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Civil or Religious Ceremony

Hints & Tips

Civil Ceremony

Civil ceremonies are a popular choice for people who are getting married the second time around, have no religious beliefs or who wish to get married somewhere different.

Civil ceremonies can take place in a register office or any premises licensed to hold weddings under the Marriage Act. The licensed premises must be permanent and roofed (therefore boats and gardens can not be licensed), open to the public and unconnected with any religion. Many premises have obtained licences from stately homes to football grounds and even supermarkets.

A civil ceremony normally lasts between ten and thirty minutes and does not contain any religious elements; the service itself is conducted by the Superintendant registrar or deputy. The vows that are spoken are brief; however the bride and groom have the option of personalising their vows and adding their own non religious readings and music.

Religious Ceremonies

Dependent upon your beliefs and religious different faiths have different traditions for their religious ceremonies. In England and Wales, a religious ceremony can take place in any religious building that is registered for the solemnisation of marriage.

Church of England weddings must have their banns read three Sundays before the day of the wedding to allow any objections to be raised; your vicar can explain this to you fully. Second marriages in church will be at the discretion of your individual vicar.

Church of Scotland allows the wedding ceremony to take place anywhere as long as it is conducted by an authorised celebrant. Couples do not have to be residents in the parish but will need to give at least 15 days and up to three months notice to entitle them to get married.

Other faiths such as Jewish, Hindus, Greek orthodox have their own faiths and traditions and all are very different to each other. Each individual faith has different traditions in relation to the wedding ceremony and it is important to gather as much information on the traditions relating to your individual ceremony as possible when planning your wedding.