A Guide to The Civil Wedding Ceremony

Civil wedding ceremonies are non-religious, legal marriage ceremonies performed by a government official or functionary. In the UK, this person is normally called a registrar.

A civil ceremony can’t include hymns or religious readings. Also, the marriage must take place at a registered or licensed wedding venue to be legally valid.

As well as the bride and groom, two witnesses must sign the register.

Before Your Civil Wedding Ceremony

To make sure everything runs smoothly, you and your wedding guests should arrive at the civil ceremony at least 15 minutes before.

Registrars are very busy and will normally be attending several weddings in one day. So, allow for traffic delays, parking and any pre-wedding photographs! Your civil ceremony may not be able to proceed if there are any delays.

Before the civil ceremony, the Registrar will see both partners privately to check their details are correct for the marriage register. This is also a chance for you to ask any last minute questions. After the final checks have happened, the civil wedding ceremony can proceed!

Saying “I do” in front of your family and friends can be nerve-wracking, but the Registrars will be on hand to help you. They can guide you through everything you need to do or say. So, there’s no need to worry about forgetting your lines or doing things in the wrong order!

Once the bride, groom and the witnesses are seated, the Registrar begins the civil ceremony by welcoming everyone.

The bride and groom will repeat a number of solemn declarations. These will include the choices you made for your legal vows and promises.

After you have exchanged vows, you and your witnesses will sign the marriage register. Following this, the Registrar will sign the register and present you with your marriage certificate.

You can request more copies of your marriage certificate by post.


The Ceremony in Brief

  • Entrance Music
  • Welcome – Presentation of the Bride
  • Introduction – Reading Option
  • Legal Statements
  • Legal Declarations
  • Rings, Promises and Contracting words
  • Reading Option
  • The Signing of the Register (with signing music)
  • Photographs
  • Presentation of the marriage certificate and conclusion
  • Exit Music



Why not take a look at the other wedding blogs on the website for more inspiration!