What are the alternatives to traditional marriage?

It’s commonly thought that the happiest moment in your life should be your wedding day – something that each and everyone one of us should be looking forward to, right? Well, apparently not so much anymore.

For centuries, marriage has been a core tradition – or goal for most. Saving our best attire for a family member, friend, or distant relative, many of us look forward to the summer wedding season and save our best attire in order to celebrate picture perfect wedding days. But could these occasions be becoming few and far between?

The most recent records show a sharp decline in marriages throughout the years. In 1940, there were more than 471,000 marriages, but only 243,00 in 2017. The figures have nearly halved and, on top of this, of those 243,000 marriages, 100,000 ended in divorce.

Why marriage is declining

So, before we jump in to talk about the many different marriage and relationship options now available, we have to ask, why is traditional marriage declining? Well, there are three reasons that have been linked to the reducing number:

Dated Ideology

Society has changed so much over the years, and it continues to dramatically change. Unfortunately, there are people who view traditional marriage as a patriarchal institution that is used to oppress the female population.

Although it’s not a large amount of people that think this way, and roles within a marriage have developed since the days of Pride and Prejudice, it still an element that causes people to turn away.


The perfect day comes at a price and it’s a price that a lot of people would rather not pay or can’t pay. Priorities have changed and couples are more focused on buying a house and having children than putting their money towards a single day. With the average marriage costing around £27,000, a cost estimated to rise to nearly £32,064 by 2028 – it’s understandable.

This is why there has been a rise in intimate weddings rather than grand events. But even this small, yet special, day is still just too much when people have other financial commitments.


Over the years, divorce has become more and more accepted in society and with that, it’s also become easier, but it still will cost you a limb to complete the process. People are beginning to be less willing to commit to a long future with just one partner

Different types of marriage

Whilst traditional marriage is down, there is a rising number of alternatives that people are choosing to commit to. Take for example starter marriages, which are aimed at younger people, or those who aren’t entirely convinced on the commitment. Then think about marriages based around a specific focus or goal, like a parenting marriage or a safety marriage. There is also a list of marriages that are based upon an agreed level of commitment and freedom within the relationship, from the well-known open marriages to the lesser known covenant marriages.

Do you think it’s possible that marriage could truly disappear? Or is it just the case that the institution of marriage needs to be more personalised to each couple? We’ll have to wait and see.

If you require further advice on the matter or would like to speak to a Family Law expert. Get in contact with our expert team at Lysander Law who would be happy to help.