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Ceremonies in East Sussex
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The Ceremony

Step 4 – from 19 July 2021:

  • Safety, and maintaining the level of public services we can offer are our priorities.
  • Registrars will wear a face covering.
  • We’re requiring all visitors to East Sussex County Council buildings, including our Register Offices, to continue to wear a face covering in public areas and ceremony rooms (unless exempt).
  • We urge all people attending wedding ceremonies at which we officiate, in any venue, to continue to wear a face covering (unless exempt).

For the latest information about ceremonies during the Covid-19 pandemic see our Covid Update Page

 

Wedding Ceremony

A marriage is contracted by the exchange of two sets of spoken legal vows. The first set of vows are when you declare that you are free to marry and the second when you take each other as partners in marriage. Each of you will repeat the vows after the Celebrant Registrar.

Civil Partnership Ceremony

Unlike a marriage ceremony there are no legally required spoken vows. Instead, each person must read a legal declaration and sign the civil partnership schedule. This declaration can be spoken out loud to one another if preferred.

     

                

The information below is an outline of a ceremony, and should be used as a guide only. 

Ceremony Entrance

Your guests will already be in the ceremony room awaiting your arrival. You can choose to arrive together ot separately, and/or be escorted by a family member or friend. Your Celebrant Registrar can, if you wish say a few words to mark the relationship between you both, and their support on your special day. The following is an example of what the registrar might say:

 

"The bond between ________ & ________ is a very special one, and never more so than on a day like today. One of the rare occasions when we are able to publicly acknowledge these relationships is during a ceremony like this. So, may I ask who stands here in support of ________ & ________ on their special day?"

 

 

The Celebrant Registrar will begin with a welcome, introduction and a brief outline of the ceremony. A few legal statements will be made, along with asking for any legal objections to your marriage or civil partnership. 

 

Vows & Declarations

The heart of the ceremony arrives when you each say your vows and declarations. Vows and declarations will be repeated after the Celebrant Registrar. 

Marriage Vows

You can choose which legal vows you would like to say. The most traditional vows are shown below. 

There is space on the ceremony options form for you to indicate which set of vows you would like to say.

The Declaratory Vows

“I do solemnly declare that I know not, of any lawful impediment, why I ________, may not be joined in matrimony, to ________”

 

The Contracting Vows

“I call upon these persons, here present to witness, that I ________, do take thee ________, to be my lawful wedded wife/husband”

 

Civil Partnership Declarations

You will each be invited to repeat the following declarations to one another.

“I ________ declare that I come here of my own free will and accord and am free lawfully to enter into this bond with ________.”

 

“I ________ declare before those gathered here today, that I take you ________ to be my lifelong partner, to love and to honour you, to trust and to respect you and to be loving, faithful and loyal throughout our lives together.”

 

Exchanging of Rings

If you have chosen to exchange rings, you will do this once your legal vows/declarations have been said. 

If you have written personal vows, these will be said as you exchange rings. Alternatively, you can repeat words after the Celebrant Registrar.The following is an example:

“I give you this ring as a reminder of the promises that I have made to you today. May you wear it with love and happiness, now and always.”

 

Signing of the Schedule

The ceremony continues with the signing of the schedule. The Deputy Registrar will invite both you and your witnesses to the table to check and sign the schedule. 

If you are forming a civil partnership, the registrar will ask you both to read the legal declaration before signing. If you prefer, you can read the declaration aloud. 

It is important that you check the schedule and all your details are correct. If an error is discovered after the schedule is signed, corrections can only be made once a statutory fee has been paid. 

Once the schedule has been signed the Deputy Registrar will present you with your commemorative certificate (if you have ordered one). Any other ceremony extras ordered will also be presented at this time. 

Following the presentation your Celebrant Registrar will formally declare you as married/civil partnered, and if you wish invite you to kiss. 

Please note you will sign the schedule in the name you are currently using, and not any new names you may be taking. 

Ceremony Exit

Your ceremony concludes with some closing words from the Celebrant Registrar as they invite your guests to be upstanding and congratulate you as you take your first steps as a newly married couple/civil partners.

Music & Readings

Any music and readings that you have chosen will be included at the appropriate moments. Your Registrar will confirm this during your pre-ceremony interviews.

 

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