There are two types of marriage ceremony, these are:
- Religious marriage ceremony. These may only take place in buildings registered for religious worship.
- Civil marriage ceremony. These may only take place in register offices or premises approved by a local authority for civil marriages.
Contact your local place of worship for details.
Civil marriage ceremonies
The civil marriage ceremony is conducted by the superintendent registrar and registered by the registrar. The ceremony is simple and dignified. It begins with the superintendent registrar explaining that the building is sanctioned for the solemnisation of marriages. This person will then name the couple to be married and ask if anyone present knows of any lawful reason why the marriage can not take place.
The couple are then asked to repeat a declaration, after the superintendent registrar, that they are free to marry. This declaration must be a part of all civil marriage ceremonies. There are three options:
- I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I (full name) may not be joined in matrimony to (full name)
- I declare that I know of no legal reason why I (full name) may not be joined in marriage to (full name)
- By replying 'I am' to the question 'Are you (full name) free, lawfully to marry (full name)?
The superintendent registrar will then ask the couple to repeat the words which make the marriage legal. Again, there are three options:
- I call upon these persons here present to witness that I (full name) do take thee (full name) to be my lawful wedded wife/husband
- I (full name) take you (full name) to be my wedded wife/husband
- I (full name) take thee (full name) to be my wedded wife/husband
If rings are to be exchanged the superintendent registrar will ask the couple to do this while repeating these words.
Other things you can include
You can include readings, poetry or a declaration of your commitment to each other during the ceremony. However, these must have no religious content. Please agree any additions to the ceremony with the superintendent registrar before the day of your wedding.
The superintendent registrar will conclude the ceremony by declaring the couple to be lawfully married, and will ask them to sign the register. Your guests should not take photographs until the register has been signed - there will be plenty of time to take photographs after the ceremony.