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Types of Wedding Ceremonies in the UK


As you start down your wedding planning journey one of the first questions you need to ask yourself is “what type of ceremony do we want?”.


The answer to this question is very simple.


It all depends on whether you want to have a legal ceremony or whether you are already legally married but want to do a vow renewal. If it is simply a vow renewal, then you can go for any type of ceremony that you wish and in any type of space.


If, however you are planning on a legal ceremony there are only 2 types of legal ceremonies in the England.


Civil ceremonies: You need to apply for at your local registrar’s office for this and you therefore need to give notice of your intent to wed. It is very important that you make sure you cover all the legal necessities with regards to your legal marriage. Make sure you are very clear on what documents you need to provide to your registrar. 68% of new marriages in the UK annually are civil ceremonies. This type of ceremony can be conducted at either the local registrar’s office or at a licenced venue, you can find lists of licenced venues from either your registrar’s office in the area in which you choose to get married or from venue directories. You will have to give notice in the district(s) that you both live in. you will be required to give minimum 15 days’ notice of your intent to wed. Please check with your registrar on all details and legalities.


It is important to note that all civil ceremonies must be conducted with no religious elements to them.


The second legal ceremony that needs to be conducted without a registrar is that of the Church of England. There is a different set of legal paperwork that is carried out by the Church of England and this is delt with by the Church of England. You will be giving notice of your intent to wed if you choose to have your ceremony with the Church of England. Your giving notice will in fact be in the format of “banns’ being read which will be read in 3 consecutive Sunday services before the wedding, thus giving any regular worshipers the opportunity to object to the marriage.


In order for this ceremony to be a legal one, you must sign the register with 2 legal witnesses.


It is a good idea to make sure that you chat to your minister about all the legalities needed for your ceremony.




Many Catholic Churches are not licenced in the same way as that of the Church of England in which the minister has the ability to read the “banns”, issuing and signing of the marriage certificate. Have a chat to your priest about all the legal requirements for your wedding. It may be that you are required to post your notice at your local registrar’s office with your church being listed as the venue and it may be the case that you will need to have a registrar present at the ceremony to arrange the signing of the register/paperwork. It is a very good idea to check all the legalities of your ceremony with your priest because if you need to book a registrar it is advisable to do this from the very beginning of your planning as registrars are booked up very quickly.


If you are not 100% certain of what requirements you need for your ceremony to be legal, have a conversation with your priest/minister/rabbi etc to discuss the legal aspect of your marriage.

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