The legal Bit
You don’t have to complete the legal part before a Celebrant ceremony but many of my couples choose to, the day or week before and occasionally on another meaningful date to them!
For your marriage to be legally recognised in England or Wales, there are certain formalities that are required by law.
You both need to attend the Register Office in the district in which you have had your usual residence for the preceding seven days to inform them of your intention to marry. This is called giving notice. Giving notice means declaring that you are free to marry and requires you to provide certain documents. This notice has to be given up to one year before the day of your wedding. 28 clear days must pass before the Registrar’s certificates can be issued and you are able to marry.
There are various documents you have to produced, see the link below for more details.
In 1994 The laws in the United Kingdom changed, allowing licensed venues other than register offices to be used for civil marriage ceremonies.
However, the content of the ceremony remains pretty much unchanged, and this type of Marriage or Civil Partnership Service can often be uninspiring and lack the pomp and flair that many couple rightly feel their relationship deserves.
What is not so commonly known or understood in this country – is that ONLY the *Declaratory Words, and the **Contracting words have to be said in a Register Office or licenced venue, in order for your marriage to be recognised in law and for a marriage certificate to be issued
“I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I (your name) may not be joined in matrimony to (partners name)”
“I call up these persons here present to witness that I (your name) do take thee (partners name) to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband)”
These words are the legal requirements for marriage, as well as formally identifying yourselves to the registrar and signing the marriage/civil partnership register in front of two independent witnesses and a registrar.
And the Rest?
The rest of the service, including the exchanging of rings and saying of vows to one another is purely ceremonial and can therefore take place literally ANYWHERE and at any time of the day or night…. you are limited only by your imagination.
It may be a simple ceremony in your garden, or why not have all your friends present and plan a festival feel, outside in a field, under a tipi or anywhere else which is special to you …