Why we got married twice- Civil Ceremony and Celebrant led
I posted on Instagram a few days ago, that it was our legal wedding anniversary. Our legal wedding anniversary is almost 6 months before the day we consider our wedding date. That said, We still celebrate along with our date anniversary, engagement anniversary etc- what can I say? Any excuse for some fizz?
With the current COVID-19 situation and the uncertainty which surrounds this, as well as assuming reduced registrar availability through 2021, it's a good opportunity to consider a celebrant led ceremony for your actual wedding day and doing the legal bit separate. It may even help you keep all your vendors if you are able to agree a date which doesn't depend on registrar availability, especially when so many are closed right now.
For our civil ceremony, we didn't swap rings, we said minimal vows, and we got married in N. Yorkshire so Stew's Grandad (limited ability to travel, and pretty poorly) could sign the marriage certificate. He was never going to be able to attend our wedding in Cornwall (at one point we were looking at N. Yorks weddings- but he felt a whole wedding day would be too much for him). So we got him to be part of our marriage, and that was really special for Stew, who has the tiniest family ever.
An unexpected upside of splitting the ceremony was that Stew's Dad fell ill the morning of our wedding, so couldn't come. The way we had done it, he had still been part of the wedding and our marriage, despite not the way we would have liked.
The very basic, just the two of you service is less than £50, but many offices will also offer a small ceremony. Some registry offices are REALLY nice, and if you want photos, a number of photographers offer half day or a few hours. It also gives you the opportunity to have some photos where you might not on your bigger day- like at home or in your local area, or somewhere nice that happens to be nowhere near your venue.
We had 7 guests, and went for a really nice family dinner after the service. We called a local restaurant and explained what we were looking to do, they gave us a private corner and provided a cake stand for the cake we brought. All in, very accommodating and somewhere we go back to- great if you wedding venue is exclusive use.
I didn't have a traditional wedding dress- I did have a pretty nice dress, that I have worn since (it's nice to be able to wear my 'wedding dress' on date nights!) and it was a good justification for something white- I can't be trusted and designer. Stew wore a suit he already had with a new shirt.
I wouldn't hesitate to do it this way, it took NOTHING away from our actual wedding day, and enhanced our marriage as ultimately everyone we wanted to be there could be. It's only given us more memories and more special places for us as a couple, and I managed to get three wedding outfits. I didn't consider us married until after our bigger day, and we didn't tell many people we were legally married unless asked.
One final thing...You can change your name when you like, if you want to change it- via deed poll or marriage, and both names are still yours. Even though I had elected a new legal name, my 'Miss' was still mine and I continued to use it. You will just find it is more challenging to dip in and out eg. if you change your driving license, you must change your car insurance. I'll be honest...the internet is still in my maiden name, as long as I keep paying...I don't think they care...
If you'd like to find a celebrant, check out https://www.thecelebrantdirectory.com