Civil wedding? Here's how to plan this intimate marriage ceremony

Civil wedding is a great option for couples who want a simple, affordable, and personalised ceremony.


Whether you want to keep things simple or you’re looking for a more unique and personal ceremony, a civil wedding can be a great option.

A civil wedding is a ceremony held in a secular setting, such as a courthouse, city hall, or park. In other words, a civil wedding is a non-religious ceremony officiated by a government official or a judge.

Many couples choose to have a civil wedding for a variety of reasons, including the affordability and simplicity of the ceremony.

One benefit of a civil wedding is the flexibility to customize the ceremony. You can choose to include any elements that are meaningful to you and your partner, such as personal vows or a unique ritual.


If you’re considering a civil wedding, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Do your research

Every country has its own set of rules when it comes to applying for a marriage license, so make sure to check first. Generally, a civil ceremony is subject to the same requirements as a religious one regarding fees (such as venue and marriage license) and restrictions (age, et cetera). So, keep an eye out for fees, required documentation, and waiting periods.

  • Choose an officiant

While, again, requirements vary from country to country, a civil ceremony is generally presided over by a legal official. That person can be a justice of the peace, county or court clerk, notary public, judge, or magistrate. If you go to the court or registry, that person will be provided.

  • Decide who to invite

Having a civil ceremony doesn’t mean you have to skip the guest list entirely, but there are often limits on how many guests you can bring. Always check the rules at your ceremony venue before extending an invitation to any family members or friends. And don't forget that "witnesses" can be "guests," too.

Consider inviting your parents and siblings for an intimate celebration, or add on a few close friends.

  • Prioritize the ceremony

There is a saying that "the most memorable weddings are always the most personal."


Put your spin on your civil ceremony with your own personality through your outfits (whether new or from your current closet), and how it's documented. Celebrate your love.

Consider bringing a photographer to capture the day's special moments, as the civil ceremony is part of your wedding story.

  • Make it official

You’re married! Mark the occasion in a way that feels special, whether it’s a champagne toast with just the two of you, a family dinner at home, or a late lunch after a midday ceremony. If you have witnesses or guests, make sure to include them in the fun.


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