When is a wedding not a marriage?
A new briefing paper has been published to help inform the Law Commission's final report into wedding law reform in England and Wales. This paper relates to research funded by the Nuffield Foundation into non-legally binding weddings which explores non-legally binding ceremonies.
Their study investigated why ceremonies are being conducted outside the legal framework, the nature of such ceremonies, and the beliefs, practices, and preferences of those involved. It involved 170 participants.
As an Independent Celebrant I always make it clear to my clients that the ceremonies I conduct are non- statutory. The advantage for them of engaging an Independent Celebrant is that they can complete the legal formalities in a simple way and then plan a ceremony to celebrate their marriage whenever, wherever and however they choose.
I was particularly interested in the section of the paper concerning the cost of a wedding. The study found that the cost of a wedding at an approved premises was a major factor for couples to have a non-statutory ceremony.
The report found that many people were unaware that they could complete the legal declarations and contracting vows at a simple two plus two ceremony. (Current cost £46)
In some cases couples were charged more than the basic fee by a registry office because the offices were "approved premises".
Couples were open to the idea of having two ceremonies - one to complete the legal aspects and a second to celebrate their marriage. These couples also commented that this would give them wider choice and possibly reduce the overall cost.
In the conclusion the report states, "The Commission’s proposed scheme was seen by many as simplifying the law governing weddings, making it easier to understand, reducing the bureaucracy of the process, and making it easier to get married."
The report covered a wide range of topics as well as cost. It will be interesting to see how the Law changes when the final decisions are made next year.
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Choosing a Celebrant to help you create that special ceremony is an important step towards making your occasion a really memorable one. Why not take advantage of the free initial meeting I offer ? I believe it is important to meet informally to discuss your ideas and what I can offer. Meeting also gives us an opportunity to explore the type of ceremony that would best suit your needs.