A wedding is a celebration of love, commitment, and the beginning of a lifelong journey together. In the UK, couples have the freedom to choose from a variety of wedding ceremonies that reflect their unique personalities, values and cultural backgrounds. In this blog post, I, along with wedding celebrant Kelly Hawes, will explore some of the different types of wedding ceremonies available to couples in the UK, each offering a distinct and memorable way to marry. “You can literally choose the person that will be stood with you, officiating your wedding,” Kelly begins.
For couples who wish to incorporate their faith into their wedding day, religious ceremonies are a cherished option. The UK boasts a rich diversity of religious traditions, including Anglican, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, and more. Each religious ceremony comes with its unique rituals, customs and symbols, allowing couples to celebrate their union in accordance with their faith and cultural background. Most religious ceremonies follow a script for the service, and there isn’t much space for any personalisation. "It is worth noting that, in the UK, not all religious ceremonies are legally binding, and further research should be conducted into each one," advises Kelly.
Civil ceremonies have become increasingly popular in the UK for couples who prefer a non-religious celebration. Civil ceremonies provide a flexible and personalised way for couples to exchange vows and legally bind their union. The focus is on the couple's commitment to each other, making it an ideal choice for those who want a simple yet meaningful ceremony. Civil ceremonies are conducted by a registrar from the council, can take place at either a local registry office or a venue with a license. These ceremonies tend to follow a script, usually the couple have a choice of two or three, but their own readings and vows can be included to be more personal. Registry office weddings are ideal for those only wanting a small ceremony. Only permanent roofed buildings that are immovable are deemed suitable for licensing, meaning no marquee or outdoor venues will be approved. Kelly advises, “If you are choosing a ceremony at a venue rather than in a place of worship, civil ceremonies will not allow any religious or spiritual content.” Civil ceremonies at licensed venues are good for those couples wanting to keep the wedding in one location, knowing that the ceremony is legally binding, and can be followed by the reception at the same venue.
Celebrant-led weddings have gained popularity in recent years, offering a unique alternative with a focus on a couple's personal story and their ethics. Conducted by trained celebrants, these ceremonies are highly customisable, allowing couples to shape the content to reflect their beliefs, values and personal journey. “My style of celebrancy is fun and modern, where I will create a celebration of your love and characters, just the way you like,” says Kelly when explaining how celebrants work. These ceremonies often take place in various venues, providing the couple with the freedom to choose a location that resonates with their story. Currently in the UK, celebrant-led services are not legally binding, meaning that couples will need to complete the legalities of marriage another time, however, celebrant-led ceremonies are allowed to include religious beliefs, unlike civil ceremonies. Kelly adds, “Celebrate your love with a ceremony that’s all about you, that has your personalities shining through and which will see you and your guests relax and having fun.”
As couples embark on the journey of planning their wedding in the UK, the options are as diverse as the love they share. “Couples put so much thought and effort into the personal choices they make for their wedding,” Kelly explains, “choose a ceremony which will suit you and your taste, needs and vibe.” Whether opting for a civil ceremony, embracing religious traditions, celebrating personal values, exploring interfaith harmony, or choosing a themed or destination wedding, the UK provides a rich tapestry of choices for couples to weave their love stories into the fabric of their chosen ceremony. Each ceremony type offers a beautiful way for couples to express their commitment and create lasting memories that reflect their personalities and beliefs.
Kelly Hawes is a qualified and insured independent Celebrant based in Hertfordshire. She works closely with her couples to create something unique, fun and a remarkable experience for all involved.
Head to her website today to book a free discovery call, and to hear how Kelly can help ensure your wedding ceremony is truly unforgettable.
Kelly Hawes - Wedding Celebrant
Social Media: @kellyhcelebrant