The Legal Bit – Before, During or After?


You may recall this time last year, ITV’s ‘This Morning’ planned an entire wedding, presented by a celebrant at the Royal Albert Hall.    There followed something of a mini uproar and The Mirror reported that viewers of ‘This Morning’ were furious that the couple were already married.  This ‘shocking discovery’ apparently ‘tainted the live wedding’.

Now excuse me.  Doubtless a little bias as always but surely isn’t a wedding the exchanging of promises and rings?  Yes, the formalities need to be done in a registry office or licensed venue for the marriage to be legalised, but it does NOT have to be part of the ceremony.  Those who know me will know that the tone of my ceremonies is traditional and the couples who use my services lean that way.  However even if you are more alternative, I believe that the core elements of a marriage are generally the same and are reflected in most vows. In short, a relationship based on permanence, exclusivity and care.   There is no legal element.

Consider this:  Do you have a ceremony when you register a baby’s birth?   No.  Do you have a ceremony when you register a death?  No.  Funerals, christenings or naming ceremonies are NOT legal ceremonies.  The same applies to wedding ceremonies.

Over the years I have had many people comment that, of course, the wedding wasn’t real because they were already married.   Why do people consider it so less real just because a register has been signed BEFORE vows were exchanged?  I’ve had couples who have had their wedding ceremony and then gone to the Registry Office to sign the register.  In their eyes the legal part was just a formality that had to be done.  It is not the be all and end all.  Those couples are right!

The couple who were married in the Royal Albert Hall WERE MARRIED in the Royal Albert Hall.  They merely legalised it beforehand.