A Civil Affair
Civil wedding ceremonies are the alternative to the traditional church ceremony. Many couples opt for these nowadays because they feel that the religious ceremony is outdated or they simply do not follow any particular religion. Indeed for some the civil ceremony offers more of a personal ceremony, allowing them to pick readings that they feel reflect their feelings and suit them compared to passages from the bible.
For a civil ceremony you can have any reading or piece of music so long as it contains no reference to religion, depending on the individual Registrar of course as all readings etc are at their discretion. The ceremony must be approved by the Registrar conducting the ceremony, both as a matter of respect, but also as a matter of legality. If you do not have readings etc approved then they may not be willing to marry you.
Often finding readings that "fit" the occasion can be a trial, so be sure to make use of the internet, there are many forums online that offer help and support, Wedding Chaos has been a great help in the run up to my own wedding. But why not look into buying books on readings and speeches? They are often a good idea and can be passed on to a friend after your wedding to help them out too!
Popular choices for readings include poems and lyrics of songs. Some couples often write their own passages about their feelings towards their partner and a lovely gesture is to ask members of the bridal party to read them out at the ceremony. Unlike a church wedding ceremony where it is often the minister who does readings, you can ask just about anyone to do a reading at a civil ceremony, in our case the father of the groom, godmother of the bride and a close friend of the bride will be doing the readings.
A few of the approved readings from Aberdeenshire Registrars include:
· True Love;
· Eskimo Love Song;
· Apache Blessing;
· On Your Wedding Day;
If in doubt, just ask the Registrar for the district you intend to marry in if they have a reading list of suggested readings, most of them to and are more than happy to email or post it out to you.
Music choice is different for a civil wedding ceremony; there are no hymns like there are in the church ceremony. The Bridal March can be the traditional "Wedding March" (from The Marriage of Figaro), or it can be something more contemporary, think President Obama’s inauguration, "At Last" by Etta James.
Some very proud Scots couples hire a piper to play during their ceremony, “Highland Cathedral” makes a beautiful bridal march. And the piper looks great in the pictures!
Always remember to check that the Registrar has no problems with the ceremony being filmed if you decide to have a videographer present. Most do not mind, but again ask to be on the safe side.