Types of Ceremonies
The most simple way to register your legal partnership is at the Registry Office.
The Civil Partnership Act provides only for the legally registration of your relationship. There is no requirement for the registrar to carry out any sort of ceremony, although most are very happy to do so. Any such ceremony cannot have any religious content, and as with any other wedding, the content must be agreed by the registrar in advance. As an alternative to Registry Office wedding, your relationship can be formalised at any venue that has been approved for the registration of civil partnerships. Approved Premises include stately homes and other prestigious buildings, hotels and restaurants.
Again, you cannot have a religious element to your ceremony, and the legal parts of your ceremony cannot take place outdoors. Some ministers are happy to bless the relationship of a gay couple in church, although this is not considered a widely acceptable practice by the Church, and any such blessing would not fulfil the legal requirements for registering the relationship.
As with many other couples, you may feel that your wedding is not complete without a church element, and if that is the case a sympathetic minister may be able to offer some sort of ceremony before or after your civil partnership is registered.
Read about Alex and Bev’s experience. As with religious ceremonies, a humanist ceremony will not make your relationship legal, and should be used in addition to formalising your relationship in front of the registrar.
A humanist service or celebration can take any form you want, and can be held anywhere. You do not need a specialist celebrant to carry out the service, indeed it may consist of nothing more than the two of you saying your vows to each other in front of a group of friends.
Thinking of getting married and making the ultimate commitment but not quite sure what exactly it is you want? Perhaps you and your partner come from different religious backgrounds, or you are of the same sex. How often when we decide to make our love public do we feel restricted by the choices of how we are to celebrate our love? Have you thought of an Interfaith wedding?
These services are unique, and will reflect and honour your relationship. All ceremonies are written with you in mind to embrace and reflect your emotional needs. You and your partner, alongside an Interfaith Minister, will write your special ceremony, this means that you play an active part in creating all that you desire, a special service that will be a fitting tribute to the one you have chosen to share your life with. An Interfaith Minister is an ordained, self-employed and non-denominational Minister who has undertaken an intensive two year training in Ministry and Spiritual Counselling with the Interfaith Seminary. The core belief of the Seminary is “Many Ways, One Truth”.
All Interfaith Ministers embrace and respect each and every religious tradition having studied all the sacred texts. At the heart is Love, which is the central focus of all faiths and traditions. The beauty of an Interfaith marriage ceremony, vow renewal or civil partnership is that it can include anything you wish and may be held at a venue to suit your desires.. Anything from a Stone Circle in Cumbria, a beach in Cornwall, the gardens of a Stately home to a home of a disabled couple. Everything is possible and nothing is essential or prescribed. The Service will include the elements that are right for you and your partner and which reflect your respective beliefs or none. If you are marrying someone with different beliefs to you or from a different religious background, the Service can incorporate elements from both. The key is love, respect and flexibility.
For an Interfaith ceremony, the law still currently requires that you make your legal commitment with a Registrar. (This is not the case in Scotland where an Interfaith Minister is licensed to conduct all aspects). However, many venues are registered for weddings, to which the Registrar will come. The key aspect, whether in a Registry office or an external venue with a visiting Registrar, is to save the exchanging of rings to be part of your specially created ceremony in the presence of your family and friends. It is perfectly possible to complete the legal side of the proceedings several days or even weeks before your “big day”. This is co-created by the couple with as much or as little guidance and input from the Minister as required. Initial discussions will determine the real essence of what you want to share with each other in your vows, all couples are encouraged to write their own vows, thereby making their promise to each other more pertinent. Often the Minister will ask you individually to consider a range of questions such as “what attracted you to each other when you first met?”, “what is it that you really love and appreciate about the other?”, “what are your spiritual beliefs, and how would you like those to be reflected in the ceremony?” Answering these questions forms the basis for a truly beautiful, personal and meaningful ceremony that deepens your love and your relationship as you start the next phase of your lives together.
An Interfaith Minister can also suggest music, readings and help with the writing of the vows and will conduct the ceremony on the day. www.RainbowsEndFoundation.co.uk
Full information on the Seminary and Interfaith Ministry Training can be found at www.theinterfaithseminary.com
Contact the Embassy or High Commission of the country concerned if you would like to register a civil partnership abroad, to check on the requirements for that country.
You may be asked to obtain a certificate of no impediment. This is a document required by some foreign authorities to enable a British national to register a civil partnership in their country and, under certain circumstances, it can be provided by your registration authority. If you are asked to provide one, you should contact your registration authority via your local county council website.