Guide to Civil Weddings
Each year there are approx 300,000 weddings in the UK and more and more are non-religious civil ceremonies. You have far more freedom on where to have your wedding as long as the venue is approved and licensed to hold weddings under the Marriage Act.
In Leicestershire & Rutland there are a great selection of establishments from stately homes, hotels and castles, to simple registrar offices – so you should have a wide choice of venues. Also many of these can also host your reception afterwards and most are well orgnised to look after your requirements and will help plan your special day.
Please note by law you cannot marry outside in a marquee or temporary shelter it has to be a licensed room.
A Civil Wedding Ceremony is conducted by a Registrar and can include music, poetry and readings – the choice is yours.
Your Guide to Civil Venues
There are many licensed venues in Leicester and the counties of Leicestershire & Rutland to choose from.
Your first step should be to make a reservation at the venue of your choice and they will be able to tell you which Registrar Office is responsible for the area in which your venue is located.
At the time of contacting the particular Register Office the Superintendent Registrar will advise you of the attendance fee payable for the two registration officers to conduct and register your marriage at the approved venue. He/she will also advise you on how to begin the legal preliminaries for your wedding by giving what is known as your “notice of intention to marry”.
When you have decided on the venue for your wedding both of you will need to begin the legal preliminaries by giving notice of intention to marry at the Register Office in whose district you reside.
At the time of giving your notice of intention to marry both of you must have been where you are living for the seven days immediately prior to giving notice. You will both need to give your own notice of your intention to marry. This can be done up to 12 months prior to your wedding.
Many Register Offices use an appointment system to avoid you having a lengthy wait before being interviewed by the Superintendent Registrar. We therefore recommend that you contact the Office prior to attending.
When you give your notice of intention to marry you must be able to declare that both of you are free to marry each other. You will need to provide certain documents as evidence of your full names, ages, nationalities, marital status and addresses.
Before attending the Register Office to give your ‘notice of intention to marry’ you should telephone them to make an appointment.
Church Wedding vs Civil?
You should think carefully on whether a church wedding or civil wedding would be more appropriate. The church wedding is a religious ceremony with the traditional hymns etc. But a civil ceremony has no religious aspect. You can of course have a civil ceremony and then a blessing if one or more of you have religious beliefs. A blessing may also not have any reference to religion but may be a another way of symbolising a further commitment to each other. Civil wedding venues can usually host your ceremony and reception at the same location making the whole day easier to plan with less travelling for you and the guests. These are licensed premises by the Registrar and you will find a list of them for Leicestershire & Rutland on this site. Church weddings however are usually less expensive with approximate costs of around £350 and the traditional aspect of a church wedding is still very popular for many reasons.