Your Wedding Ceremony– Church, Celebrant or Registry - the choice is yours! Weddings are probably at the top of the list amongst our happiest memories. They are a part of the journey we take in life, whether for ourselves, or with others. They are one of the major milestones in our lives, and to do them justice, I believe we all want to mark those days forever in our minds and hearts with a beautiful and joyous ceremony. Historically, weddings were held in a church, with the Marriage Ceremony given by an ordained member of the clergy. Later, marriages for those who were not religious took place in a local Registry Office, and as they only contain the legal contracting words, were over very quickly! What most couples want is to hold a ceremony that realises their most cherished desires and dreams, and therefore they may choose a non-religious ceremony, sometimes as a compromise if they have different faiths, but more frequently because they are not regular church-goers. This means either a visit to the Town Hall or in one of the 4000 venues which are licensed for marriages. Unfortunately, a Registry office is not always a personal or romantic environment, and as couples are making a legal contract, they must abide by several rules regarding the ceremony itself and where it is held. The Registry must be of solid construction with four walls and a ceiling, therefore an outdoor ceremony is out of the question. Registrars cannot change the words or style of the Civil Ceremony as it forms part of Marriage Law. This can mean that couples have restrictions placed on their ideas for content, style and location, even if they have chosen to hold the Ceremony and Reception at a licenced venue. The Registrar will vet vows and music and any readings beforehand, as no religious or spiritual content is allowed. The cost of two officers of the council coming to the venue is usually in addition to the venue hire cost and can be in the region of £500 to £800, depending on the day and time of the marriage, as opposed to around £60 - £70 for a “standard” service at the Registry Office.

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