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A surprising number of Brits end up marrying their work Christmas party fling

Young happy couple having fun while whispering on New Year's party at casual office.
A fling at the work Christmas party isn't uncommon, and could lead to something more. (Getty Images)

Christmas party season is upon us, giving us the opportunity to let down our hair a little bit and enjoy some festive fun with our co-workers.

The office Christmas party is a great time to get to know our colleagues outside of working hours - but it is also known for leading to some rather, ahem, interesting shenanigans - including the infamous office romance.

According to new data from wedding planning experts Hitched, almost a quarter (23%) of Brits have had a romantic encounter with a colleague at their work’s Christmas party. And while office romances often have a bad reputation for creating drama in the workplace - a 2020 survey found that 59% of office-borne relationships lead to resignation at work - the outcome of a Christmas party romance might surprise you.

Hitch’s data revealed that more than a third (35%) of respondents said their Christmas party romances lasted longer than the event itself, with 17% admitting they kissed multiple times and 5% going on several dates afterwards.

What’s more, over a fifth (21%) have even gone on to marry the person they snogged under the office mistletoe.

Modern Multiracial female coworkers, embraced enjoying the Christmas office party
Sometimes, having an office Christmas party romance ends in disaster - other times, it can even lead to a relationship and marriage. (Getty Images)

Zoe Burke, editor of Hitched, found love in this way when she met her partner Simon at work. She says the two of them "had chemistry from the first moment we met" - however, nothing happened initially as she was in a relationship with someone else.

"Also, he was so comically the opposite of my usual type; I tended to go for creatives who were skint but were free spirits. He was a single dad of two who oversaw IT operations for a huge company, and was 14 years older than me," she explained.

"It was a running joke in our office because it was SO ridiculous but we got on SO well. By the following summer, I was single and dating again, but nothing really happened until we got into the Christmas period. With the office Christmas party looming, our flirting definitely ramped up a bit!"

Burke continued: "I have never put so much effort into getting ready for a party, and I didn’t see him all night! I was about to leave and my boss was like ‘he’s at the bar!’ So I went over and it was all very sweet and innocent - there was no kissing, nothing like that, he just put an arm around me but that was it.

"I remember when we left we did it strategically and headed out separately; his excuse was that he ‘had to get his anorak’, and I was secretly mortified that I was about to leave with someone who uses the word ‘anorak’! But then we met round the corner, kissed for the first time and have been together ever since!"

A 2022 survey about workplace relationships, conducted by law firm Wright Hassall, found that just under a quarter of people have had a romantic encounter with someone from work, with men more likely (27.6%) to have engaged in one than women (21.5%).

Among those who have had an office fling, workers aged between 45 and 54 were the most likely to have sought one out, followed by 35 to 44-year-olds. Those over the age of 65 were the least likely to get involved romantically with a colleague.

Meanwhile, 13% of respondents said they cheated on their partners with a colleague, with men again more likely (14.3%) to do so compared to women (11.2%). The data showed that those aged 55 to 64 were the most likely (17.9%) to have an affair at work, followed by 18 to 24-year-olds.

Young couple in the office
Flirting and office romances are more common among 45-54-year-olds, a survey shows. (Getty Images)

Wright Hassall also revealed the parts of the UK where office romances most commonly occurred. The top 10 regions were:

  1. West Midlands (34.6%)

  2. East of England (27.2%)

  3. South East (26.8%)

  4. South West (25.7%)

  5. North West (25.2%)

  6. Yorkshire & the Humber (24.6%)

  7. Northern Ireland (24.2%)

  8. Wales (23.7%)

  9. Scotland (22.4%)

  10. London (20%)

Watch: Average person will attend this many holiday gathering

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