Emerald and civil ceremonies

When Emerald Life opened its doors back in 2016, our co-founders Steve and Heidi sought to establish an insurance provider that would accommodate the peripheral members of the market – to accommodate those who’s non-traditional lifestyle was excluded from available insurance. 

Where civil ceremonies have been legal in the UK for a while (since 1836, if you want to get historical), they are still seen by many as a less traditional, less orthodox union. Here Emerald we want to help make your union feel equally celebrated, equally respected and equally insured. 

Get a wedding insurance quote from Emerald in minutes HERE!

What is a civil ceremony 

With civil ceremonies becoming a preferred choice of initiation by many modern couples, many of us haven’t been exposed to what they mean, what they are, and how they practice. 

Essentially, a civil ceremony is a wedding without a religious context. Instead of a priest, rabbi, or imam hosting the wedding, instead a registrar, governmental official or functionary will legitimise the union.

How do I find a civil ceremony venue?

It is important for someone to find the location and get their wedding ceremony location. Marriage ceremonies are performed in England and Wales at the Registry Offices. Approved venues are offered in every shape and size and may include houses on farms and farm houses hotels. Your wedding and reception should be held at the same venue so as not to be rushed. Several wedding sites have licenses for ceremonies.

However, under UK guidelines the civil ceremony must either be held at a:

  • registry office
  • any venue that is accepted by the local council, for example a stately home 

Other requirements needed:

  • you must give notice to a local registry office before
  • The presence of a registrar (arrangements can be made by your venue or you can book one independently)
  • you must have at least two witnesses at the ceremony 

Choose the type of ceremony

Civil ceremonies themselves are not inherently religious events; however, if you wish to establish a religious blessing for your partnership – that can be achieved after the initial ceremony. 

Want to know more about the types of civil ceremony click HERE.

What happens in a civil ceremony? and how does it differ from a traditional wedding?

Firstly, a civil ceremony will not require you and your partner to confess vows to each-other; instead the exchanging of such sentiments is optional. Conversely, a traditional wedding ceremony hinges on the delivery of vows in order for the marriage to be legitimised.

Moreover, differences can also be witnessed in the distinct absence of religion (in the form of hymns, music and readings) within a civil ceremony. Whereas, with marriage ceremonies there is an implicit and/or explicit religious underpinning to essence of the special day.

A side note, what stays the same?

  • Upon getting married to your partner you will both sign a marriage schedule or marriage document at the ceremony. 
  • Witnesses to you and your partner’s officiation are required for both a marriage and a civil partnership ceremony

(Another difference to note: prior to the ceremony – a couple seeking a civil ceremony will have to sign a legal statement at your local registrar office declaring your intention to get married. This is known as ‘giving notice’ and it should include the specifics of your ceremony:such as venues, date etc. Your ceremony must take place within the notice period after signing.So, similar to having your banns read.)

What documents do I need to give notice? What is involved in giving notice?

  • Valid passport (or for British citizens only, a UK birth certificate if you are born before 1983)
  • Proof of residence (a mortgage or utility statement)
  • Marital Status (a decree absolute if you were previously divorced, or the death certificate of your late partner if you are widowed)
  • Ceremonial details (venue and other arrangements)

To read more on the details click ‘HERE’.

Do you book the registrar before the venue?

The way in which couples navigate the logistical nuances of their wedding will naturally vary. However, many would advise that you book the venue and ensure its availability before booking a registrar.

Choosing a venue

The ceremony can be held at the registry office or at an a venue which is recognised as appropriate by your local registrar (i.e a licensed venue). You may also apply for a temporary location for a civil event of your choice, i.e your own residence. This information is accessible upon contacting the registration officer of the municipality where the ceremony will take place. This will allow you to gain additional details on fees and an application form.

It goes without saying that deciding on a venue for your big day is a big decision to tackle. Whether it be the reception venue or the ceremony itself – your celebrations are worth insuring! Here at Emerald , our civil ceremony insurance is here to protect such a special event from unpredictable, unforeseeable and unpreventable issues.

Moreover, if you are interested in renting a marquee for you ceremony and/or celebration, you will require an extension cover (Marquee Extension Cover) which can insure you up to £20,000 or £50,000 depending on the premium you select.

After a marriage ceremony

A signed marriage schedule means 2 things: you are now in an official partnership with the love of your life, and more importantly, it’s time to party. As a couple, it’s up to you to choose the way you want to celebrate, with who you want to celebrate with!

We’re here to help arrange protection for your big day! from music to guests liability – we have forms of cover that are available to your needs!

Religious ceremonies

As previously mentioned, civil ceremonies are not inherently religious – and as a result the wedding itself will not be able to host any religious practices. However, it is certainly possible for the blessing and religious readings to be performed in other venues. In light of such an occasion, we will be able to provide cover for ceremonies occurring over 2 venues on 2 dates providing that they are 21 days apart.

Typically, if a religious wedding is to go ahead, it will be arranged in all the registered religious buildings. Same sex couples are legally entitled to a partnership; however, if the said couple are looking for a religious destination to obtain their civil ceremony it will have to be approved by the local religious leader. The marriage schedule and the marriage documents must be completed in the presence and signature of the religious minister. 

Couples from the UK and Age

The legal age to marry is 18 years in Britain. It would be a criminal crime to permit children under 18 who reside in England and Wales to marry in Northern Ireland.

In summary:

Put simply; a civil ceremony is a non-religious legal ceremony in which your partnership is officiated. However, if you seek a religious ceremony you are able to obtain this at an additional venue and/or a later date. 

How we can help you today at Emerald? 

Known for our attentive, highly personalised and organic customer service – alongside, our exceptionally constructive insurance framework – we are here to help make your big day as stress free as possible. Our civil ceremony insurance includes: public liability for the marrying couple, coverage for cancellation that is out of your control, and, financial protection for the outlay of your wedding celebrations.

Get a wedding insurance quote from Emerald in minutes HERE!

Alternatively, give us a call on 0330 113 7109 or email us at customerservice@emeraldlife.co.uk  to get a quote today!