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Planning your ceremony

Before having your marriage or civil partnership ceremony, there are several important things you need to do.

Published on: 3 December 2020

Last updated: 4 February 2021

Civil ceremonies

We offer a choice of ceremony scripts, which you can view by going to our ceremonies website.

Please ensure you also read our FAQs for the most up to date information.

Once you have chosen your ceremony wording and are ready to let us know, please complete this ceremony planner so that we know exactly how you would like your ceremony to proceed. Be sure to submit it at least a week before your ceremony.
 

The words highlighted in bold within each of the ceremony scripts are legal contractual words which must be spoken during your marriage ceremony and cannot be removed or altered.  

It is important not to include anything of a religious nature or any religious connotations. For example, there cannot be any readings from any religious text or any hymns played during the ceremony. The words, "…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part" are from the Church of England Book of Common Prayer, so therefore cannot be included in a civil ceremony as they stand.

Readings

You are welcome to add short, non-religious readings into your ceremony. Again, please ensure you do not incorporate anything of a religious nature or any religious connotations. All our ceremony scripts indicate where you may consider placing the readings. 

Personal vows

You are welcome to exchange short, non-religious personal vows during your ceremony. We usually suggest that this takes place prior to the exchange of rings, but we are happy to consider other suggestions that you may have. 

Music

You are welcome to have non-religious music during your ceremony, either live or recorded. Music is usually played whilst guests wait for the ceremony to begin, for the start of the ceremony, for the signing of the register and for the close of ceremony.