Where can my wedding take place?

Where can my wedding take place?

Where you hold your wedding is likely to be a vital question for you to resolve. You surely want to be married in a place that you both love.

The obvious choices

It’s simple, if you go down the full religious route. It’ll be your religious building.

It’s almost as simple if you’re having a Register Office affair. You make an appointment to attend the office, with two witnesses, and that can be it. (However, the Registrars will come out to some venues – though at quite a price!)

There’s another choice

You don’t have to be bound by those two alternatives. You can opt for the civil celebrant route, and then it’s a different ball-game.

This doesn’t negate the Registrars. You still have to get legally married first. That means making an appointment before the ceremony (as above).

The difference is that now you can also have your personalised ceremony – in the venue of your dreams.

And that means almost anywhere! It could be in your back garden or (with permission, of course) in a field next to a canal, up the Shard, at Stonehenge, by the seaside, in the Savoy Hotel, in a hot-air balloon … – well, you get the picture!


If you’re arranging the ceremony yourself, you’ll need a celebrant, and probably suppliers such as florists, photographers, make-up artists, caterers, etc.

You may want to hire a wedding planner. For the extra cost, you get peace of mind. Depending on the package you agree, every detail can be organised and overseen for you.

Regardless, you need to get permission/pay for the venue you may be using.

All this should be arranged well in advance – generally, at least a year ahead, as some of the suppliers get booked up quite early.

With all suppliers, try and get first-hand reports from people who have used them. This may be word-of-mouth or website testimonials, but speaking to them directly is important. You can ask your questions and get a feel for the supplier’s attitude.


Remember good old health and safety – especially if you’re organising everything yourself. (No trailing wires; ensure there are sufficient toilets; check signposting etc. etc.)

The bottom line is that you really can choose where (and how) to mark your big day. Of course, if you need any advice on the ceremony, just contact your friendly neighbourhood celebrant!

When can I get married?

When can I get married?

Apparently, one of the first concerns of a couple is when they can get married.

By that I mean what day of the week or season they can marry in this country. Not the legal age for marriage.

Full religious

And let’s leave full religious weddings out of the mix. Just to say that Christian weddings will usually not take place on Sundays or Jewish ones on Saturdays. They may be possible on certain festivals, and not on others. Better not to get into all that!

Suffice it to say that your best bet is to approach your minister individually!

Register Office

If you’re solely marrying at a Register Office, you must make an appointment. The two of you need to go down, along with two witnesses, for the ceremony. This will normally be on a working day (except on a Bank Holiday).

By arrangement, the registrars will come out to certain venues, provided certain criteria are met and extra fees are paid. This will often include weekends.

Such weddings have to take place between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Alternative Ceremonies

Any other ceremonies can be held at your discretion. If you are using a venue (such as a hotel, castle, stone circle), as long as you meet the venue’s conditions and you pay them (and any other suppliers, not least, the civil celebrant!), you have free choice. 

You will find that a public holiday will be a more expensive time for you, because staff have to be paid extra. You may also find that certain holidays can cause problems with guests. You could theoretically hold your wedding on Christmas Day, but that would create a dilemma for many potential attendees, especially families. It might also be difficult for venues to recruit staff then, or for suppliers to come, as there would be no public transport. You might lose out big time!

If booking during the summer holidays, give guests plenty of notice (before they book their holidays!).

Because Summer is a popular time for weddings, prices can be higher than at unfashionable times. Similarly, if you book your event for morning or afternoon, you may be able to get your venue to budge on their price.

Avoid Valentine’s Day too, if you want to cut costs.

Finally, returning to the day of the wedding, Friday and, in particular, Saturday tend to be dearest. Wednesdays, say, may be cheaper, but, if it was a destination wedding, people would have to take a lot of time off work.

Summing up

There is considerable flexibility (if you do your homework). It is a fallacy that you have to marry at the weekend, although that remains the most popular time.

Take into consideration the issues mentioned above, but feel free to make your own decision. Your big day must be when you want it!

Wedding Myths

Wedding Myths

In my role as a civil celebrant, I meet a lot of people who have been fed myths about marriage options . My goal is to bust at least a few of them!

Myth no. 1

“You can only marry in a church (or equivalent) or a register office.”

There are actually three ways you can marry.

Firstly, through your church or synagogue etc. You will have a full religious ceremony, which will include the legal bits. There isn’t much opportunity for personalising the ceremony, though.

Secondly, through your Register Office. This ceremony will not include any religious references, let alone the name of God. Like the religious ceremony, it will not be very personal to you (if at all).

The Registrars will come out to a chosen venue, if you want – but this comes at quite a financial cost!

The third option is to use a civil celebrant. This ceremony can be totally unique to you, but it will not be legal. Usually, couples get legally married by the Registrar and then move on to have the ceremony of their dreams in front of their chosen guests, which the celebrant writes and conducts.

Myth no. 2

“You have to marry in church or at the Register Office.”

Although these options are of course available, as I have suggested above, these are not the only possibilities. You can marry where you like (subject to payment, permission or agreement!).

At present, the registrars will come out and conduct their ceremony anywhere, so long as there are four solid walls. (They charge quite a bit for this, as I have indicated.) Legislation may change to allow them to perform marriages in the open air too, but this is as yet uncertain.

At present, a civil celebrant can conduct a service anywhere, indoors or outdoors. The venue can vary considerably: I have officiated at the Savoy, Stonehenge, on an exposed hilltop with fabulous views, at a canal-side sanctuary, in a (glorious) back garden – and the list goes on! You are limited only by your imagination.

Myth No. 3

“You need to take out a mortgage just to afford a wedding.”

Depending on the budget you have in mind, this may indeed not be a myth! However, as I suggest in a number of my blogs, there are ways to save money – eg https://vowsthatwow.co.uk/marriage-costs/

Obvious ways include reducing the guest list and choosing a modest venue. You can also save money by marrying out of season and even in the afternoon and midweek. Please glance through some of my suggestions.

A lot of people want to be married by a celebrant. They know they can’t dispense with the legal ceremony, and then realise they have to pay the Registrars and the Celebrant too. There is a way round this.

Go (by appointment) to the Register Office before the appointed wedding day (hours or even days before). Go with two witnesses, and you will be legally married. This will cost much less than paying the Registrars to come to your venue. The savings you make can go on hiring a celebrant for your tailor-made ceremony!

So you actually have a lot more choice than you may have realised!

I hope this has been useful in pointing out what may not be obvious. If you have any enquiries, then do contact me. If you know of any other myths that need clarification, let me know and I’ll be glad not to have to think up another subject for a blog!

So you’re engaged!

So you’re engaged!

The proposal is over and done with. You’re engaged! What an exciting time! Congratulations!

Of course, this is a wonderful period. You’re walking on air.  But maybe I can bring you down to earth just a little. There are some questions you need to consider.

Are you going to name the day now? What sort of ceremony will you have? What about the reception? Where will it be? Who will you invite?

And so it goes on …

That’s reality, I’m afraid!

First things first

If you’re opting for a full-religious ceremony, then your church/synagogue/mosque etc. will give you the information you will need.

If you’re not so sure you want to go down this route, then it’s worth reading on. Because you do have choices.


There’s a register office wedding. That covers the legal bits. However, the ceremony is, frankly, not particularly special. The service (apart from the names used) will be the same from one couple to the next. You can feel part of a ‘conveyor-belt’.

Better than this is what a civil celebrant offers. He will create and conduct a tailor-made ceremony for you. You’ll still need to go to the register office with two witnesses to get the legal bits done before the civil ceremony. (This can happen the morning before, or a couple of days before.)

If you prefer, and you’re using a licensed premises, the registrars can be booked. They’ll come along, and, as soon as they have legally married you, you can proceed with the (celebrant-led) ceremony of your choice.


One advantage of a civil ceremony is that you can have a service that is as religious – or not – as you want. Or – and this is great for people who are not marrying someone of the same faith – you can have a mixed religious ceremony. So, for example, I’ve been able to marry a Jew and a Christian, a Jewess and a Muslim and even a half-Jew and a pagan. We’ve been able to incorporate elements from both cultures each time, so everyone was happy.

The full-religious and, indeed, the Register Office, ceremonies follow a set pattern. However, with a (bespoke) celebrant-led ceremony, you can set your individual stamp on the proceedings.

Following a chat with your celebrant, who can suggest to you what is possible and guide you, you can work out a ceremony that reflects your personalities and beliefs, and will be everything you want it to be.

That means you have input into, and editorial control over, everything. You decide on the texts/poems/reading, reciting of vows, who actually participates, music, rituals etc. That’s what I mean by “tailor-made”. The ceremony will be unique: unforgettable for you and your guests; relevant and meaningful.

I can gladly give you more information. Just call or e-mail. This can be an excellent starting point for you, now that you’re engaged. Let me help you successfully tread the exhilarating road that leads to marriage.