Your partner proposed, you are engaged – so what happens next?!
Unless you have a particular reason for rushing, enjoy your engagement and take your time with the wedding planning. The first step is to understand all of the different wedding day options open to you.
Once you understand that you can separate the two, this widens up your wedding planning options to dates, venues and wedding officiants.
Check with your religious minister that they can also officiate a legal marriage at the same time as a wedding ceremony.
Your minister will officiate a traditional wedding ceremony centred around your religious beliefs at your chosen place of worship and will also be empowered to make a legal entry to the marriage register in the same way as a registrar.
But do check! Not all religious ministers have that authority and you may still find yourself trotting off to the registrar to contract the legal marriage.
Your registrar will be able to incorporate your legal signing of the register with an additional range of ceremony packages officiated either at the register office or at an “authorised premises” such as a room in an approved hotel.
Note: your registrar is not permitted to include any religious elements or religious references in the wedding ceremony.
The Humanist organisation have trained celebrants who will offer you a personalised non-religious wedding ceremony. The location of your wedding is wide open to pretty much anywhere and your ceremony can be embellished with many different symbolic rituals.
Note: humanist celebrants in Scotland and in Guernsey are authorised to register the legal marriage contract and there is a strong movement in the UK for all humanist celebrants to follow suit. Check the current situation with your local humanist celebrant.
This is where it gets interesting! An independent wedding celebrant can craft you a wedding ceremony with or without religion officiated wherever you want.
The independent celebrant can build a wedding ceremony that incorporates elements of different religions or write you a meaningful symbolic ceremony with whatever traditions are important to you. Anything goes.
At time of writing (February 2021) the UK Law Commission is in consultation with independent celebrant organisations to roadmap their way to officiating legal marriages as well as the wedding ceremony with the #givecoupleschoice movement – watch this space!
Your wedding in the sunshine with a destination wedding celebrant is still your REAL wedding – remember the marriage and the wedding are two different things.
To avoid translations and misunderstandings, the easiest path to a destination wedding anywhere in the world is to contract your legal marriage with your UK registrar before you go overseas.
Your marriage will be recorded with the UK register office so if you need to order additional copies of your marriage certificate in the future, it is easily done. With the added bonus that anyone researching your family tree in years to come will easily find your record!
Top tip if you don’t speak the language in your destination wedding country, book the services of a bilingual wedding planner. They have trusted local contacts and can often negotiate far better prices with wedding suppliers and venues.
Author Bio: Debbie Skyrme is Celebrant Spain – an award winning destination wedding celebrant in southern Spain. Officiating elopements, vow renewals and wedding ceremonies in the Spanish sunshine.
Photography: Simon Duggan