Register Office Weddings, and More

Register offices used to be popular venues for weddings, as prior to the Marriage Act 1994, they were the only alternative venue on offer for those who didn’t want or couldn’t have a church wedding.

However, the aforementioned act made it possible for certain licensed venues to host weddings, meaning that those who don’t wish to get married in church have more options available to them. As a result, register office weddings have become less popular.

Register office weddings are quite limited – choices that you may wish to make to make the wedding special, such as personal vows and decoration, will be limited. The registrar may be unwilling to allow for personal touches, or perhaps just unable to accommodate due to time constraints at the office.

However, a register office wedding could be appropriate if you wish for a simple, inexpensive wedding. Register office weddings can be quick affairs, simply designed to carry out the administrative side of registering the marriage. This could be ideal for a couple who wish to hold another unofficial ceremony to celebrate their marriage, perhaps abroad.

Citizenship Ceremonies

In recent years, register offices have been used to host more than just marriage ceremonies. The first UK citizenship ceremony took place in February 2004, and foreign nationals over the age of 18 applying for UK citizenship must attend them to secure their citizenship.

When your application for citizenship is approved, you will be sent an invitation to citizenship ceremony by the Home Office. You have 11 weeks from receiving this invitation to book your ceremony with your local register office.

At the citizenship ceremony, you will be given your UK citizenship after taking the Citizenship Pledge, and swearing the Oath of Allegiance, or the Affirmation of Allegiance. The Oath of Allegiance will require you to swear to God, so if you do not wish to do this, you should that the Affirmation of Allegiance instead.

You are allowed to bring guests to your citizenship ceremony, although register offices will have different allowances on how many you can bring.

Civil Naming Ceremonies

Another more modern phenomenon, register offices sometimes host naming ceremonies. This is a ceremony that celebrates the naming of your child, in a manner similar to a christening or baptism, without any religious connotations.

While a civil naming ceremony does nothing in an official legal capacity – the ceremony closes with a presentation of a certificate, but this certificate has no legal standing – it is a good opportunity for the family to celebrate a new arrival, perform readings and make promises about how they will take care of them. Naming ceremonies can also be performed  with newly adopted children, and this can be a good way to welcome them into their new family.

As mentioned earlier, the ceremony does not perform any legal function, and they cannot be used to change a child’s name. They also cannot feature any religious elements.

To find out how you can arrange a ceremony, find a local register office in our Register Office Directory.