Can I Have My Wedding or Civil Partnership Anywhere?

File:Modern-ftn-pen-cursive.jpgTechnically speaking, no.

Weddings and civil partnerships can only be legally performed in venues that have been approved for use by the local council. Whether it's in a church, hotel, registry office or hall - you can't be married there without prior authorization. If you're looking to authorise a venue for weddings then find out how here

You can't apply for a license to hold a wedding in a field or on a beach either. In fact, if you stuck to the rules then you'd probably find yourself with a pretty limited scope of venues.

There is a way around it, however.

All you have to do is separate the legal element of the wedding or civil partnership from the actual ceremony.  So, either on the morning of your wedding, or a few days before, you can go to a registry office with your witnesses and before a registrar complete the legal side of things. There's no need for rings or formal outfits. You're literally just getting the marriage certificate.

You'll need to say:

"I do solemly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I (say your name) may not be joined in matrimony to (say your partner's name).

And then...

"I call upon these persons here present to witness that I (say your name) do take thee (partner's name) to be my lawful wedded wife/husband"

For a marriage, these are non-negotiable but are not necessary for a civil partnership. You then sign the register, and that's it. There's no need to invite anyone else; you could literally do it on a lunch break.

Now, it doesn't sound very romantic, does it? But that isn't all. Once you're legally married (in the sense that you're relationship is now recognised by law) you can have a wedding ceremony anywhere.


Okay, it's the pomp and ceremony of a wedding that makes it memorable and enjoyable. No one ever said "Oh, wasn't it lovely how we sat around and watched them sign the register." And yet, it's exactly the legal bit that ties your ceremony to an authorized venue: it's this boring bit that restricts your choices.

It's why you can't get married in a plane, in a meadow, up a mountain, in an orchard, by a riverside, in your back garden or in a pub.

The legal element of a wedding has to take place somewhere dignified and respectable and according to the law, that isn't in a tree house, or in the middle of a field of bluebells and it most certainly wouldn't be in the barn of a working farm. So, if you have your heart set on any one of these places: get the certificate and then have your ceremony; you know, the fun bit.

Using a Celebrant

Of course, you'll still want someone to lead the ceremony and the best way of doing this is with a celebrant. These are the professionals who officiate at weddings, funerals, naming ceremonies and most other social occasions often in place of a priest or a registrar. They will help plan, shape and guide the ceremony so that you and your partner have the day you want. The great thing about celebrants is that they're very open minded. With them, a ceremony can be as religious, or as non-religious, as you like. There's no template in the way that there is in most other weddings: the design is entirely yours. What's best is there's no conveyor belt effect; there isn't someone waiting outside for the next wedding and the celebrant doesn't have to officiate the next couple's wedding; you've not got a 'slot'; there's no one-size-fits-all approach. If you want a Gothic wedding in a graveyard halfway up a mountain with the vows conducted in Klingon then good for you: this is how you'd do it.

Celebrants can work with priests, imams, priestesses and rabbis, too. Given that same-sex couples are often isolated from organised religion, it's a fantastic acknowledgement to faith that would be unavailable in a registry office. Celebrants are often willing to travel, too, so there's never been a better opportunity to have the right person overseeing your perfect day.

So, don't allow your wedding to be held hostage by the legal side of things. Separate it from the ceremony and you'll be able to be married (almost) anywhere.

We've got some fantastic celebrants in our directory, so why not get in touch with them and see what they can offer you and your partner.

Pink Champagne Ceremonies

"An increasing number of couples now feel that they want a more inspiring Ceremony that not only reflects how they feel but one which everyone attending can feel part of and enjoy. 
With your help I can write a Ceremony for you which is customised, personal and unique.  Together we can create a Ceremony which will combine an air of formailty with the joy of celebration and which will reflect what you really want.  Your family and friends can share in your happiness and witness your commitment to each other.  They may also want to contribute to the ceremony by presenting a reading, saying a few words or by playing some live music during the ceremony Ceremonies can be held at any location of your choice and at any time of day.  
 The Ceremony itself can take place either indoors or outdoors, although this will depend upon the suitability of the Venue.Your ceremony can be held in your own garden, a hotel or a beautiful park.  Then again it can just as easily be held by a river, in a wood on the top of a hill or on a beach - the choice is endless but the choice is ALWAYS YOURS"

Contact them: here

About Cherish Ceremonies

"Professionally trained, I consider my role as a Celebrant to be a privilege, not a job.  I will only ever carry out one ceremony each day.    I am available throughout the Midlands, although I also travel further, including to European venues for those gorgeous destination weddings.Whether your taste is classic or quirky, romantic or fun, I can provide the right ceremony for you. I donate a percentage of my fee to one of 3 charities I am supporting for 2013:  The Wedding Wishing Well Foundation (for terminally ill brides or grooms), Help for Heroes, or the Terrence Higgins Trust"

Contact Cherish Ceremonies here / Twitter / Facebook

About Just Celebrations

"Just Celebrations delivers professional, personalised, commemorative civil partnership ceremonies. I am passionate about what I do. I pride myself in making your day memorable for all the right reasons!Visit my website for video clips and FAQs.Based in Warwickshire, in the Heart of the Midlands, I am happy to travel nationwide if you feel that I am the person for you…."

Contact Just Celebrations here / Twitter/ Facebook

About Vows That Wow

"Let me help you create your dream ceremony for your special day! Professionally trained, I shall work with you to draw up a bespoke ceremony entirely consistent with your beliefs and desires.My passion is: ceremonies with the personal touch".

Contact Vows That Wow here / Facebook / Twitter

We'd love to hear about whether or not you've used a celebrant or if you had a unique venue. Drop us a comment, an email or get in touch via our social media networks.

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