Ceremonies – Legal & Humanist

Here at Ever After we offer 2 types of ceremony; Legal & Humanist. It’s your wedding day, so you decide how you want things to run… well, depending on whether you choose a legal or non-legal ceremony.

The legal bit

Getting legally married here at Ever After?

You need to make an appointment at your local Registrar’s office to give formal notice of marriage.

You can’t make that appointment earlier than 12 months before your wedding date and you can’t make it later than 28 days before your wedding. That means you have an 11-month window to serve your formal notice.   

Registrar Restrictions

The Registrar office has some restrictions we all have to abide by:

You can’t have any religious readings or music during the ceremony. This is a strict requirement, legally there can’t be any exceptions. If a religious blessing, reading or music is really important to you, it can take place after the Registrars have left. Do let us know if you want to do this so we can make sure things go smoothly on the day.

The Registrar has to meet you both at the venue on the day about 30 minutes before your ceremony. If you don’t want to see each other before the ceremony, they’re happy to see you separately. If one of you is getting ready off-site, we recommend you arrive on site an hour before the ceremony so you’re here in good time to see the Registrar.   

legal ceremony, ever after, summer, wedding barn, registrar, vows, guests
Photographer: First Light Photography

You don’t have to do a thing. The Registrars are happy to come into the honeymoon cottage for a quick meeting. They’ll run through things such as checking your proper names, names of your witnesses, confirming readings and music, etc…

They will ask how you would like to be announced to your guests after the ceremony is finished, are you Mr & Mrs (or Mr & Mr or Mrs & Mrs) or do you want to be announced by your first names?  Think about it ahead of time so you don’t get taken by surprise on the day…

The Registrars don’t allow any food or drink during the ceremony. We’ll be the drinks police and make sure all glasses are collected before guests go in for your ceremony. We’ll put drinking water on the Registrar’s table for you and the Registrars just in case you get a dry throat at a crucial moment in the ceremony!

Handy tip

You are unlikely to meet your Registrar before the date of the wedding. You can ask for a meeting with them if you’d like, but there’s a charge for that. Most couples do not meet the Registrar before their wedding day and it all works out perfectly! 

Good to know

Registrars travel in pairs. Not sure why that is (fear of kidnapping, losing their voice, who knows…), generally one does the writing and one does the talking.

You can find more details about the current Registrars’ fees in the download guide on the ‘Ceremonies’ page of our website.

legal ceremony, ever after, bride and groom, vows, love, kiss, streamers
Photographer: Dan Ward

If you’d like to see more of our real weddings, take a look here.

You don’t have to go legal

You might choose not to get legally married here or in church on the day.  Maybe you live overseas and can’t satisfy the residency requirements to serve the notice of marriage? You can choose to get legally married where you live before you come here.

Your ceremony can look and feel just like a real wedding. You can hide/not hide the fact that it’s a legal or non-legal ceremony here as you wish.     

humanist ceremony, non legal, orchard, summer, ever after, lower grenofen, arch, white material, bride & groom
Photographer: Naomi Kenton

If you decide to go with a non-legal wedding ceremony you have more flexibility to have your ceremony exactly as you want. So you don’t have to be married in the licensed wedding barn;  how about the lawns or the orchard or maybe the woods? Your wedding ceremony can include religious readings and music (which might be important to you) which are not allowed with a Registrar ceremony. You can bring in elements from more than one religion if that works for you as a couple. You can add religious with non-religious elements like hand-fasting. The point is, you’re in charge when it comes to a non-legal ceremony.

What about combining both? If you want to get legally married here on your wedding day but you also want to design your own ceremony, you could book the Registrar to come here in the morning for a legal ceremony. That could either be just the two of you (we can act as witnesses for you) or you could have a small number of family and friends if you prefer. You could then have a non-legal ceremony later in the day with all your guests in the place and format you choose.   

Humanist ceremony, orchard, summer, woodland, ever after
Photographer: Lucy Turnbull


If you’d like to take your wedding inquiry further, then contact Nicola on [email protected]

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