August 17, 2016
How to plan the perfect Civil Ceremony
The proposal has happened and your life partner has said yes. The announcements have been made and you’ve received enough congratulations and well wishes to last a lifetime. Now that the excitement from your engagement has fizzled out, it is time to move on to one of the most exciting chapters of your life - planning your perfect wedding.
Not every couple wants to commit their love to each other with a traditional religious ceremony. There are many other options if you want to stray away from an orthodox wedding. A fantastic alternative to a religious wedding is a civil ceremony, which is the perfect way to express your love and devotion to someone without any religious strings attached.
In 2012, 70% of all UK weddings were in the form of a civil marriage, and since 1995, Birmingham City Council has approved numerous venues to officiate civil ceremonies. This means that there is the option to have a civil wedding in Birmingham, or in a civil wedding venue in Solihull or elsewhere.
When it comes to planning your civil wedding, there are many things to consider. Although this is one of the most exciting times of your life, it doesn’t come without stress and headaches, so here are a few pointers to help you plan your perfect civil ceremony.
What to consider when planning a Civil Ceremony
Choose the type of ceremony you want
When it comes to deciding what type of civil ceremony you would like, there are 2 types you and your partner can choose from. You can choose a short service that lasts for 15-20 minutes which is just the ceremony, or you could have a more personalised and unique ceremony that lasts for around 45 minutes. The latter option allows you and your life partner to have your own readings (they can be from songs, films or poems) and your own music. This means that your ceremony will have a touch of personality, and will celebrate who you are as a couple.
Give yourself enough time to choose the venue
As with any wedding (religious or civil) you should always make sure you have enough time to look at every venue you are interested in having the ceremony and reception in. Before making any appointments you need to sit down with your partner and discuss how many people you would like to invite to the civil ceremony. Once this is done, send a save the date to those you want at your ceremony and to those you want at the reception.
After completing this, you should have a rough estimation of how many people you need to accommodate for, and can look at booking your desired venue. A civil ceremony can take place in a register office, any venue that is approved by a local council (such as a hotel or country house) or a religious premises with the correct permissions. In 2012 85% of civil marriages were performed at an approved premises, with the majority of these venues working by appointment only and getting booked up quickly. It is wise to book your first viewing appointment at least a year before your wedding day.
Think about the weather
We all know how unreliable the British weather can be, which is why it is incredibly important to plan for the worst weather scenarios when it comes to your wedding day. Depending on what time of year you want to get married, you’ll have to consider the weather conditions and how they could affect your civil ceremony.
If you’ve dreamed of having an outdoor civil summer wedding in the middle of July, you should make sure the venue you’ve booked will supply back up marquees if the weather decides otherwise. Should you choose to have a snowy winter wedding you should make sure the venue is accessible, just in case there are icy conditions and high winds.
Choose your dream wedding outfit
If you’ve chosen to have a civil ceremony you do not have to wear a traditional white wedding dress or tuxedo, but don’t let that hold you back. If you’ve dreamed of wearing a big white princess dress when walking down the aisle then do it!
Most bridal boutiques and wedding shops cater to those who want to stray away from tradition, so if you want to wear a bright blue Cinderella style ball gown or fitted bright orange 3 piece suit then don’t let anything stop you. However, most bridal and wedding shops work by appointment only, require an upfront deposit and also need a minimum of 6 months to make any alterations. It is important to give yourself more than enough time to choose the perfect outfit.