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Gold Creek heads top 10 wedding list as couples move away from religious weddings

A picture-perfect bluestone chapel has captured Canberra lovers' hearts, as the city's most popular wedding venue draws happy couples to Gungahlin for their big day.

Comfortably beating out Old Parliament House and the National Arboretum, the Gold Creek Chapel in Nicholls hosted 155 weddings in 2014, one in 10 of all held in the ACT. 

And new government figures show the happy couples walking down Canberra aisles were increasingly likely to be older and to leave religion out of it. 

Gold Creek Chapel manager Anna Dorris said the privately owned non-denominational venue was attractive for many reasons. 

"It's an absolutely beautiful site, fantastic building with heating and cooling, gorgeous gardens and it is a very traditional venue but with no religion attached," she said. 

"I knew how many we did, I didn't realise it was more than the others."

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Ms Dorris said about 38 per cent of couples had religious weddings at the chapel last year.

The majority of brides had one or two children. 

The ACT had the nation's highest rate of weddings performed by a religious minister in 2013, but the proportion dropped by four points to 28 per cent last year.

While national figures for last year have not been released, the result would have meant ACT weddings were more likely to be solemnised by a civil celebrant than those in NSW and South Australia the year before.  

The median age of a Canberra bride rose to 29.7 years, up 0.3 years from the year before. Grooms were also a little older, with the median age 31.6 years, with both bride and groom ages almost exactly matching the latest national average. 

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House director Daryl Karp said the iconic nature and style of the building were the likely attraction for the 90 couples married inside or in the adjoining rose garden.

"As you walk up the famous steps and enter the elegant, atmospheric space of King's Hall, you'll find yourself in the heart of one of Australia's most-loved buildings where every room and corridor has a timeless story to tell," he said.

All-inclusive wedding costs for the Gold Creek Chapel (excluding food) were between $660 and $990, depending on season. 

The busiest week at the venue was in last October, when 14 weddings were held. 

The Northern Territory has the highest rate of civil weddings, at 81 per cent. 

The ACT's 10 most popular wedding venues in 2014

Gold Creek Chapel (155 services)

Old Parliament House/Rose Garden (90)

National Arboretum (84)

St Christopher's Cathedral, Manuka (47)

The Heart Garden, Weston - private garden of a marriage celebrant (36)

The Hyatt Hotel, Yarralumla (33)

Canberra Yacht Club, Yarralumla (31)

Lennox Gardens, Yarralumla (31)

St John the Baptist Church, Reid (27)

The Carillon, Parkes (27)

Source: JACS's Office of Regulatory Services