Many couples these days still have religious ceremonies, while others have their marriage blessed by the church.  Others skip the religious part in total and just have a civil ceremony and there are three main kinds of non-religious wedding ceremonies:

  1. Non-religious - with no religious rituals or blessings: These types are conducted by a judge or registrar held in register offices or on grounds that are licensed for marriage ceremonies, such as estates, castles, hotels, and restaurants.  They are normally short, more informal, intimate ceremonies.  One thing to consider, is that the registrar might have time constraints due to other weddings or events on the same day that he must be present for.  Some registrar offices are not aesthetically appealing for wedding celebrations and can have limits on music and bringing food on the premises.
  2. Humanist Ceremony: With rituals, but without any religious elements. In England and Wales, these weddings do not hold any legal status.  To make it legal you must have a civil wedding at a register office, or have a registrar present at the ceremony.  In Scotland, however there are celebrants from the Humanist Society of Scotland, who are authorised to conduct legitimate marriages.  Humanists don't believe in God, but believe in "good within human beings, in their equality, and in the individual right to freedom of choice in the main decisions of life".  Instead of religious vows, couples exchange their own written vows that speak of their love and promises to each other.  They do exchange rings, have selected readings and even the lighting of a unity candle, so they can feel like religious ceremonies, but they are not held in churches and God is not mentioned.
  3. Carried out in a religious way, or setting: but not actually a religious ceremony.  The ceremony might take place in a church, but there will be no religious readings, no mention of God, or religious hymns.



So there are three main options for those who do not wish to have a religious ceremony.  Happy Wedding Planning!