/ Alternatives to church weddings?
I am engaged, planning to get married next summer, however I am against the idea of a church wedding on principal. We plan to marry on private land, however the less-conventional ceremonies such as Humanist weddings don't meet the "legal requirements" I need to be recognised with my job in HMG and my wife-to-be wouldn't be able to move with my job if it went abroad, unless we went to a registry office to confirm the ceremony.
Have you been to a non-religious ceremony that you would recommend?
Is getting married in Scotland an option? Humanist ceremonies are recognised as 'proper' marriages there.
Otherwise, there are loads of options for a non-religious ceremony. It's quite normal now.
Any wedding carried out by a registrar is by law secular. Outside of that than a few legal obligations they can be quite flexible about the ceremony. There are also many licence venues for weddings.
Good friend of mine did that: Elvis impersonator; the works. Sounded like a blast.
> Have you been to a non-religious ceremony that you would recommend?
I've been to a few humanist weddings, they're fine, but the best I ever went to was one of these:
> unless we went to a registry office to confirm the ceremony.
But the other way around. The 'legal' wedding first, a quick registry office do with just parents present to witness, then the 'real' one the following day.
On the day they had hired a barn and the field it stands in (not a particularly agricultural one, the field is sometimes used to grow turf commercially but it's set up for this kind of thing with electricity, a wee kitchen and proper toilets).
With all friends & family in attendance, they conducted their own ceremony themselves. Welcomed everybody, each spoke about how they met the other and what first attracted them to each other, made their vows, exchanged rings and then invited anyone else who wanted to speak to speak. Some more conventional speeches were made, best man, parents etc. After toasts were proposed the drink began to flow and one or two pals stood up to make impromptu speeches too, there was some good natured heckling, and then the happy couple wound up the ceremony and the whole thing segued into the party just as the band rocked up to set up for the ceilidh.
Being a very 'outdoorsy' couple, most of their friends were happy camping around the margin of the field. Others, and most of the family were in guest houses around about. Not everybody's cup of tea for sure, and it must have been a bit daunting conducting the ceremony themselves but it was an extraordinarily good do.
Registry office for legal bit. Not really a big deal, is it?
Whatever ceremony you want for the 'wedding'. The important bit, IMHO, is making your vows in front of family and friends.
One of the nicest weddings I've been to was of two friends who made up their own ceremony, taking ritual bits from a wide range of cultures. They got a friend to act as the celebrant.
My wife and I did the legal bit at the registry office in front of minimum witnesses then had the ceremony a couple of days later at Cathedral Cave. Dress code was top half posh and bottom half hang loose - I had top hat and tails and combat pants and wellies. We then had the reception at the Leeds uni hut in the Duddon Valley. 50ish guests and change from a grand!
Most unusual setting for a wedding I've been to was in Coire Lagan, Skye, but that was with a hillwalking priest rather than a civil ceremony.
It seems Scotland gives you more options unless the law has changed recently.
We did the legal bit the weekend before at the council building, then had a ceremony that we consider to be the actuals marriage bit in a field in the middle of a forest. We had a big tent set up, mobile loo's, bar, the works.
Most people I know have had a small private registry office ceremony for the legal bit, and then just did what they wanted for the rest. Some just had a big party while others had a "mock" ceremony done just how they wanted.
If you really want to have a "real" ceremony with family and friends, find a licensed venue you like and a registrar willing to marry you there. There are some legal requirements, but at least some registrars will be flexible as long as these are met. This is what my sister did a couple of years back.
My sister and her husband had a humanist ceremony - as others have said they're fantastic, very 'human', friendly and enjoyable. But of course they also had a registry office signing a few days before (or after, I can't remember!). That did the legal thing, but only one of my sisters from our large family attended that, as a witness. The rest of the family enjoyed the humanist ceremony and accompanying ceilidh.
> Have you been to a non-religious ceremony that you would recommend?
Any wedding caried out at a registry office or by a registrar at a licensed wedding venue (i.e. a civil wedding) is legally binding and by law must not contain any religious element, religious readings, prayers and singing hymns are actually banned.
A brother got married in a registry office, and had Grassmear YHA booked out to hold a humanist wedding and general get together in, that worked well because people who had children could ask to stay, and I think his partner's helpful hippy friends contributed something each towards the food in preparing something.
£93 at the Reggo, drove there together, a few friends came. A reception of sorts at our house. Cheap champers, Aldi Chablis and Chateauneuf wine, sandwiches made on the morning of the wedding.
Went into work on the Monday with some cake and the lads asked whose birthday it was, I just said I'd got married on the Friday, never told anyone.
As you've said there is always the registry office to confirm the ceremony. However if you prefer everything to be complete on the day, if you're struggling in the UK then there is always the option of less strict countries.
My wife and I got married in Finland, There was a small amount of paperwork to complete pre-ceremony but absolutely no additional paperwork post ceremony as it's a recognised legal document, irrespective of the country of origin. We are both UK nationals.
My wife and I got married this summer and felt the same... the most important thing for us was a beautiful location and good food and a proper knees up for our mates. We did all that on anglesey, with a handfasting ceremony (traditional gaelic wedding - where the term 'to tie the knot' comes from). That was the 'proper' part for us. Following week we went to the registry office, which I found surprisingly emotional! I very much thought it would be a bit of legal rubbish but it really was a lot more than that.
In reply to: Note to all and something that will be familiar to Coronation Street viewers, recently, it's a register office.
The registry wedding can be very quick (<5mins) to do the legal bit and then do whatever you want for the ceremony at a venue of your choice.
Getting married is a commitment not a party. The commitment is just the two of you. Nothing wrong with a good party though. We got married in a registry office in secret (just a few close friends as witnesses) on the night before the ‘wedding’. A friend and former uni tutor officiated and to this day not one member of my family knows the true story (13 years though my astute grandmother did notice no register was signed).
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