Marriages and Marriage Vow Renewal


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What are your Marriage options in Scotland 2021/2022?

  • Have a Celebrant led Bespoke Civil Ceremonies Wedding and you can have exactly the kind of service you want, in any location you want, with absolutely no restrictions or limits whatsoever in terms of location, music, readings, symbols, vows and blessings.

This option requires the legal side to be carried out separately, and it’s a really simple process! Getting the separate legal part of a marriage complete is really easy!  Here are some great tips in 5 easy steps!

Step One

Find your dream wedding location and book your venue.  Remember that it need not be a licensed space if you separate your legal signing, which then opens up a multitude of different options to you.  If you love a stately home, but want an outdoor wedding, have a wander around the grounds and pick somewhere with great views, or perhaps with the house as a backdrop.

There are no restrictions if using a Celebrant when it comes to location, so long as you have permission from the land or venue owner.

Did you know that Celebrants will work outside at any time of the year?

Registrars are restricted by guidelines that state that once the temperature drops below 16 degrees, they will automatically move the ceremony inside.  I have conducted woodland ceremonies in Autumn for example, and myself and the guests just dressed accordingly!

I can’t stress enough that Celebrant led weddings can be officiated anywhere, so pick a venue that suits you as a couple, and one you truly love!

 Step Two

Once you have found your dream location for your day, the next thing should be to research and book your officiant, and if that is to be a Celebrant, then you will need to check their availability, and of course, have a consultation in order to confirm if they are the right fit for your and your wedding.

The benefit of this is that you can actually choose who conducts your wedding, and build a relationship with them before your big day. Having a say in your ceremony content, format, and flow is a huge benefit and can mean the difference between a choice of three pre-set government scripts and a truly personal and unique one!

Most Celebrants will only conduct one wedding a day, thus making sure you can choose the best time, and one that suits you both, rather than accepting whatever is left.

Step Three

You will now need to register your intent to marry. This must be done in all cases, whether you choose a registrar or Celebrant, as it enables the registration service to prepare your legal documentation and record the details of your marriage.

You can contact your local Registrars office and advise them of this, and state that you have already booked your Celebrant, and will just require a simple service to complete your paperwork and declarations.   This is then booked in by the Registrar on a date nearer your wedding day, usually the day before or day after. You are free however to choose when this takes place so book your legal signing in when it suits you.

You need to return your forms and any other documents needed to the registrar at least 29 days before your wedding and pay the associated costs.

Step Four

When you attend your legal service, it is worth remembering that you can save your vows and your ring exchanges, along with all other personal details for your Celebrant-led ceremony.  It is not a legal requirement to do this when you sign your papers. Just inform the registry office that you would like to do this.

You will be required to take two witnesses and choose one from each of the following legal statements:

Declaratory Words

“I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, AB, may not be joined in matrimony to CD.”

or “I declare that I know of no legal reason why I, AB, may not be joined in marriage to CD.”

Or By replying “I am” to the question “Are you AB free lawfully to marry CD?” …

Contractual Vows

“I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, AB, do take thee, CD, to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband).”

or “I AB take you CD to be my wedded wife (or husband)”

or “I AB take thee CD to be my wedded wife (or husband)” …  

The current (2020) Standard UK Fees Notice of Marriage are £35 per person which are payable to the registration service in which both parties live. You will also need to book the Statutory Ceremony which is £46 (+£4 for your marriage certificate).

You are then free to hold your ceremony wherever and whenever you like!

Step Five

Now that your venue is booked, your Celebrant secured and your intent to marry logged at the registration service, you can set about planning your big day with gusto, and without restrictions!

The same process applies for destination weddings too.  If you are wanting to have your ceremony abroad, why not separate the legal signing and avoid all the red tape at your wedding destination.  Upon your arrival abroad you will often have to complete documentation and visit several government offices and associations in order to satisfy their requirements.  It’s a lot simpler this way! 

It really is a simple process!’

*Please note that it is the responsibility of the couple themselves to carry out all legal processes and paperwork with a Registrar prior to having a Bespoke Civil Ceremonies Wedding. All legal paperwork must be in process with a Registrar at least 29 days before the date of the marriage. 

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Other Marriage options in Scotland:

  • Get married in a Church or Place of Worship by a minister/priest and sign the legal documents in the church on the wedding day. You will have limited scope on how the service will be constructed.
  • Get married by a Humanist (Atheist) or Pagan Officiant and sign the legal documents on the day of the wedding in a select number of venues, and again there will be some

limitations on how the service is constructed eg. definitely no mention of religion in a Humanist service. You have some scope to have the wedding you want but not total freedom.

  • Get married in the Registry Office or a select number of venues approved by the registrar, you get married by a council registrar, you sign the legal papers on the day but definitely no mention of God, faith or spirituality and there will be some restriction on how the service is constructed.

Ask yourself – what is it you want? What is the most important part of the day – the signing of the documents or the ceremony you created?

I conducted a beautiful Celtic wedding recently with lots of Celtic symbols like the tying of hands, drinking from the quaich etc. In fact my wife Annie and I had a Celtic themed Celebrant led Wedding.

Annie and Neil’s Celtic Wedding 2019

And there are lots of other options you may have heard of too like Hand-fasting, love letters, sand and water rituals, Unity Candles, flower garlands, tree planting and so much more! The service I offer in effect is not concerned with the legal aspect but with things your wishes, your ways and your own unique Wedding Ceremony meaning you do get exactly the kind of service you want.