With so many different types of wedding cermonies out there to choose from, itís difficult to know exactly how they differ and what is involved in each. Weíve concentrated on the most popular
ceremonies and have given a brief insight into steps that should be taken beforehand.
Church of England
There is growing flexibility regarding couples wanting a religious ceremony for their wedding. The Church of England currently gives all British citizens, with no former partner still living, the right to get married in the parish church of the town where they are resident or in the church where either of the couple are on the church's electoral roll (this isnít the same as the local register of electors). For those looking to get married outside of their parish, this is usually possible provided there is some kind of family connection (you worship there regularly, your parents had their wedding ceremony there, your family have a history with the church etc).
The first step is to contact the minister to book the date. The wedding will be announced at the church on three consecutive Sundays giving people the opportunity to voice any legal objections. Itís also important you give notice of your intention to marry to the local superintendent registrar who will be able to provide you with your marriage license.
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland allows you to hold your ceremony in any place at any time provided you have permission from your minister. Unlike the Church of England, banns are not published and there are no residency requirements, although notice has to be given to a registrar no later than 15 days before the wedding date. Fortunately you donít have to be a resident of Scotland to get married there!
Roman Catholic marriages have slightly stricter rules than that of the above. Catholics are encouraged to marry other Catholics in order to attain what is often referred to as a Ďperfect unioní, but inter-faith marriages are much more common occurrences these days. Both be free to marry, and one of you must have been baptised Catholic to wed in a Catholic Church. It is not uncommon for your priest may ask you to undertake some sort of marriage preparation with him and you are normally expected to attend Mass at the church for at least six weeks prior to the wedding. You will also need to give notice of your intention to marry to the local superintendent registrar and obtain your marriage license.
Jewish weddings fulfill both a religious and civil purpose, but you will need two applications, one for your local registrar office and one for the religious authority under which the ceremony will take place, these should be obtained three months prior to the wedding. Jewish weddings are usually conducted in a synagogue but can also be held in many venues with the relevant license. The wedding can place on any day of week apart from the Sabbath (sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday).
It is essential that notice of your wish to marry is given, in person, to your superintendent registrar at your local council office or town hall . After answering a few questions you will be issued with a certificate of common notice. A provisional booking with the register office can be made to secure the date you want. Weddings can be booked no less than 17 days and no more than 12 months in advance.
The joy of a civil ceremony is that it can take place in any venue that has been approved for the purpose and so holds the necessary license. Many hotels, country mansions and other more unusual venues have marriage licenses, providing you with the perfect opportunity of holding your ceremony and reception in the same place. It is still essential you give notice of your intention to marry to the superintendent registrar and you will need to contact your local register office to organize a registrar to conduct the ceremony.
Marrying abroad had become more and more popular with couples, embracing the chance to combine the wedding with the honeymoon. Overseas weddings are recognized in the UK as long as they do not contravene UK laws governing your eligibility to get married, eg you are not underage or you are not waiting for a divorce to come through. Contact the country's embassy or consulate directly for advice and to find out which documents you will need to provide and when. Many countries require you stay for a minimum period (usually of between one and seven days) before you are free to marry. If you want to avoid having to face some of the organizing involved in getting married abroad then perhaps consider a civil ceremony in the UK followed by a blessing abroad.