top of page
  • Writer's pictureLisa Flahant

When weddings go wrong...

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

As a deputy registrar and ceremony officer, I saw a lot of weddings which didn’t go exactly to plan...

Newly weds embrace under blue skies

Part of this was because you didn't know who you were marrying or what the full content of the wedding was until you arrived at the ceremony. Part of this was because the system is inflexible, with limitations on what you can and cannot do. And part of it was just down to poor communication between the many different parties involved in organising a legal ceremony.

The first, a large wedding, in a very expensive hotel by the beach. A fabulous location, with views of the Atlantic and on miles of golden sand. Usually, my very favourite kind of wedding. The couple were set on getting married at this particular venue, and also determined to wed outside to take full advantage of the fabulous setting. But there was a problem. The hotel didn’t have a pergola, or any permanent outdoor structure under which they could legally marry. So a compromise was proposed. The couple could have some of their ceremony outside, but when it came to the legal words - the declaratory and contracting vows - the couple (with or without guests) had to decamp to a room in the hotel to complete the ceremony. Apart from being a logistical nightmare, I imagine this might have broken the spell a little…

The second wedding was at another equally expensive hotel, with guests having travelled from all over the country. On arrival at the venue, the registrar checked the readings the couple had requested (a requirement of the legal wedding process) and 2 out of the 3 readings were considered unsuitable. One had the occasional sweary word, and the other wasn’t a reading, it was a hand-fasting ritual. So minutes ahead of getting married, the bride was advised that one of the readings would have to be edited, and the other couldn’t take place at all, as it was considered a pagan ritual and not acceptable for a registrar-led ceremony. The compromise was that the wedding would proceed, and then at the appropriate moment, the registrars would leave, and the couple could then have their hand-fasting, conducted by one of the guests. It kind of spoilt the flow of things, if you know what I mean, and a significant amount of last minute stress for the bride and groom.

The third, was a couple who were marrying in the register office. They arrived, with all of their music loaded onto their phone, ready to advise what should be played and when. However there was a problem. This couple were big Eminem fans. And since Eminem is not particularly well known for his clean lyrics, the music was considered unsuitable for the ceremony. The couple had to ditch their choices and settle for some bland tracks from Weddings’ Greatest Hits provided by the register office. Probably not how they envisaged their big day.

With a celebrant led wedding, there are no compromises or restrictions. The whole ceremony can be held wherever you want, with whatever music, words and rituals you want. The photographer can take as long over the photos as you want, as many people can attend and be involved as much as you want, and your ceremony can take as long as you want. And of course, the ceremony will be written by someone who has got to know you and the words tailored to exactly what you want, with no template script or stilted legal vows needed to be spoken. And yes, you do need to have a small legal ceremony at the register office at some time before or after your actual wedding celebration, but why not have your special day EXACTLY the way you want?

91 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page