Top tips on organising your civil ceremony

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Civil ceremony celebrations

Whether you see a traditional church wedding as outdated, are not particularly religious or are marrying someone of a different faith, a civil ceremony might be the best option for you as a couple. It’s also ideal for those wanting to focus more on the celebration than the actual wedding formalities themselves.

And the good news is, you don’t have to get married in a registry office. The law changed in 1995 and there are now many beautiful locations that hold licenses for carrying out marriages. So, with this in mind, here’s how to organise the civil ceremony of your dreams.

Choose your location

Every couple is different. So be sure to talk about your expectations. Want to get married by the sea in a beautifully tranquil setting? Then wedding venues in Kent including the Hythe Imperial Hotel won’t disappoint. Our wedding packages in Kent include Sunday Weddings, December Weddings, Imperial Weddings and a Gazebo Wedding package if you fancy an outdoor summer wedding. The choice is yours, with all packages offering a host of luxuries from a red-carpet arrival to a three-course breakfast including tea, coffee and chocolates.

Think about the specifics

When choosing your wedding package, room or location, think about numbers. How many people will you invite? Will your guests fit in a grand ballroom comfortably? Or would you prefer a more intimate setting? Do you want to get married indoors or out, and will it fit in with the season? Summer weddings al fresco can be wonderful, whereas you’ll want to feel snug and warm inside during winter.

Obtain a Marriage Certificate

If you’re planning a civil ceremony, there are some legal requirements to keep in mind. Firstly, you’ll need a Marriage Certificate. This can be obtained from a Superintendent Registrar in the district where you live. You must have lived in the district for at least 7 days, so if you’ve recently moved to a new area, give yourself time to settle in before seeking your certificate. Both you and your partner will need to apply in person to your local office. The certificate should be issued within 15 days and will be valid for 12 months. So, of course, you’ll need to tie the knot within this specific time frame.

Know what you can and can’t say

There are some other rules to follow when it comes to having a civil ceremony. Firstly, none of the vows, songs or readings can have religious references. So, if you’ve asked friends or family to read a poem or to say something meaningful, make sure they know the civil ceremony guidelines.

With regards to vows, the law states that you must include the words, “I XXX, do take you, XXX, to be my lawful wedded husband” and vice versa. But that doesn’t mean you can’t personalise your ceremony. You can actually add whatever you like within reason (remember the religion rule above), but run everything past your Registrar just to be sure you’re doing things right.

You should also note that some registry offices and venues don’t allow confetti. So again, speak to your chosen venue before progressing your wedding prep.

Contact the Hythe Imperial Hotel today for more information about our Kent weddings.