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How to have a civil ceremony

By Andrea Petrou on April 8th, 2010 0 comments yet. Be the First

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With so many people marrying into cross cultures a church wedding is sometimes not a feasible option. Not only will some churches, for example the Greek Orthodox religion, if you or your other half are not the religion they practice, and sometimes the culture can be a little too much to take on for your family.

Therefore it’s no surprise that many couples are turning to civil ceremonies in a bid to escape religion and also for a more casual affair.

We tell you all you need to know about civil ceremonies.
However, please note that this is just a guide, for more for more info about civil ceremonies contact the registrar general on 01704-569824

The first thing to note about civil ceremonies is that marriages can only take place in authorised premises where the marriage can be legally solemnised. When it comes to this kind of service there are a range of licensed venues including register offices and premises that have been approved by the local authority, for example, stately homes, castles and hotels. It’s therefore very important to check the venue you want has an authorised license.

What you’ll need.
In order for a civil ceremony to be legal all must take place in the presence of a superintendent registrar and be witnessed by at least two people, who will be required to sign the marriage register. If you really don’t want any friends and family to attend your big day then these can be two strangers, but they must be capable.

Where?
The official hours for conducting a marriage is between 8am and 6pm. If you want to have a later ceremony you will have to check with the venue in question. Both of you must have lived in a registration district in England or Wales for at least seven days immediately before giving notice at the register office. If you both live in the same district, you should both attend your local register office together to give your notices of marriage. If you live in different registration districts then each of you will need to give notice separately in your respective district. After giving notice you must wait a further sixteen days before the marriage can take place. You must also ensure you and your partner give this notification personally. Sending friends or parents will deem the marriage as illegal.


What will I need on the day?

As well as the two witnesses you will have to bring with you evidence that you are both approved to be married in the UK. This can be done by previously attending the register office in person and giving notice of your intention to marry. You may be asked to produce documents as evidence of name and age, usually in the form of passports or birth certificates cards. It will also include divorce papers if one of you are separated or a visa approval, which must be obtained from the immigration office, if you are marrying a foreign national. Although it’s not the norm to have music at these events speak to your registrar to see if you can have non-religious music and say your own vows.

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