mandates and tight restrictions on social gatherings.

Couples in other jurisdictions fared better as they weren't as impacted by the COVID-19 variant.

"Marriages in other states and territories were less impacted, with numbers almost returning to pre-pandemic levels," Mr Eynstone-Hinkins said.

The age of brides and grooms remained similar to previous years, with the median age of men being 32.1 years and women 30.5 years.

The number of same-sex marriages dropped slightly to 2842, with female couples accounting for almost two-thirds of same-sex marriages.

Meanwhile, the number of divorces spiked in 2021 with a 6734 increase compared to 2020.

However, the increase was attributed to a change in the way the separations were finalised to reduce backlogs, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia said.

The median duration of marriage to divorce was 12.2 years, and the median age at divorce was 46 for men and 43 for women.