What is a non-legal wedding ceremony?

July 13, 2017

We are often asked what the difference is between a legal and a non-legal wedding ceremony here in Jersey.

Easy as it is for us to understand, we appreciate it can sound a bit odd and confusing if you are not living permanently in the world of weddings, so we asked Lynsey Mallinson of Ceremonies with Lynsey to explain. Over to you Lynsey…

“So what exactly is a err …. what is it you are, again?”

“A civil what?” “What’s that then?”

A civil celebrant is the creator and deliverer of a personalised service – for all sorts of occasions. For couples, it can be a wedding or civil partnership celebration, a commitment or a wedding vow renewal ceremony.

For new babies, or children joining a family there are naming ceremonies and a civil funeral ceremony is more typically a celebration of someone’s life.

Time is spent with the client to find out about them and the story they want to tell, a script is written and then given to the client to amend as they wish, before receiving a final copy as a keepsake after the service.

A celebrant takes on a combination of a master of ceremonies and a minister type role, leading people through proceedings which may incorporate some religious content, or none at all, or it might be that other faiths or cultural traditions are marked in some way.

Poetry, prose, music and all sorts of lovely additions like candle lighting, balloon releasing, sand/water pouring and hand fasting can feature – in fact anything you want is possible!

Humanist Wedding Ceremonies - ternevents

Jersey Wedding Planner - ternevents

And as long as it’s not a religious building, ceremonies can be held anywhere (as long as permission is sought, where relevant!) from your back garden to the beach or park, to a zoo, or football ground for example.

Civil ceremonies aren’t legal proceedings – these have to be done, officially, by those legally able to do so, beforehand. However, they can be a good solution if you’ve married in a different country and not everyone could attend, or if you want to include some religion in the wording or music of a registry office ceremony which doesn’t allow this, if you want to invite more people that can be accommodated, or if you want something more private initially at the registry office, for example.

A civil celebration is all about you: the celebrant’s beliefs, or faith, don’t come into it. Every ceremony is unique and personalised and the client is very much in control, so it can help make that special day, extra special.

Image Credits: Andy Le Gresley, Studio_M, Nigel Harper.

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