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Why have a civil ceremony?

Once upon a time the only way to get married was in a church or, if you weren’t religious, a registry office. All that changed in 1994 when the Marriage Act 1949 was amended to allow marriages to be solemnized in certain “approved premises”.

In 1996, Escot House became one of those approved premises, one of the first wedding venues in Devon to be granted a licence.

Now, of course, many people opt to get married in a civil ceremony, and often at the venue where they are having their wedding reception and party. For those who remember what it was like before, the mad dash to follow the wedding couple to the venue sometimes resulted in lost wedding guests!

So why might you choose a civil ceremony?

  1. You’re not religious or you may not be allowed to get married in a church for some reason. The days when people converted their religion to get married in church are pretty much over. You can incorporate your differing religious beliefs into a civil ceremony as much as you like. Or leave religion out completely!
  2. Same sex marriage; although same-sex marriage legislation has changed, it is not legally possible for same-sex couples to marry in the Church of England or a Catholic church.
  3. You want a smaller ceremony; although a small, rural church might work, you may find a larger church dwarfs your wedding party which is a shame if you want it to be an intimate occasion.
  4. A church wedding can take quite a while, including the pause while the couple go to sign the register. If you want something faster, a civil ceremony can take as short a time as 15 minutes – of course it can be longer, it’s entirely up to you.
  5. Cost may be a consideration, so do the sums before deciding. Paying for a church service, the use of the church for a few hours, bells, an organist and flowers to decorate the space is likely to be the more expensive option.
  6. Think of your photographer! Depending on the church you choose, it may be difficult to get really good shots of the actual ceremony. At a civil ceremony the photographer will find it much easier to grab some phenomenal images.
  7. Practicality can be a consideration; if you are likely to have guests with disabilities, using one venue for the service and reception will make transportation simpler.

Having said all this, we truly believe everyone should have the wedding that they want. For some, a fabulous church ceremony is absolutely what it’s all about. If your heart is set on a church wedding there are some wonderful local choices, with Escot Church a mere stone’s throw away.


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