Marriage peak on 20-05-2005

On Friday 20 May 2005, 2,441 couples got married in the Netherlands, more than twice as many as on an average Friday in May. There is a definite preference among couples for Friday weddings: across the whole year, four out of every ten weddings take place on a Friday. This preference is gradually decreasing however.

Marriages on special dates, 2000-2005
Marriages on special dates, 2000-2005


Not only the day of the week is important when setting a date. For couples choosing Friday 20 May the date itself (20-05-2005) was relevant, as was the fact that it was a Friday in May, the most common wedding day of the week in a popular wedding month. According to provisional monthly statistics for May, 2,441 couples tied the knot on 20 May 2005. This is hardly any fewer than 9-9-1999, when a record 2,508 couples got married, but much more than the nearly 1,100 marriages that usually take place on Fridays in May.

Other favourite wedding dates

In the spring, about half of weddings every week take place on the Friday. On Friday 20 May this was 70 percent. Other days in 2005 which were relatively popular with marrying couples were St. Valentine’s day (14 February) and 1 April. 350 couples married on Monday 14 February, compared with 131 on average on other Mondays in the same period. With more than 500 weddings, 1 April also scored above average.

Proportion of Friday marriages per week
Proportion of Friday marriages per week

Less popular days

Opposite the popular dates, there are naturally also less popular dates. Friday the thirteenth, for example. Seven hundred Dutch couples married on Friday 13 May 2005. Good Friday, 25 March 2005, was also a less popular day, although this probably had to do with many registries being closed: only 12 percent of marriages in that week took place on the Friday. Few marriages also took placed on 5 May (when Liberation Day coincided with Ascension Day, a public holiday in the Netherlands). 

Most weddings in Spring and Autumn, and on Friday

Seen across the whole year, most marriages took place on Fridays. Noticeably, in months in which relatively many marriages take place, such as May, June and September, the proportion of the weddings taking place on Fridays is significantly (about 50 percent) higher than in less popular wedding months, such as January and February (25 to 35 percent).

Distribution of marriages across the week, by groom's country of birth, 2004
Distribution of marriages across the week, by groom's country of birth, 2004

Decreasing percentage of Friday weddings

In recent years the definite preference for getting married on a Friday has fallen considerably. In 1995 nearly half of marriages took place on Fridays, while in 2004 it was just over 40 percent. 
There are two main explanations for this decrease: the proportion of second marriages in the total number of marriages has increased, just as the proportion of weddings of foreigners. For various reasons, Friday is less popular as a wedding day in both groups.

Carel Harmsen and Suzanne Loozen