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Legally Married

Hi Girls,

Has anyone had the legal bit in a UK registry office before the blessing/ceremony in a foreign country? We're only planning on having 2 witnesses and treating it as a formality so as not to take too much away from the big day. Having said that i'm not entirely sure if we should be having it before the ceremony at all.

I'm very confused!!!


  • In Holland you have two ceremonies. One in a church and one in the town hall (the legal one). I found this out from a collleague who got married legally, then in the church 6 months later, although with enough forward planning you can do both in one day. She only celebrates her anniversary once a year.

    There are lots of people marrying abroad so best of luck with reading all the responses you get.
  • This is quite commonplace on the continent. It's the same in Germany - everyone has to have a civil ceremony, because religious ceremonies are never legally binding. A friend of mine is leaving a gap of one year in between, but it can be done in one day.

    Most people here keep the registry office very informal - at most wearing a smart suit and maybe going out for dinner with their parents afterwards. That way, they keep all of the traditional wedding frills for the big celebration later.
  • Hi

    We did exactly this - had a registry office wedding to cover the legal bit and then a big wedding abroad. We invited 2 friends as witnesses but a few other friends got wind of it and we ended up with 5 'witnesses'!! We kept the registry office wedding very low key eg. didn't incorporate music, didn't say any other vows etc apart from what is absolutely necessary and also didn't exchange rings. Went to a pub for a few drinks afterwards.

    We then had our proper wedding with all the extras (wedding dress, bridesmaids, best man, music, etc) a few months later out in South Africa (which is where I'm from). Our celebrant did a great job and we even got to sign a little certificate to mark the day - really great as we now have photos of us signing something while we are dressed in our wedding attire etc. The fact that we'd already been legally married for a few months didn't detract at all from the momentousness of the really special wedding day. This is defintely the day we'll celebrate as our anniversary. Although the legal bit was important it was more of a formality than an actual celebration of our life together. Good luck with making your decision!
  • nanauknanauk Posts: 990
    Hi , we are getting married in Cyprus next June and are having a civil ceremony on June 25th and on June 27th we are having a catholic ceremony . We will be on our own for the civil ceremony and our guests will all arrive that evening to be ther for the catholic ceremony.
  • I might be reading this a bit wrong and worrying without reason but I thought that our weddings abroad are legally binding anyway?

    I'm getting married inJamaica next June and am now worried that it won't be recognised so need to book a registry office....
  • KristyukKristyuk Posts: 897
    We're having our legal ceremony at the registry office 5 days before our ceremony in the Maldives (as it's not legal in the Maldives). We're not going to make a big deal of the registry office ceremony, we won't have any music, exchange rings, or say anything more than the legal vows - we'll save all of that for our beach ceremony!
  • Thanks so much girls. You've all made me feel so much more relaxed about it all. I'll definitley keep the legal ceremony as low key as possible. Going to have our best friends witness and will also invited one of my sisters and her husband as they can't make Goa.

    Louise78, I think it's entirely dependant on the country, I could legally marry in Goa but we have to be in Goa for 2 weeks before the ceremony and most of that will be spent waiting in line to sign lots of forms. We'd much rather spend one week with our friends and family in Goa and then spend another 1/2 weeks on honeymoon on our own. If you have a wedding planner in Jamaica, speak to them about it. I'm pretty sure that they would have already told you about it if it wasn't going to be legal. Good luck!!

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