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Community ceremony planner guidance

Introduction

Your ceremony plan helps you plan your ceremony and tells us your choices for your special day. It is important you fill in all the details.

Please:

If it is necessary to change the date, time or venue of your ceremony you must contact us immediately.

Please note that a fee of £25.00 will be incurred each time you alter your arrangements.

If the booking for your ceremony is made less than ten weeks before your ceremony, then the full fee is payable at the time of booking.

Arranging a ceremony can be stressful but we will do our best to make it as simple and straightforward as possible.

On your wedding day

In all cases, you will be interviewed by the Registrar immediately prior to the ceremony. You have the choice of being interviewed together or separately.

Please ensure you and your guests arrive at least 30 minutes before the time of the ceremony.

The Registration and Nationality Service does not accept responsibility for delays beyond its control. Please be mindful that our staff may be attending other ceremonies on the day and it is important that your ceremony starts on time. If you are more than 10 minutes late for the start of your ceremony it may need to be rearranged.

Witnesses

You must provide two witnesses to the ceremony. These are usually relatives or friends. They should be over the age of 16, able to understand English and the significance of the ceremony they are witnessing.

Ceremony reading

You may wish to have your own choice of reading for your ceremony. Please submit details of these with your ceremony plan no later than ten weeks before the ceremony. Your reading may not include any religious content.

If you do not provide your ceremony plan or reading at least ten weeks before your ceremony, we are unable to guarantee your personal choices on your ceremony day.

Entering the ceremony room

You have the option of walking into the ceremony room separately or together.  Please indicate your choice on the planner.

Registration of your ceremony

Before you sign the register the Registrar will ask you to check that all the particulars have been correctly recorded. It is important that you check the entry very carefully, as errors discovered after the register has been signed can be a lengthy and difficult process to correct. Finally, the witnesses will be called to sign the register.

Photography and video policy

We ask your guests not to take photographs during the ceremony or at the signing of the register. When the ceremony is complete and the register is signed, we can stage a mock signing of the register when photographs may be taken.

If you wish to make a video or DVD of your ceremony, please indicate on the ceremony plan so that staff can show the operator where the camera should be positioned and explain the importance of remaining in one place throughout the ceremony.

Please check to establish the policy on the use of confetti at your chosen venue.

The elements of your ceremony

The Superintendent Registrar reserves the right to alter the order of service where necessary.

Declaratory words

These words are required by law to make sure your ceremony is valid. They cannot be changed or left out. You must choose one of these options.

A1. I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I (Partner’s name) may not be joined in matrimony to (Partner’s name).

A2. I declare that I know of no legal reason why I (Partner’s name) may not be joined in ceremony to (Partner’s name).

A3. If you are free to marry, please answer “I am” to the following question: Are you (Partner’s name) free lawfully to marry (Partner’s name)?

Contracting words

These words are required by law to make sure your ceremony is valid. They cannot be changed or left out. You must choose one of these options.

B1. I call upon these persons here present to witness that I (Partner’s name) do take thee (Partner’s name) to be my lawful wedded wife / husband.

B2. I (Partner’s name) take you (Partner’s name) to be my wedded wife / husband.

B3. I (Partner’s name) take thee (Partner’s name) to be my wedded wife / husband.

Rings

These words are optional. If you are not exchanging rings, this section will be left out. If you are exchanging rings, please choose one of these options.

C1. (Partner’s first name) I give you this ring as a token of our ceremony and as a lasting reminder of the promises we have made here today. (If rings are being exchanged, Partner 2 repeats.)

If one ring is given, Partner 2 responds:

(Partner’s first name) I accept this ring as a token of our ceremony and as a lasting reminder of the promises we have made here today.

C2. (Partner’s first name) I give you this ring as a symbol of our ceremony. I promise to be loving, faithful and loyal to you in living our married life together. (If rings are being exchanged, Partner 2 repeats.)

If one ring given, Partner 2 responds: (Partner’s first name) I accept this ring as a symbol of our ceremony. I promise to be loving, faithful and loyal to you in living our married life together.

C3. (Partner’s first name) I give you this ring as a symbol of our love and as a lasting reminder of the vows we have made here today. (If rings are being exchanged, Partner 2 repeats.)

If only one ring given, Partner 2 responds: (Partner’s first name) I accept this ring as a symbol of our love and as a lasting reminder of the vows we have made here today.