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Our Guide To Choosing Your Lancashire Wedding Ceremony

These days there are a number of different ways you can get married in the UK and your wedding ceremony will inevitably be unique to you.

Historically, couples were married in their local parish church but the 2021 census revealed a huge 37% of the population described themselves as having no religion. It is no wonder then that non-religious wedding ceremonies are ever increasing with couples looking for alternative options for their special day.

Let’s take a look at the different ways you can carry out your wedding ceremony.

Civil Ceremony

A recent study showed that more couples in the UK are getting married in a civil wedding ceremony than in a religious wedding ceremony. A civil wedding can be held in any approved and registered wedding venue in the UK and is conducted by a wedding registrar. A registrar wedding in an approved wedding venue such as at a hotel or event venue is legally binding in the UK. When you book a wedding registrar, they are there to legally officiate at your civil ceremony so long there are at least two witnesses present.

Your wedding registrar will talk to you beforehand to plan your civil wedding ceremony. There are options for personalising your civil ceremony but there will also be parts that form the legal part of the marriage agreement that cannot be excluded.

Humanist Ceremony

A humanist wedding is conducted by a celebrant and can take place at anywhere of your choosing, with the permission of the owner. You can have a humanist wedding ceremony in a hotel or your home, a woodland, on the beach or at a venue special to the happy couple. The wedding celebrant will take time to get to know the couple beforehand and create a service that is completely bespoke and personalised to you and your partner. A celebrant led wedding can include others like your children, pets and friends and can include symbolic rituals such as handfasting as well songs, poems and readings.

In Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands humanist wedding ceremonies are legally binding. Unfortunately, in England and Wales, a humanist wedding ceremony is not a legally recognised ceremony. In order to make a humanist wedding conducted by a wedding celebrant a legal marriage you must get married at a registry office before or afterwards.

Registry Office Ceremony

Getting married at your local registry office is probably the quickest, easiest and most budget-friendly way to get married. You need to give 28 days notice of your intent to get married, called ‘giving notice’, and then book your registrar office wedding date and time within 12 months of this. This is the same for a civil wedding ceremony and a religious wedding ceremony too.

You need to have at least two guests at your registrar wedding to act as witnesses to the marriage ceremony, but equally you can invite all your friends and family too. Your local registrar’s office will advise on how many guests can be accommodated.

If you want to have a celebration afterwards you can book an event venue, hotel, restaurant or bar and have a wedding party with all your loved ones, with or without the added costs of sit-down meals, caterers and exclusive hire.

Religious Ceremony

Whatever religion you practice in the UK, getting married at your local church, mosque, synagogue or gurdwara can be organised locally. You will need to make sure your chosen religious wedding venue is an approved wedding venue to ensure your ceremony is legally recognised. An authorised person must be present to sign the marriage schedule, or you can organise for a registrar to conduct the ceremony.

It is possible to have a humanist religious wedding so long as the religious venue agrees with this. As with a non-religious humanist wedding, the couple will need to get legally married before or after the humanist ceremony to make the marriage legal.

Same-sex couples may not be able to get married in some religious buildings depending on the religion’s beliefs on same-sex marriages.

Things to Consider When Planning Your Wedding Ceremony

Choosing your preferred ceremony type

Different types of wedding ceremonies will appeal to different couples. It may be that you want to get married in your local church, at home or in your garden. In which case the type of ceremony you can have will be limited. You might not have given any thought to where you want to marry but know that you want something more personal than a registrar can offer. In this instance a humanist wedding ceremony may be your best option.

Finding your perfect wedding venue

Once you have decided on how you want to conduct your wedding ceremony, the next big decision is WHERE. We might be biased here, but we believe hotel weddings are perfect for just about anyone, and in particular we love The Lawrence Hotel for weddings. However, there are a whole host of dedicated Lancashire wedding venues, event spaces and outdoor licensed premises where you can get married. Make sure you have a look around at least three venues before deciding on which to go for.

Budgeting for your wedding

You may have chosen your preferred wedding ceremony option, but you also need to make sure you budget accordingly to ensure you can afford the wedding you want. A registrar office wedding will cost from £91 for the service, with a religious venue costing £127 (as of May 2023). In contrast a Lancashire registrar coming to your venue of choice will cost more and a humanist celebrant will be more again. In addition to these costs, you’ll need to pay a £30 booking fee and a per person marriage notice fee of £35.

You can find more information about Lancashire wedding costs here.

Giving notice of your marriage

As mentioned above, you must give notice to your local registry office of your intent to marry. This must be done at least 28 days before the wedding and your wedding must be within 12 months of the notice.

Wedding Ceremonies at The Lawrence

For the absolute perfect civil or humanist wedding ceremony, The Lawrence offers a gorgeous, dedicated function room, 13 stylish bedrooms, including bridal suite, catering options and wedding packages suited to all budgets. We can help advise on wedding flowers, local Lancashire photographers, wedding celebrants and other trusted local suppliers.

For an intimate wedding venue in Lancashire, get in touch with us and let us help you plan your dream civil or humanist wedding.


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