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Ruth Graham

An Independent Celebrant based in the West Midlands and the surrounding areas
Ruth Graham - Independent Celebrant West Midlands, Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield

What does a Registry Office Wedding/Civil Ceremony cost?

What does a Registry Office Wedding/Civil Ceremony cost?

The purpose of this blog is to explain how, if you’ve booked a celebrant for your wedding or civil ceremony, you don’t have to spend a fortune on the legal bit at the registry office.
You are able to book a basic, legal ceremony for approximately £50 (check with your local office though). Don’t get drawn into spending more than you need to on bigger rooms, flowers etc. Save your budget (and all the lovely personal bits of the ceremony) for the event with the celebrant!

What Does The Registry Office Fee Cover?

You do need to legalise your marriage or civil ceremony. This can be done at the registry office on the same day (many couples do it prior to the celebrant event) – or afterwards, if you prefer.
The basic fee of approximately £50 will cover the minimum, but that is all you need! A small room, a registrar and two witnesses.
Just like with a birth or death, a marriage has to be registered (rather unromantically), so the government can keep track of the population. So for this reason, the basic legalities only have to include the following:

1) The declaratory and contracting words.
I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I xxxx may not be joined in matrimony to xxxxxxxxxxxxx.
I call upon these persons here present to witness that I xxxxxxx do take the xxxxxx to be my lawful wedded husband/wife.

2) The signing of the register.
Everything else (rings, vows, music, symbolic ritual etc is purely ceremonial and can be performed by ANYONE, anywhere at any location).

IF YOU CAN SEPARATE YOUR THINKING OUT – THEN YOU WILL FREE YOURSELF UP TO HAVE A MUCH MORE PERSONAL CELEBRATION.

So here are your choices, using a celebrant.

Registry office: (Basic registration. PLUS full ceremony with celebrant at a different venue – either before or afterwards.) This venue could be anywhere – your home, a beach, a restaurant, in a woodland. And this is where you can do poetry, music, readings, family involvement – whatever you want!! This is the beauty of having choice to celebrate your own way!
Registry office: (Longer service, including more content – perhaps this would be your vows and music) However, there are VERY tight restrictions on the kind of music you choose. You cannot mention religion, and you can’t include prayers or hymns.

PLUS ceremony with celebrant at different venue – (see above).

Licensed venue: (If a venue is licensed for legal weddings, you can have your legal bit, and the celebrant service at the same time, same place). A celebrant would have to work with the registrar to ensure you get the service you want. And the legal bit too. This is a very costly option, as you’d be paying two sets of full fees – one for the celebrant, and one for the registrar. It’s also very difficult to co-ordinate but here is some advice if you go this route:

1. There are no restrictions in having a service in any hotel room ( if the hotel is unsure, ask them to contact the registrar )
2. The registrar can, (similar to a church service), wait in an anti-room just to do the paper work and hear the formal spoken requirements.
3. If the couple wish for the registrar to perform the ceremony, in addition to a Celebrant/Minister : there is no order or preference.