Falling in love, getting engaged, and planning your marriage to the person of your dreams is meant to be romantic and a celebration of love. However there is a less romantic side to getting married as it is the legal union of two people, who are joined together after they have obtained a marriage license from the state registrar. The law of the land defines the rights and responsibilities of your marriage relationship, which you and your partner may modify by creating a premarital (or prenuptial) agreement.
Every country has a legal process that must be followed to the letter of the law in order to be legally married. For example in France and Germany all couples have to be legally married in the town hall before they can have a member of clergy, humanist, or celebrant conduct their wedding ceremony. In Scotland all couples must obtain and complete the “Marriage Notice Application Form M10” from the registrar in the district in which the marriage is to take place.
If they are to be married by a religious or humanist officiant they need to collect the marriage schedule that will be signed by the couple, two witnesses and the officiant during the wedding service and then lodged at the registrars on the next working day. Alternatively the couple can to book the service room and have a secular wedding ceremony conducted by the registrar. By definition religious celebrants have to follow the rules of their religious institutions when conducting a wedding. Likewise humanist celebrants have to adhere the humanist society’s rules and philosophy. Registrars have rules and guidelines set by the state and there is very little wriggle room.
However there is a way to separate the legal requirements and still have the ceremony of your dreams. That is to follow the process outlined above regarding the “Marriage Notice Application Form M10” and once the registrar has checked the paperwork and is satisfied you can return to the registrar office in your casual clothes with two witness for a short five to ten minute ceremony – which I believe is unnecessary - and sign the paperwork. In Scotland the registrars insist on this, but this is not the case in every country.
You are now free to work with your chosen celebrant to design the wedding ceremony of your dreams. Your wedding ceremony is truly the most important part of the wedding day and using a Wedding Celebrant allows you all the flexibility you’d wish for. You will be able to have your wedding ceremony however you choose and it’ll be entirely up to you how the whole occasion flows and reflects your personal beliefs and lifestyle. You will choose your own vows, readings, poems, music, venue, decor and anything else you fancy, without restriction. All other forms of wedding ceremonies have to follow certain rules and formula.
When I conduct such weddings we sign a specially printed commemorative marriage certificate during the wedding ceremony at your venue. I also give couples a professionally printed booklet containing their bespoke ceremony which they will be able to keep as a memento or record of their big day.
© Chris Vermeulen