The Legal Bit – A Helpful Guide for Booking Your Ceremony
The concept of getting married means different things to different people. It could conjure images of a traditional white wedding, a hand fasting, or a quiet elopement. The beauty of the wedding industry at the moment is that being individual and personal within your celebration is encouraged; your day can fit the nature of your relationship in all of its unique glory. At the heart of these exciting choices and decisions lies the important part: the legal bit. We feel it’s of utmost importance to advise happy couples exactly what they need to do to ensure smooth sailing into wedded bliss, and thought an update on the blog (to be enjoyed with a cup of tea) could be just the ticket.
In the UK, you need to adhere to the following criteria to get hitched:
- Be over 16 years of age (permission from parents or guardians needed if under 18)
- Free to marry or form a civil partnership (single, divorced, widowed)
- Not closely related
Those boxes ticked, you then need to decide where it is you wish to do the deed. Choose a civil service in a licensed location or if wanting a religious aspect, a church wedding. Both involve giving notice, and require thought as to how you would like your union to be celebrated. Coombe Trenchard offers the best of both worlds; we have 12 separate licenced areas in which you can choose a registrar to legally marry you, but we are also within walking distance of the beautiful Church of St Peter on the neighbouring Lewtrenchard estate. For further information on marrying within a church, see this page on religious ceremonies.
Most of our couples choose to marry within our home and grounds and we have to stress that the venue cannot be involved with organising the registrar’s attendance or its associated legalities. We strongly advise that once you have booked your date with ourselves, that you contact Devon Registrars to make a provisional booking and pay a £50.00 deposit. This can save disappointment and timeline concerns as the ceremony slots are allocated on a first come, first serve basis and we have known disappointed couples who have had to hold their ceremony much earlier or later that they had planned. You can find out more about the cost involved here.
Once this has been booked with Devon Registrars, you will need to book an appointment to give notice at your local registry office at least 28 days before you intend to tie the knot. Once the year countdown mark has passed, you can attend an appointment and its best to do this as soon as you can. You will need to take proof of your name, age and nationality (your best bet is a passport or birth certificate) and proof of address (driving licence, council tax or recent utility bill). You will each need to pay a £35.00 registry fee to give notice. If you have been divorced or widowed you will also need to take a decree absolute or a death certificate to prove your freedom to marry once more. The appointment is fairly straightforward and your notice to marry will be publicly displayed for 28 days, after which time the marriage may take place.
You will need to pay the final balance of your registrar fees at least 12 weeks before your ceremony and then get to excitedly fill out a preference form, giving information about your readings, music choices, witnesses (you will need to select two) and personalised vows if applicable. (Top Tip: Order a few marriage certificates; you’ll need them for name changes etc.). There can be no religious connotations to a service conducted by a registrar, either within the readings or song choices.
Then, when the Big Day arrives two registrars will attend Coombe Trenchard. In the half hour before your ceremony they will conduct separate interviews with each of you to confirm you are who you say you are and go over what is about to happen. These lovely people will then have the pleasure of conducting your ceremony, pronouncing you legally wed and handing over your marriage certificates. What a feeling!
If the restrictions of a ceremony conducted by a registrar don’t feel suited to the celebration you are planning, we highly recommend the use of Cornish Celebrants to create a bespoke and unique service for you. The legal service can take place at a Registry office on the same or a different day, and you are then free to celebrate within any area of Coombe Trenchard, using your own meaningful words and traditions.