Like most couples every now and then we disagree a little. Hard to believe I know, but once in a while I have been known to challenge the previously undisputed concept that Dom is always right. Of course when such disagreements occur like any other couple we naturally consider both sides of the argument logically, with due care and attention and converse with succinct rationality in only the politest of terms maintaining a gentle, soothing tone throughout. At all times, as of course you will be aware from your own such conversations, we obviously acknowledge and indeed actively and consistently promote, through a process of self examination, any areas in which we may ourselves be at fault or indeed any weaknesses in our respective opinions.
Or, to put it more simply, we shout at each other until Dom decides to ignore me and makes me sleep on the sofa. (Not a tactic I actively promote but undeniably effective as leather sofas get very cold at night and I inevitably end up apologising for my alleged offence if only to prevent phase two of hypothermia).
Anyway, in an effort to exhaust our argumentative energies we’ve decided to battle it out in front of the crowd in a good old fashioned contest. Every Friday on Bride Vs Groom it’s time for the main event as we go head to head pitting two different wedding ideas against each other. We’re ready to take on your suggestions for debate and fight to the death!! Ok maybe not the death, we really quite like each other, but we’ll possibly fight to the chinese burn…maybe even a wedgie… I digress. Anyway we’ll put your arguments forwards with everything we’ve got but we welcome your comments to carry on the debate! So mount your steed, grab a lance and may the contest begin!!
My lords and ladies, introducing todays topic (and it’s a biggy): Church Wedding Vs Civil Ceremony
On your left, representing the classic church wedding, armed with razor sharp industry knowledge and armoured by years of battle-hardened field experience… Dom “The Tog” Bride
On your right, fighting on behalf of the Civil Ceremony, armed with the piercing knowledge that he has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about apart from a 10 minute sweep of Wikipedia…Matt “The Gormless” Groom
Dom: Depending on your personal beliefs, marrying in a church may be the only way to ensure God’s blessing on your marriage, therefore it is essential to be married in a church.
Matt: But if you’re not really religious do you really want to spend the most important day of your lives pretending to share other people’s beliefs?
D: Actually many churches welcome anyone to be married in the church regardless of their beliefs. The Church of England website states: “You’re welcome to marry in church whatever your beliefs, whether or not you are christened and whether or not you regularly go to church”
M: Ok but even still church ceremonies are inevitably filled with religious references: hymns, prayers and blessings. If it’s not something you believe in it’s surely hypocritical to include these in your ceremony.
D: Does it really matter whether you agree or not? Being married in the eyes of god doesn’t mean you’re not also married in the eyes of the law. Friends and family may welcome a religious ceremony if it’s something they believe in even if you don’t. Also in a civil ceremony you can’t have ANY religious references at all so if you are religious then a civil ceremony doesn’t offer you any scope for incorporating your beliefs into the ceremony!
M: But some of those same people may feel that you’re actually disrespecting their beliefs by conducting a religious ceremony you don’t believe in, and whilst of course friends and family are important your wedding is for you, not them, and your special day should be how you want it, no-one else! And even if you are religious the bible states that god is everywhere and in everything, so why should it matter whether you are married in a church or not?
D: Churches have an amazing, welcoming community and a fantastic and unique atmosphere to them.
M: With a civil ceremony the community is whoever you want to be there and you have far more freedom to create the type of atmosphere you want.
D: Churches and cathedrals feature some of the most beautiful architecture of any buildings around, some are simply breathtaking and such special places to get married. A lot of registry offices really are just like offices and just don’t carry the majesty of even the simplest church wedding.
M: With a civil ceremony you can get married absolutely anywhere as long as it has a licence and a covering! You have complete freedom to find the type of venue that suits your personalities, from the great outdoors to the grandest castle: the world is your oyster!
D: Because church ceremonies include hymns and blessings they tend to last for longer, usually at least 45 minutes and you feel that you are taking the time to enjoy this most important part of the day and celebrate properly. Many registry offices have so many wedding each day that they can feel more like a conveyor belt with the next happy couple and their guests “queuing up” outside even before your ceremony has concluded.
M: Registry offices are I suppose aimed more at couples who are looking for something simple or perhaps just see the ceremony as a legal exchange. But as civil ceremonies can take place just about anywhere and take whatever shape you’d like (within certain legal guidelines) your ceremony can effectively be as long or short as you’d like and you have more freedom to have readings from any book, poem, quote or lyric: anything that means something to you.
D: With a church you usually have the chance to get to know the person who will be officiating over the most important day of your lives and discuss with them what you can and can’t do, whereas civil ceremonies are more likely to be looked after by a randomly assigned registrar who you may not particularly like and who may not be happy with some of the things you want to do. You also get the benefit of a wedding rehearsal in most church weddings so you can put your mind at ease that everything will run well on the day and get rid of some of those butterflies in the tummy!
M: Whether or not you know the registrar well they effectively have to stick roughly to the same or similar script to cover all the legal guidelines, and most venues for civil ceremonies have someone who looks after weddings and will work closely with you throughout the planning stages to get exactly what you want on the day. Whilst you don’t normally get a full rehearsal with a registrar they will usually come and see you both individually just before the ceremony starts and ensure you know what is going to happen.
D: A church wedding offers you that classic, perfect and oft dreamed-about entrance as you step through the doors to “Here Comes the Bride”.
M: But would you rather walk in to the Wedding March or your favourite song, a song that really means something to you, perhaps a song you shared together and reminds you of another happy memory?
D: With a church wedding all of the guests tend to get more involved; there are hymns to sing…who doesn’t like a singsong??
M: I can’t sing.
Dom: The church wedding is the truly classic beginning to a marriage: the little girl’s dream; the ultimate fairytale, the seal of approval from the very heart of the community. Beautiful architecture, incredible spirituality and the powerful wedding heritage and history within those walls give the church wedding exceptional purity and beauty. That feeling as the bride nervously walks that same aisle where hundreds have walked before to their own awestruck grooms creates a kind of magic in the air, something simply extraordinary. The church wedding really is a perfect foundation to a perfect marriage and a location rich in heritage, love and romantic ideals.
Matt: The civil ceremony gives the freedom to stamp your personality on a day that, in the end, is all about you. It’s your ideas, your style, it’s whatever YOU want it to be and no-one else. You can choose to be married virtually anywhere, from the grandest castle to that special place that holds such important memories to you and your relationship. So go do it your way. Get married in a barn or on a boat or in your dad’s potting shed where you shared your first kiss, for wherever you choose to hold your wedding it will forever be sacred to you.
Right, well as Dom slinks off to our lovely warm bed and I settle in for another night on the sofa we’d like to hear your thoughts and opinions on the church wedding vs civil ceremony debate in our comments section below. They say the pen is mightier than the sword (although curiously I’ve never managed to break a sword but get through 5 biros a day) so choose your weapon and let battle commence!