Written by Paula Jones Last updated: March 5, 2009
A civil ceremony is quite relaxed. Talk to the registrar who will be conducting the ceremony and you’ll find that you have a lot of choice in how the ceremony is conducted.
On the day of your wedding, the usual structure is that the registrar will see the bride and groom to check that the information stated on the marriage authority is correct and to ask for their natural father’s names and occupations. Any fees due will also need to be paid at this stage.
Before the ceremony begins, all those attending should arrive in the building no later than about five minutes beforehand (so give your permanently‐late friend plenty of warning!) In some register offices and most civil venues, it’s possible for the bride to make an entrance on someone’s arm without seeing the groom beforehand, (making the appreciative look on his face on seeing you all part of the excitement!)
The superintendent registrar will then explain the legal basis of marriage in this country. You will both be asked to make declarations that you are legally free to marry one another and, provided there is no legal impediment to your marriage, you exchange marriage vows. This can be accompanied with the exchange of rings if you wish.
You are now legally married to each other… hurrah! The bride and groom are then asked to check the register carefully before signing. The two witnesses, who may be friends or relatives, will then be asked to sign.
The bride and groom will then be usually invited to lead their wedding party out and can start celebrating in style!