Choosing an Alternative to a Church Wedding

Traditionally, marriage is a religious institution. However, in modern times, it has come to take on its own meaning and significance, independently of religious belief. Of course, for many people, marriage is still inextricably linked with religion. Nevertheless, there are increasing numbers of people for whom marriage is a celebration of commitment and love which isn’t necessarily religious in nature. In many respects, marriage is just the same for these people as it is for religious people; however, one important difference is that they may choose to celebrate their marriage differently. For example, they may choose not to be married in a church. So, how do they get married?

In last week’s blog post, we discussed humanist weddings and how they may be a suitable choice for those who don’t wish to have a traditional religious ceremony. While humanist ceremonies are perfect for many people, they’re far from the only option available to those who don’t wish to have a traditional religious wedding. In this week’s blog post, we’d like to explore some other alternatives to getting married at church, and offer some advice that we’ll hope you’ll find useful.

Choosing an Alternative Venue

Once you’ve decided that you won’t be getting married at church, your next task will be to choose an alternative venue. Not getting married at church opens up the possibility of having an outdoor wedding, which is an attractive prospect for many people. Of course, planning an outdoor wedding in Ireland is likely to be a somewhat stressful endeavour, given our notoriously unreliable weather. All the same, with the proper planning, an outdoor wedding is definitely an option, and can be incredibly romantic. If you’d rather not take your chances with the Irish weather, you can choose almost any indoor venue you like. Many people choose luxury hotels as venues for their ceremonies. Perhaps you could even consider something more exotic, like holding your ceremony on a boat cruise. The options are endless, and the choice is yours.

Choosing an Alternative Ceremony

Last week, we discussed the essential features of a humanist wedding ceremony. While this type of ceremony is an excellent choice for some, there are other options which may be more suitable for others. For example, besides humanist wedding solemnisers, there are also spirtualist and interfaith solemnisers available to conduct wedding ceremonies in Ireland. A spiritualist solemniser would be best suited to those who don’t conform to any mainstream religious belief, but who nonetheless have a spiritual outlook on life. An interfaith solemniser, on the other hand, caters for couples from mixed religious backgrounds who wish to design a ceremony which reflects their shared beliefs and incorporates aspects of both religons. Visit Spiritual Ceremonies Ireland and Interfaith Ministers Ireland for more information.

In addition to the different types of solemnisers we’ve discussed, you can also simply choose to have a friend or family member act as a celebrant. A celebrant will conduct a non-religious ceremony that has been designed especially for you. The key difference between a celebrant and a solemniser is that a celebrant is not empowered to legally marry you. You can find information about professional wedding celebrants at Marry Me Ireland.

Making it Official

In order to make your marriage official, the first step is to give notice to a HSE Registrar at least three months in advance of your wedding. This must be done in person, and you may book an appointment over the phone or online. A fee of €200 is also required. If you’ve chosen to have your wedding ceremony conducted by one of the solemnisers above, they can legally solemnise your marriage on the day. If you’ve chosen to have it conducted by a celebrant, a second trip to the Registrar’s office will be required to make your marriage official.

Announcing Your Choice

Traditional church weddings are still the most popular choice in Ireland. For this reason, you may find that others are sometimes puzzled by your decision not to have a church wedding. This can be especially true of family members who hold differing religious beliefs. When announcing your decision to others, there’s no need to go into detail about why you’ve chosen not get married a church. It’s your wedding, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation of your choice. Simply remind them that marriage is a celebration of love, and you’ve chosen the type of ceremony that you feel is most appropriate for you.

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