Tags: Bride Debate

Bride Debate: A civil ceremony Vs a church wedding

06 Dec 2019

Bride editors Amanda Griffiths (magazines) and Sarah Harris (digital) discuss the merits of a church wedding and a civil ceremony

Image: Thomas AE via Unsplash

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When it comes to your wedding ceremony, there are many options available to you - however there are two ways which are legally binding. Here, Bride's editors share why they made different choices for their wedding ceremony. 

Sarah Harris chose a civil ceremony for her wedding to Jon in April 2019

"Neither Jon nor I are religious, so a civil wedding was always our preferred type of ceremony. I felt a church wedding would be too traditional for the type of wedding I wanted, which was a low-key, relaxed celebration and I worried that the formal setting of a church would make me more nervous than I already was."

"We decided on our wedding venue quite quicky - a small hotel in my hometown of Usk, South Wales. It is licensed for civil ceremonies, so the fact that we could have the whole wedding day in one place sealed the deal for us.

"We gave our notice at the council office a few months before the wedding and the rest of the arrangements, including personalising our ceremony with readings and vows, were made via email. We met the registrar at our venue on the morning of the wedding and she explained the pre-wedding interviews and the ceremony itself, which put both of us at ease. The entire process was smooth and professional and we felt we were in safe hands throughout. 

"Whatever your faith or belief, you should choose the wedding that feels right for both of you. It may mean compromising if one of you feels more strongly but whether you choose a church wedding or civil ceremony the end goal is the same."

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Image: Nick Murray Photography

Amanda Griffiths opted for a church ceremony for her wedding to Andrew Woollacott in May 2015

"There was one thing in particular Andrew and I agreed on when we decided to get married - and that was that we wanted a church ceremony. We're not regular churchgoers but we liked the idea of our marriage being blessed by a higher power. 

"We married at St Peter's Church in Easton, Norwich - a pretty little church where Andrew's sister and brother-in-law married and their son was christened, so we had a connection.

"Unfortunately, it isn't in our parish but after talking to the vicar at St Peter's, she was happy for us to be married there because of the connections.

"To marry there we had to attend their services for at least six months before the wedding and to have our banns read out both there and in our own parish church. 

"We enjoyed going to the Sunday morning services and being part of the community and continued our visits months after the actual ceremony - although now, life seems to have got in the way again. But we know, one hundred per cent, that when we're able to go, whether it's once a month or once a year, we will be welcomed back with open arms. 

"On our wedding day, it was so nice to see members of the church congregation there to share our special day."

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Image: Lisa Aldersley Photography

What we agree on: You should choose the ceremony that is right for you. There are all types of ceremonies, allowing you to marry in the place of your dreams. So don't rule anything out. 

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