There are many reasons to have a registry office wedding; some couples need to get the legal bit done before they jet off on their destination wedding or hold their humanist ceremony, while others might choose a registry office wedding because it’s a more budget friendly option.
If it’s your second wedding, you might not want the fuss of a full ceremony, so a registry office seems a good option, or perhaps you simply want to marry the love of your life without any frills.
For couples holding a registry office wedding just to get the legal bit out of the way, it can seem more of a box ticking exercise than something to be enjoyed, but we think there’s every reason to make your registry office wedding that extra bit special.
Lots of brides we speak to mention feeling worried that having a quick registry office wedding before their big day, to get the legals in place, will make their wedding feel less special, however we think seeing the two as separate entities is the way to go.
Read on for our advice for making your registry office wedding special.
Who to Pick as Wedding Witnesses
If you’re having a very small registry office ceremony with just you and two witnesses, it can be tempting to have two strangers act as witnesses to avoid offending anyone, but your witnesses can add a very special feel to your big day, especially if you pick two people who mean a lot to you as a couple.
For couples who are solely having a low-key registry office wedding, you could ask close friends to be your witnesses, or even grandparents for an extra sentimental touch.
If you’re having a big wedding after your registry office wedding, it’s likely a lot of your closest friends will already be in the bridal party, so it’s a nice gesture to ask someone different to be your witness – perhaps the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom, seeing as they often don’t have any duties on the actual wedding day.
Choosing Wedding Ceremony Scripts
Some registry offices offer a choice of different scripts (examples here from Westminster’s registry offices), depending on how you want your wedding to be.
You can change and edit the scripts, from altering one word to a whole paragraph, just let your registrar know you’re planning to do this. Deviating from the standard script will make the ceremony feel more personal, even if it is just the two of you and your witnesses.
Readings for Registry Office Weddings
At registry office weddings you can have any short, non-religious readings of your choice. The ceremony scripts will indicate where you can add in readings if you wish.
Read our guide to choosing a civil ceremony reading to find the perfect one for you.
To make it special, why not choose a passage from a film or book that means a lot to you and your partner, or even song lyrics or a poem?
Wedding Vows at Registry Office Weddings
One way to make your registry office wedding really personal is to write your own vows to exchange during the ceremony.
You normally recite these just before you exchange the rings, but if you’d like to say them at a different time, talk to your registrar and they may be able to rejig the running order.
Choosing Music for Your Registry Office Wedding
Music is the easiest way to make your registry office wedding personal, especially if you get embarrassed talking about your feelings, or don’t like pubic speaking, making performing readings difficult.
You can play any non-religious music during your ceremony, be it live or recorded. You can select songs to play at the start of the ceremony, during the signing of the register and for the end of the ceremony.
It might seem weird playing music when there are no guests present, but it’s an easy way to help you and your partner relax.
Some couples find it hard to choose a first dance song, maybe because they have too many ideas, or because the songs they love aren’t appropriate for a first dance, so playing them during your registry office wedding is a great way to include the music that means most to you in your wedding.
From “your song” to lyrics that remind you of your time together, choosing sentimental music is the perfect way to personalise your day.
Other Ways to Make Your Registry Office Wedding Special
As well as choosing personal music, readings and writing your own vows, there are plenty of other ways to add a special touch to your registry office wedding.
While it’s not the norm to decorate the registry office with flowers, carrying a bouquet is a lovely way to make you feel bridal. The groom could wear a buttonhole which matches for some cute coordination.
Your wedding day outfit is a great way to make you feel special too. Lots of brides feel like a full princess wedding dress is too much for a registry office wedding, but it’s your day, and if that’s what you’ve always dreamed of, we see no reason not to wear a traditional wedding dress!
If you want something bridal, but less of a statement, check out our gallery of simple and chic wedding dresses.
For brides who don’t want to wear a wedding dress, make yourself feel special by buying a new outfit – no matter how relaxed it is, wearing something new for the occasion will help the day stand out as one to remember.
Getting your hair and make up done is another way to make the day feel special – you needn’t spend the earth on a wedding make up artist or hairdresser, just going somewhere local for a blow dry will make you feel preened to perfection. Looking like the best version of yourself is always on trend!
A popular way to make a registry office wedding feel special is to go for a nice meal afterwards. We’re not talking a traditional wedding breakfast, just a romantic meal for the two of you, or even a meal with your closest family and friends to mark the fact you’ve just married the love of your life.
If you decide to invite friends and family along to a meal to commemorate your registry office wedding, an idea we love is getting all of your guests to sign a mini guest book. While you’re unlikely to receive wedding cards and gifts if you don’t invite anyone along to the ceremony, having everyone write well wishes in a book is just as lovely.
For more ceremony inspiration, read our ideas on how to organise an amazing small wedding.