Everything you need to know about a Civil Wedding

by benbjhampson-com | March 7, 2017 | Wedding Planning Guides

Not everyone wants to have a traditional white wedding in a church or feel that they need a religious service to seal their union together. Today, an increasing number of couples are opting for a civil ceremony in a location of their choice, whether that’s a dedicated wedding venue or an outdoor setting that has some meaning for the couple.

What is a civil wedding or ceremony?

Put simply, a civil ceremony is a legal marriage ceremony that is performed by a local council official at an approved location, rather than by a religious official in a religious setting. The ceremony itself contains no religious elements or religious connotations. You can, however, add your own personal touches to the ceremony, including non-religious music and readings.

Who can perform a civil wedding?

A council official, also known as a registrar, performs a civil wedding. You must inform the registrar at your local register office (or offices if you live in different areas) of your intended marriage at least 15 days before your wedding. You should also select two people who are happy to witness the union and sign the marriage register during the ceremony.

Where can I hold my civil wedding?

Until recently the only place to hold a civil wedding was at a register office, however, all that has changed and couples can now get married in a wide range of venues including Heaton House Farm. We offer a bespoke wedding venue for all kinds of civil weddings. We would love nothing more than to help create a unique celebration for the two of you, and we are happy to discuss your ideas with you in order to make your dream wedding a reality.

Why choose a civil ceremony?

There are many reasons for choosing a civil ceremony, although they usually fall into one of the following categories:

  • Neither of you are religious, or you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of a religious ceremony
  • You come from different religious backgrounds
  • You want a very personal ceremony, and a church won’t allow you to include the elements you want
  • You have your heart set on saying ‘I do’ in a licensed outdoor location such as our Oak Pagoda

What happens at a civil wedding ceremony?

Usually the marriage ceremony will follow the same basic structure whether you opt for a religious or civil wedding. Having said this, with a civil ceremony you can make it as personal as you wish, from writing your own vows to including readings, poems, favourite pieces of music and any particular rituals that you feel will express and celebrate your union. It gives you the opportunity to choose words and music that really mean something to you, whether that’s a favourite verse, the first song you danced to, or vows written and made direct from your heart. If you don’t want to write your own vows, you’ll usually be offered a choice of scripts, together with templates to personalise your ceremony. However, you should still bear in mind that the ceremony shouldn’t have any religious content and it must include the legal wording. You’ll be given a set time frame too, which will normally include time for signing the registers. Note that all registrars abide by very strict time deadlines so although you might like to keep your hubby-to-be waiting for those few extra minutes for your arrival, it’s not a good idea.

As long as the music and words have no religious connotations, you can choose to include any elements that you think will make the celebration as personal and as memorable as possible. A civil wedding offers the perfect opportunity to start your married life in a unique, meaningful and individual way so get in touch with our team today if you need any more information.

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01260 217 535

Heaton House Farm,
Rushton Spencer, Macclesfield,
Cheshire SK11 0RD