Who doesn’t want a perfect wedding ceremony on their big day? Ignoring the aesthetics of the big moment you need to nail it with the type of wedding ceremony you choose to have first. So what is the right type of ceremony for you, Religious, Civil or Humanist? Find out now.
Before you decide on when or where you need to think about the how. How do you want your wedding ceremony to play out? This could be the big decider when it comes to choosing what type of wedding ceremony is right for you two to have. Let’s take a look at the three different types of wedding ceremonies and what the impact would be choosing one of these for your special moment.
Type of Wedding Ceremony: Religious
Ok, so a religious wedding basically means you get married in the eyes of your God (or whichever deity you believe in). If you have a strong faith that you are committed to or follow, naturally you may want to have your wedding blessed by that religion, and you agree to have a ceremony in accordance with that religion.
So what does this mean for your wedding ceremony? It means you can expect your ceremony to have to follow a particular structure and format in accordance with the religious doctrine. So whether it is Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish etc. they will usually have a fairly standard format that you are expected to follow. It will be very unlikely you will be able to have any form of personalisation or include any personal elements in your ceremony. The actual marriage ceremony is seen as a sacred, holy ceremony, to which the faith’s customs must apply.
In the UK, most of the main religious faiths are licensed to conduct a religious ceremony which is legally binding but make sure you check with other faiths if you need to have a civil ceremony as well.
Type of Wedding Ceremony: Civil
Where a religious ceremony is getting married in the eyes of a particular faith, a civil ceremony is getting married in the eyes of the law. They are non-religious ceremonies conducted by a legal official instead of a religious one.
A civil ceremony can only be conducted in a venue that has been granted a license to do so. In most cases, they can not include any religious connotations and you will be expected to recite legally agreed vows and follow some legalities both in the run-up to the day and on the day. That being said, you are allowed to add some personalisation to your ceremony which you will have to have approved by the registrar. They are usually shorter in duration to that of a religious ceremony.
If you are considering a civil ceremony, be sure to contact your local registry office and find out what the legalities are, any formalities you will have to follow and of course any restrictions on your ceremony.
Type of Wedding Ceremony: Humanist
Although not as popular here in the UK and religious or civil ceremonies have a humanist ceremony is certainly something you may want to consider. Humanists do not believe in following religious codes, but simply following the good, strong moral codes which society asks of us. Humanist ceremonies are not constrained by any rules, they can be held at any place, at any time and a format that you want.
They are not legally binding and the only purpose is to celebrate the couple, not law or religion. For that reason, they are non-religious ceremonies and if you want your marriage recognised in the eyes of the law you will need to take care of the paperwork at the register office. As a result, they are completely bespoke, tailor-made wedding ceremonies.
A humanist ceremony will take more time to prepare and you will be expected to work with the celebrant to handcraft your perfect wedding ceremony. The length will very much depend on what you agree to have in your ceremony, music, poems, cultural rituals etc.
Now you know the very basics of whats involved with a religious, civil or humanist ceremony it is time for you two to decide what stands out for you when you consider what you want from your wedding ceremony? Is it being blessed in the eyes of a particular faith, having a legally binding marriage, or a completely unique personal celebration of your love?
Choose the right type of ceremony for you two and the rest of the day will fall in to place around this because, at the end of the day, the ceremony really is what counts on a wedding day.
Feature image: Caro Weiss Photography