Getting married is an important event in most people's lives, but the definition of what that day entails and when it happens, varies wildly around the world.

The wedding industry -especially in Cape Town - is a substantial part of the local economy, but the target market of people getting hitched is anything but homogenous. What can be deduced from the data is that depending on the economic empowerment levels of the couple involved - the age at which marriage happens varies greatly.

People from wealthier countries tend to tie the knot later in life, while poorer nations seem to be home to younger married couples.

As Amy Schumer said in her recent Netflix special, being a bride at the age of 40 in New York City gets you labeled as a 'teen bride' in many circles thanks to many couples choosing to delay the big day in favour of doing other stuff.

Global marriage ages
Global marriage ages

'The oldest brides live in Ireland (median age of 32.4 years), which is also the country with the smallest age gap between men and women. Grooms were on average one year older than brides in Ireland, reflecting a global trend of male median marriage ages always being higher those of females.' - via

The oldest grooms in the world live in Italy, where on average the male partner in a traditional marriage is 35 years of age.

In marketing terms, there is almost a generational gap between a 27 year old bride in the USA and a 32 year old bride in Ireland.  Understandably the older a couple marries, the less time they have to conceive children; so it's also an interesting indicator of population growth trends.

Number of married people in South Africa
Number of married people in South Africa [Source: StatsSA]

In South Africa, more than half the population [29.2 million people] have never married and are not living with a romantic partner.