There is no need to feel restricted when choosing how to conduct your wedding ceremony. There are now so many different options available to you and your partner. Don’t have to succumb to tradition if it’s just not your style. Therefore I have created a mini guide of the different options available to you, the modern couple.
Celebrant – Blessing
Having a celebrant conduct your wedding ceremony can be a lovely way to indroduce a modern and personal twist. Celebrants are great for couples who want to through tradition out of the window and introduce a sense of freedom to your nuptials.
A blessing can be carried out wherever and when ever you like and is why it is favoured by so many couples.
Why do couples choose to have a blessing?
Most couples choose to have a blessing as this allows them the flexibility and freedom to hold a ceremony without restrictions. A lot of venues have beautiful grounds or an onsite chapel in which couples can get married. This therefore provides the best means to do so.
Venues like this will most likely also have a licensed room onsite in which the couple would be able to legally marry within.
This therefore offers couples the best of both worlds. A ceremony in a location and style of their choice. As well as civil ceremony to legally marry them, all under one roof!
What is included in a blessing?
The joy of having a blessing is that it really can be made from whatever elements you like. Some people don’t say vows and instead choose to light a unity candle. Some decide to base their ceremony on a reading or poem. The beauty is that the two of you create a ceremony which is personal to you.
Is a blessing legally binding?
No, a blessing isn’t legally binding. Most wedding venues to offer a civil ceremony which could be conducted privately after your blessing. A lot of couples choose to do this, with a couple of witnesses during the drinks reception. This usually takes no longer than 15 minutes.
Alternatively you could look at getting married, a couple of days prior, at your local registry office.
It is worth mentioning that you would need to arrange for a celebrant to carry out your blessing. You will also need to arrange your civil ceremony with the local registry office. Most celebrants will also be able to offer flexibility with what time you can contact your blessing. As most celebrants only conduct one wedding a day. However, your registry office may be restricted with the times they are able to offer. This is due to them conducting more than just one wedding a day.
A civil ceremony is a non religious ceremony carried out by a registrar. Most civil ceremonies are conducted in hotels, barn, stately homes – venues which are not a church or place of worship.
Where would you have a civil ceremony?
Most wedding venues offer at least one room/structure in which you can conduct your ceremony legally. The only requirement your venue has to provide is a space which contains a roof, in which you both can get married under. Your venue will of course be able to advise on which areas you can and cannot hold your ceremony in, most being able to offer more than one option.
What is the difference between a civil ceremony and a religious ceremony?
The main difference is that a religious ceremony is conducted in a church or place of worship and a civil ceremony can be conducted anywhere which holds a wedding license.
Civil ceremonies traditionally last 30 minutes and can be altered to suit you and your partners style. Some couples choose to create their own vows or add readings or poems to their ceremony. You can discuss all of these details with you registrar in the lead up to your big day. They are normally more than happy to help accommodate any modern details your may wish to add to make your ceremony as personal as possible.
Who conducts a civil ceremony?
Your civil ceremony will be conducted by an official from the local registry office.
Again, it is really important that you book your registrar as soon as you have decided on your venue. Your registrar is determined by the location of your venue, not where you live. It is important that you find out from your venue if they only conduct ceremonies between certain times (due to turn around times / exclusive use availability) Once you have a ceremony time in mind call your registrar and get this booked. Be firm as they are known for being a little tricky!
Traditionally conducted in your local/family church or house of worship. A religious ceremony traditionally contains hymns, readings and for the couple to recite traditional vows.
Can you get married in church or place of worship near your chosen venue?
Some venues have a church/place of worship onsite or in a nearby village, in which you may consider getting married. In order to do so the church/place of worship may ask you to attend regular services and parish events in order to consider marrying you. Do consider if this is something you and your partner are happy to commit too as this can be time consuming. If this is not something which you have you heart set on, you may want to reconsider at this point.
Why do people choose to have a religious ceremony?
A lot of couples choose to have a religious ceremony as it is an important part of them and their beliefs. It may also be a tradition within the family to have a religious ceremony.
Some couples do just prefer the structure and sentiment a religious ceremony has to offer compared to a civil ceremony or blessing.
Things To Consider
It is important to remember that your banns will need to be read around four months prior to your wedding. This is a crucial part in holding a religious ceremony. It is also worth baring in mind that a lot of churches will also ask you to conduct a pre-marriage preparation course, in order to prepare you for your married life together.
It is also customary to conduct a rehearsal the day prior to make sure you, your partner and the wedding party know what to expect.
It’s Your Wedding
As you will be finding out by now, all of your wedding plans and ideas do come down to you as a couple. There is no one rule fits all for how you should plan your wedding and there is no exception for your ceremony. The beauty is, there are no restrictions on what it means to have a modern ceremony. For me, your ceremony is the most important part of your day, it is the moment you commit to each other and announce to the world that you are now married, so remember it is all about you creating your day, your way.
Images by Wynn Davies Photography / Lanty / Nick Pile Photography
Civil Ceremony at Roundthorn Country House / Religious Ceremony at St Helen’s Church Denton