INSPO - INFO - FAQ's
WILL MY MARRIAGE BE LEGAL?
No. My Ceremonies and Blessings are not legal at the moment. Celebrants are campaining to have this changed. If you would like your ceremony to be legalised, you may book an appointment with the local Registry Office and have the legal service before of after, then come to me so we can create an awesome Ceremony of your choice, exactly how you would like it.
DOES IT MATTER WHAT RELIGION, FAITH OR CULTURE WE BELONG TO?
No. I custom create my Ceremonies/Blessings to suit each individual couple and will incorporate any ideas, traditions, readings or symbolism that you would like, to give you a ceremony that is as unique as you both are.
WHERE CAN WE HOLD OUR CEREMONY?
Anywhere that is safe, above or below ground or on water… in a cave, up a tree, on a boat.. You decide!
CAN IT BE OUTDOORS?
Yes, I love doing outdoor ceremonies in the wild Cornish Landscape. It makes us all feel grounded and connected to the land and it makes for amazing, atmospheric photographs for you to treasure.
WHEN CAN WE HAVE OUR CEREMONY?
Sunrise, sunset, full moon and any time in between. The choice is yours.
CAN YOU RECOMMEND ANY VENUES OR LOCATIONS?
Yes, I can advise on many wonderful, beautiful locations and venues.
HOW LONG DOES A CEREMONY LAST?
The average Ceremony lasts for 20-40 mins depending on what readings, music, poems or symbolic ceremony you have included.
WILL WE BE ABLE TO MEET BEFORE?
If you are visiting Cornwall, or are local, we may be able to meet face-to-face. If not we will be able to Skype or chat over the phone.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CELEBRANT AND A REGISTRAR?
The Registrar is not allowed to include any religious/spiritual content into the ceremony and has to stick to a script. You would not be able to personalise your ceremony in any way but you can say your own vows. You are also only allowed 30 mins for the ceremony and would not previously meet the person who does the service.
A Celebrant is independent so can provide you with a custom, personalised wedding script. You would be able to meet them beforehand and your ceremony can include any symbolic, religious, personal content that you want and be as long or as short as you like.
WILL I NEED A REHEARSAL?
If you are having an Elopement Ceremony, there is no need to have a rehearsal as it will usually just be the two of you. If you are having a Micro-Wedding then you may decide to have one but as there will only be 10/20 people at most, it is often not necessary.
HANDFASTING - WHAT IS IT?
Are you wanting to include a Handfasting ritual but need to know more?
Here is a short definition for you to begin with -
Handfasting is an Ancient Celtic Ritual where the hands/wrists are tied together with ribbons, cords or fabric to symbolise the binding of two lives together.
This ritual is often used in Wiccan or Celtic/Pagan Wedding Ceremonies to publicly declare your intent to marry (Betrothal) and would usually last for a ‘year and a day’. For your wedding ceremony it would be for ‘as long as love lasts’ or ‘for eternity’. Handfasting Ceremonies in these traditions usually have Spiritual significance are a complete ceremony in themselves.
Hand-tying, however, has become popular in mainstream religious and secular wedding ceremonies around the world. There are many ways to include and personalize these rituals into your ceremony. Your ribbons, ropes, cords or fabric can be different widths, textures and thickness and be woven together in groups of 3, 4, 6 or even 9 or even just the 1.
There is no right or wrong way to perform your Handfasting Ceremony.
If you are having a Pagan/Celtic/Wiccan Handfasting there are certain parts of the ritual which are similar eg. Creating a Sacred Space, Calling in, welcoming and honouring the Elements, Gods/Goddesses. The structure and wording will differ but the Intention is the same.
If you are taking the secular approach and including a much shortened version eg. just tying your cords in colours that have meaning to you, during your wedding ceremony, here are a few options of where to include it. You and your Celebrant can decide where it works best for your ceremony.
After a reading and near the beginning of your ceremony you may include the handfasting ritual wording and your knot will be tied and the bindings taken off your hands before your Vows and Ring Exchange. This leaves you with 2 free hands if you need to hold your vow booklet and when you exchange your rings.
Just before your vows, you may begin your handfasting ritual so that you can tie the knot straight after your vows, sealing in your promises. Your cords are then removed before your ring exchange. This is usually where I place it in the ceremony.
Your handfasting can be done after your vows and ring exchange, near the end of your ceremony and before your closing words.
The choice is yours - which one works for you?
Sample Handfasting Ritual
Most couples like to have vows during their handfasting. Your handfasting vows can either replace your wedding vows or be in addition to them. The following sample portion of a handfasting script is just one of many possible styles and choice of wording. Together we will create your unique handfasting script and vows, using your choice of wording and colors. Please remember that each couple is unique and your handfasting ceremony will be yours alone.
Your Celebrant will remind you that your Handfasting ritual is an outward representation of your union and the knot is a visual symbol of the binding of your lives and hearts together.
eg. These cords are a symbol of the connection and love you both share.
As your hands are bound together outwardly, so too, will your lives and hearts be bound together inwardly.
Take a moment to feel the hands that will love you and hold you through the years...
The next stage might be explaining your colour meanings to you guests (if there are any present).
The cords, ribbons will be placed singularly as you do this or alternatively if you have your different colours all braided together, the cord will be held up so your guests can see the colours and then placed over your hands after the explanation.
Below is an example of wording to use if your bindings are kept separate.
If you are using a single braided cord, this wording would need to be adapted to suit.
This wording includes an example of where to add in additional vows.
"The first binding is made with white, symbolic of Air,
that your love may be as limitless as the sky, and filled with spirit."
[The white cord is draped over the couple's hands.
"Will you share yourselves freely and generously with each other, making time to be together?"
"The second binding is made with red, symbolic of Fire,
that your love may be bright and passionate."
[The red cord is draped over the couple's hands.]
"Will you both help each other to grow in passion and creativity?"
"The third binding is made with dark blue, symbolic of Water,
that your love may flow and fill you to your depths."
[The dark blue cord is draped over the couple's hands.]
"Will you each seek to ease the other's pain and suffering,
sharing laughter and joy?"
"The fourth binding is made with green, symbolic of Earth,
that your love may be wise and nurturing, and your happiness abundant."
[The green cord is draped over the couple's hands.]
"Will you strive to keep your romance alive through daily actions and words of encouragement?"
When we are ready to tie the knot I will say something like this….
These cords around your hands I bind.. For love..for life...one heart...one mind!
[All your cords are tied together.]
"You are now bound together, your two lives joined by love and trust into one life."
“Your hands and hearts are bound together.
You will now exchange rings to symbolize this connection.
Your rings will be worn on your finger as a constant reminder of the preciousness and permanence of the bond you both share.
The Handfasting cord is removed, without untying it, and Rings exchanged.
The Handfasting Ritual will be over and the next stage is the exchange of Rings if you have used option 2.
Now that you have chosen where you would like to include your handfasting ritual and have some idea of your wording, the next thing is to choose your colours.
These can have symbolic meanings for you or you may just like certain colours which match your colour scheme of the day.
I have included a table of different colours and their meanings to help you choose based on the symbolic meanings if you so wish.
If you would like any further information or have any questions, please just get in touch.
I look forward to creating a Handfasting Ritual for you - which colours will you choose!
MEANING OF SOME COLOURS
Black: pure love, wisdom, success, strength
Blue: fidelity, longevity, strength, safe journey
Brown: Nurturing, home and hearth, healing
Gold:wisdom, prosperity, longevity
Gray: balance, neutrality
Green:fertility and growth, love, luck, prosperity, nurturing
Orange: kindness, encouragement, adaptability, attraction
Pink: love, happiness, unity, romance, honor, truth
Purple: spiritual strength, power, health, healing
Red: passion, love, courage, strength, health, vigor
Silver: protection, inspiration and vision, creativity
White: purity, serenity, peace, truth, devotion
Yellow: harmony, balance, attraction confidence
SORTING OUT YOUR LEGALS? EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW!
With Cornwall being one of the top wedding destinations in the U.K, we have couples travelling here from all over the world for their elopement or small wedding with us in Cornwall. We often get asked various questions on how to get married legally in the U.K.
Having an outdoor Celebrant-led Wedding is not legal in the U.K at the moment but the Government is looking at changing this.
The laws at present have been in existence since the early 1800’s so are outdated and not relevant to modern day Marriages. Most of our couples are aware that outdoor ceremonies are not legal. Those that would like to legalise their marriage have a ‘no-frills’ legal signing appointment at their local Registry Office which usually takes about 15 minutes. No vows or exchanging of rings is required to legalise your marriage.
We want to answer some of your concerns regarding the ‘legalities’ as best we can to help make your wedding journey simpler and easier to navigate.
Getting Legally Married?
You can get married with a civil ceremony or a religious ceremony.
You must be -
single, divorced, or widowed;
over 16 years old
not related to one another
If you're under 18 years old in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland you will need parental permission.
On the day of the legal ceremony,
two witnesses must be present
We offer our services as your witnesses (for a small fee) at either the Helston Registry Office or the Penzance Office. Other Registry offices by request. firstname.lastname@example.org
You must give at least 29 days notice at your local register office.
You must have lived in the district for at least seven days.
It's only valid for 12 months
What Documents Do I Need?
Your local council website will tell you exactly what you need to take to your appointment but as a general rule you will need to take the following to the local registry office of the district that you intend to get married in:
Proof of name (e.g. valid passport)
Proof of age (e.g. birth certificate)
Proof of any name changes
Proof of nationality (e.g. valid passport, national identity card)
Proof of address (e.g. valid driving licence, recent utility bill, etc.)
A decree absolute or final order (if applicable)
The death certificate of your former partner (if applicable)
Entry visa (if applicable)
Details of where and when you intend to get married.
If you've changed your name, been married before or you're not a British national then you will need extra documents. Your council utility bills have to be dated from the past 3 months and bank statements have to be dated from the past month.
Getting Married To A Foreign National In The U.K.
We have couples Eloping to Cornwall from all around the world.
Here is some information for you. Requirements for non-UK nationals, to enter the UK to get married vary greatly depending on the couple’s situation. You may need to apply for a Family of a Settled Person visa or a Marriage or Civil Partnership Visitor visa to enter the country. This government guide to marriages and partnerships has more information on visa requirements. www.gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships
How Much Does a Legal Marriage Cost?
As a general guideline, you can find some of your costs listed here.
The Marriage and Civil Partnership Visitor visa can start from £95 to apply.
You each need to pay a £35 fee when you attend the register office.
The fee is £47 if you or your partner are from outside the EU.
Marriage certificate costs £11
If you’ve had a divorce you’ll have to pay a fee of about £50
For the civil ceremony itself, the costs are from £90 if you have it at a register office.
For religious ceremonies, this will depend on the church you’ve chosen.
For the Church of England, this usually amounts to around £550
For Catholic churches, it ranges from around £200.
For a humanist ceremony, you will have to pay your celebrant a fee as they operate independently. This varies from around £500 to £1,200.
If you’re in a civil partnership and want to convert it into a marriage, the cost is usually from about £11 for a marriage certificate, £45 for the conversion and £27 for an appointment. These costs only cover the basic legal requirements..
Can Same-sex Couples Legally Marry In The U.K.
The laws have changed quite dramatically over the last decade so here is an update for you.
Same sex couples can legally marry in civil and in some religious ceremonies in England and Wales.
It is not compulsory to have a ceremony to form a civil partnership, you both just sign the civil partnership document.
At present, you cannot marry in the Church of England or Church of Wales.
Where Can I Legally Get Married?
To get married legally in the UK, your marriage must take place on government-approved premises.
Here is a list of your choices -
a Register Office
premises approved by the local authority such as a hotel
a church of the Church of England, Church in Wales
a synagogue or any other private place if both partners are Jewish
a Meeting House if one or both partners are either members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) or are associated with the Society by attending meetings
any registered religious building (England and Wales only)
the home of one of the partners if the partner is housebound or detained, for example, in prison
a place where one partner is seriously ill and not expected to recover, for example, in hospital
a licensed naval, military or air force chapel
A note to remember here is that ‘Marriage’ is the legal contract and the ‘Wedding’ is the fun bit to celebrate your contracted union or just your commitment if having a non-legal ceremony.
Can I Have My Wedding Outdoors Anywhere eg. On The Beach Or In My Garden?
Yes you can!
Having a Celebrant-led Wedding Ceremony with us, outdoors (or indoors) is all about FREEDOM.
You will be able to have your wedding anywhere you want eg. beaches, caves, clifftops, forests, woodland, meadows, at any time of the day or night, (not just between 8am and 6pm).
You won’t have to worry about choosing any of these options above, (unless you are legalising your marriage, then it’s usually just the first option). If you have your simple, stress-free elopement or small wedding ceremony with us, your wedding will not have any Government rules, regulations or restrictions placed on your venue, wording, vows, music, readings or length of your ceremony.
Can I get married at night?
No, you can only get legally married between 8am and 6pm.
If you want to have a stargazing, milky way or sunset ceremony, you can only have a Celebrant-led wedding ceremony. To legalise it you will need to go to your Registry office for your signing appointment. Check your Local Office for more information.
Our ceremonies will always be about you and how you want your wedding day to be!
What Is The Difference Between A Religious Marriage, A Civil Ceremony, A Civil Partnership And A Celebrant-led Ceremony?
If you fulfill the requirements to legally marry then your next step is to decide whether you want to get married or form a civil partnership. Both options are now available for opposite- and same-sex couples. If you’re getting married, you can have a religious or civil ceremony. If you’re forming a civil partnership, you can only have a civil ceremony.
Religious weddings are ceremonies that take place within registered religious buildings. Marriages are solemnised by saying prescribed words, declarations and performing rites specific to your religion. Whether your wedding is legal depends on the officiant who performs your wedding. Every religious marriage needs to be registered.
Civil ceremonies are non-religious ceremonies that can only take place at a registry office or a venue approved by the local council e.g. a hotel or stately home. During the ceremony, you must exchange the set declaratory and contracting words which are the minimum requirement for a legal wedding. You must also have two witnesses sign the marriage register along with the couple getting married and the person who conducted the ceremony.
Civil partnerships are registered by signing the civil partnership document, with no words required to be spoken. It is a legal relationship which offers couples the same rights as married couples. You and your partner must sign a civil partnership document in front of two witnesses and a registrar to register the marriage.
If you’re having a civil ceremony, you will need to make sure both the venue and registrar are available on the same day and at the same time! It’s important to find your venue and reserve your wedding date then call your register office to book the registrar for that day. You can’t book the registrar without the date or venue name so it’s essential to have both of these ready. Once the registrar has been confirmed, you can then confirm with your venue. Some venues will even book the registrar for you, which saves you a job.
Humanist ceremonies or celebrant-led ceremonies are an alternative for those who do not want to have a conventional civil ceremony. Humanist ceremonies are legal in Scotland and Northern Ireland, however, they are not currently legal in England or Wales.
Independent celebrants cannot perform legal marriages in the UK at the moment, you need to marry at a registry office prior to or anytime after your celebrant-led ceremony in England or Wales.
Who Can Legally Marry You?
A Priest, Vicar or a Rabbi for religious marriages and a Registrar for non-religious civil marriages. In Scotland a Humanist Celebrant can legally marry you.
How Long Does The Ceremony Last?
This depends on what type of ceremony you have chosen.
A Registry office ceremony will only take around 15-20 minutes.
A Religious ceremony takes longer depending on how many songs and readings you choose.
A Civil partnership ceremony can take as little as two minutes to sign the certificate, but it can take up to 20 minutes if you'd like to include vows and music.
A Humanist or Independent Celebrant ceremony will be a bit longer (25-45mins) if you’re including different elements and rituals like Handfastings, Unity Candles/Sand etc.
The Cost Of A Traditional Wedding In The United Kingdom
The average cost of a wedding in the UK is £31,974, but costs will depend on the level of formality and location you choose. If you have a non-legal outdoor wedding or hire an unlicensed venue your costs will be reduced dramatically. Your wedding will still be big on fun, magic and meaning for you as it will be exactly how you want to celebrate it. It will also be eco-friendly, sustainable and have minimal impact on your environment and your budget.
Focusing on your love and not the legalities gives you FREEDOM!
I hope you have a clearer understanding of how to get legally married here in the U.K. It may still seem confusing but hopefully you will at least understand the whole process a bit better and have an idea of the bigger picture and the steps you need to take to legalise your marriage.