Freedom to choose
Since mid-1995 couples have no longer been confined to holding their civil wedding in a Register Office.
Happily they can now be held in stylish Hcountry houses, hotels and purpose built wedding resorts all over the UK, as long as the premises have a licence. One or two provisos’ remain though. Licensed premises must not be a private home, a marquee, or moveable structure. Civil ceremonies in the open-air are also forbidden, as are those in any building which has a previous or current connection with any form of religion. These rules seem bizarre, and may be overturned in future years.
The marriage rules are exactly the same as those at all other wedding ceremonies, with the exception of divorcees, who thankfully now no longer need to divulge this status to the Registrar. Same-sex couples can also ‘tie the knot’ via a civil ceremony, and the rules for homosexual couples looking to enter into a civil partnership are very similar to those for heterosexual couples.
When it comes to the actual service itself, civil wedding ceremonies must strictly be of a non-religious nature, and are on the whole much shorter than a church service. The significant attraction is that the readings and music are totally personal to the couple concerned. After all, they are the most serious and romantic part of the day, when the vows are spoken, the rings are exchanged, and the promises that you will love, cherish and honour your partner for the rest of your days are made.
So, if you aren’t religious, have been married before, are the same sex as your partner, or are just after something a little bit different, then a civil ceremony could be the perfect wedding for you.