pouring libation at civil ceremony



We have booked a venue yo hold our civil wedding and reception.  It is really beautiful . The only thing us we want to pour libation with or without a spiritual celebrant at some part if our wedding.  We gave been told there can be no religious ceremony but they don't say much about what that means. Also we expect some relatives to be against it as they are conservative. 

Any ideas how we can incorporate this Spiritual ritual into our wedding  without offending too many people ?  


Thanks to all




  • Sam60Sam60 Posts: 249


    Who is performing your ceremony? Is it a registrar or a celebrant? We are getting a quick 'legal' marriage the day before our ceremony and then having a celebrant do the ceremony. She has been really accomodating, and I think if you were to have a celebrant you might be OK?

    The best thing to do is to talk to whoever it is and see if they are comfy with how 'religious' it really is (if that makes sense) xx

  • Rose19Rose19 Posts: 5

    Hi Sam 60, 


    Thanks for your reply, and I like your idea of doing the legal wedding the day before. I will definitely speak to the registry office about this I think.

    We have booked a venue that does civil ceremony with the registrar with the reception straight after. It is important for me to have my friends and family witness that part too. We hoped to have the registrar bit and then our own celebrant but we were not prepared for the discussion about religiosity so we backed off a bit from discussing it when we booked as the sales lady didn't really have a clear understanding... 

    Also my H2B is now nervous of his family getting upset about it anyway and wonders if it should be a separate ceremony the day after or before or even during the day.

    Any thoughts most welcome !


  • Sam60Sam60 Posts: 249

    To begin with, we had booked a registrar to do the legal bit in the ceremony, but we accidentally got talking to the celebrant at a wedding fait and she was great. We liked the fact that it was more personal and 'us' than a registrar. The way she explained it was that you go to the registry office as a pure formality, take all you need for witnesses and nobody else. She said its kinda like a  birth or death, you have those ceremonies with all the guests but they don't have to see you complete the paperwork in the registry office.

    As for the ceremony itself, to be honest I had to google it when I read your post as I didn't have a clue :-) It looks beautiful though, I don't see how people could be offended? The day is all about you two and doing what feels right for you and not everybody else!!! That said, your h2b knows your guests and whether some of them can be awkward... Xx

  • Rose19Rose19 Posts: 5

    Hi, that makes a lot of sense about the paperwork. I think we have alot more to research in terms of what we are allowed to do. Like you i can't understand why people would be offended but he knows them better than me. He also has had previous situations shall we say where this was an issue. I suppose this is why weddings can become stressful. 

    When is your wedding? Are you excited? 

  • Sam60Sam60 Posts: 249

    I don't understand it, I know we are all different, but if I were invited to an event that included different cultures, I would love to be a part of it and learn from the new experience.

    Our wedding is 4 June this year - just having a bit of a panic about losing weight watchers he he (funny thing is, legal bit is 3/6 but I still think of it as 4/6 when the ceremony will be). When is yours? Don't let these little hiccups over shadow things, I'm sure it will be perfect on the day :-) xx

  • Phil10Phil10 Posts: 6

    Hi Rose19

    I'm a registrar of marriages so perhaps I can help with some background.  Getting married is governed by the Marriage Act 1949.  If you get married in a register office, section 45(2) states that no "religious service" shall be used.  Similarly if you are getting married in approved premises (hotels, etc. that have a licence to hold marriage ceremonies) then section 46B(4) says pretty much the same sort of thing.

    There is no precise definition in the legislation as to what "religious service" constitutes.  The General Register Office offers some guidance to registrars on music and readings which may contain some religious reference and provided it is incidental only to the main item, then it is usually permissable.  However, where the ritual is taken from a distinct religion, then chances are it will not be allowed and registration staff tend to be quite strict on this to ensure adherance with the law.  Apart from the pouring of libation to which you refer, such rituals as hand-fasting, singing of hymns, readings from religious books etc. will all be prohibited.

    Sam60's suggestion to get the legal formalities completed first is a good one.  Once the registration staff have departed, provided you are in approved premises and not a register office, you are free to continue and incoporate whatever religious elements you wish.

    If your guests are likely to be offended, perhaps a note on the invitatons that you intend to follow the actual marriage with pouring of libation will give them sufficient warning.  They can then attend if they wish or otherwise.  In the final analysis, it's your day, celebrate how you and your OH want.

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