Find out how and why you should combine the basic legal marriage offered by the Registrar with a celebrant led ceremony at a later date.
Choosing the Registrar’s 2+2 basic ceremony combined with a celebrant led ceremony will give you flexibility and will ultimately allow you to have the wedding you had hoped for. It also will enable you to take back some control of your wedding planning.
The “no frills’ 2+2 wedding ceremonies are the most basic form of ceremony offered by the registration services.
In these uncertain times combining it with a celebrant led ceremony could well be the most effective plan to getting the wedding of your dreams, albeit postponed but where you want it.
The current situation
It goes without saying that the registration services are doing admirable work. They are attempting to facilitate all those ceremonies that were postponed during the lockdown.
Adding to this massive workload are the anxious couples with ceremonies planned in the coming months. Understandably they too are desperate to know where they stand and what is going to happen. You may be one of them.
In short no one still really knows what’s going to happen except some sort of compromise will be inevitable with regard to the numbers that can attend. And it is then down for the couples to decide where they will make their compromise. The date or the numbers.
Furthermore there are also enquiries being received from newly engaged couples keen to start planning their ceremonies for next year or even beyond.
The registrars are doing their utmost to accommodate everyone. It is no mean feat. The fact is though that the registrar’s diaries are at the moment closed to all new bookings and postponements of ceremonies.
Why would I opt for the 2+2 ceremony?
In short because it will give you flexibility and more options for your wedding ceremony at your preferred venue or elsewhere.
What is the 2+2 ceremony?
A “2+2” ceremony or “basic” ceremony is short and only includes the legal elements needed to perform a marriage. The only people to attend will be you both and your two witnesses and the registrars. It is the cheapest and shortest option available.
It only includes a declaration, contracting words and an optional ring vow, chosen from a short standard selection and is available at selected registry offices. It will take place in a small private office.
I want to have our wedding at our dream venue
There are all only so many Saturdays in a year and only so many ceremonies that Registrars can actually fit in to one day.
If you were to scale back your legal ceremony to the simple 2+2 which can be held midweek at any mutually convenient time; it would undoubtedly alleviate the pressures on the Registrars. It will also lessen the pressure on yourselves to find availability of a Registrar and a venue for the same date.
At a later date you can hold your larger wedding ceremony at your preferred venue using the services of a wedding celebrant. It is at this ceremony that you will exchange vows and rings. The ceremony will be celebration of your marriage and personalised to reflect your love and relationship.
Image credit: Little Phat Dog Photographic
I can’t find a wedding venue available.
Try and be flexible. This is a difficult and horrid situation for everyone. Couples, venues and registrars alike. Everyone is trying their best.
If you have your heart set on a certain date and your venue can’t accommodate this (due to availability) and you don’t want to pay an additional fee that some venues are applying; then there is a very real and sad reality that you may have to compromise on your venue.
If the Registrar is unavailable but the venue is and you have fulfilled the legalities a celebrant led ceremony could be the answer. Celebrants rarely do more than one ceremony a day and are therefore completely flexible with timings. It may be that the venue will be free and a celebrant can present your ceremony.
It may also be worth considering a mid week wedding at your chosen venue or a winter wedding. Both these options are less in demand and therefore there will be more availability. A celebrant of course can help here too.
Unlicensed wedding venues
By having the 2+2 ceremony you have opened up your options further. You won’t have to think about a licensed or approved venue where the demand for weddings will be highest. You can have your ceremony anywhere you wish.
A celebrant led ceremony really can be held anywhere. In your garden, in a field, in an unlicensed part of an approved venue, in a wood on a beach. Anywhere. There may be somewhere you have always thought would be the most perfect place for a wedding or a place with a special meaning to you.
Be imaginative, within reason anything is possible and allow your creative juices to flow and create a new vision for your day.
Image credit: Kathryn Clarke-Mcleod
Choosing your unlicensed venue
Choosing this route you will be completely unhindered by rules but perhaps a few practicalities. So do try and be practical. You need to be able to get all your guests there after all. Be inspired by the images on Pinterest and Instagram and let your creativity and vision for your ceremony take you somewhere special and unique.
Do you mind that you will be legally married before your wedding ceremony?
It’s the vows that you make in front of your friends and family that are important. The wedding ceremony is the essence of your whole wedding day and around which everything else is planned.
Your celebrant led ceremony will be so personal and unique that nobody will notice or care whether you are legally married or not. The focus will be on you both, your relationship, your friendships, your story and love. It will be a real celebration of your marriage.
By completing the legal formalities independently and not being tied to getting the availability of both Registrar and venue it leaves you open to more choices. It gives you flexibility and when there is a huge demand for so few days this is key. Inevitably wedding celebrants are getting busy too. Don’t delay contact one soon.