Many new wedding couples today are choosing to have a civil ceremony, rather than a more traditional wedding in a religious place of worship. Civil ceremonies are not just for those who are non-religious, but are instead more flexible for the bride and groom who may want to include special readings, vows, music, symbolic acts, themes, etc. that may not be allowed in one religion or another. A Civil Union or Civil Ceremony also is an alternative option for those who are trying to keep their wedding within a small budget.

The civil ceremony usually consists of the opening words, readings, consent, vows, the ring exchange, and last readings/closing words. Most Officiants have experience in writing wedding ceremonies, but you may want to include your own work to personalize things a little bit. This is an easy way to make sure that you have the wedding ceremony exactly as you want it, and to include family members and friends in certain parts that may otherwise have not been the normal procedure.

Some couples choose to have a specific friend or family member perform their ceremony. Usually, this can be achieved as long as a licensed local official witnesses the event and fills out the legal documents. Visit State Marriage Laws to find out who can perform marriage ceremonies in each of the United States.

Civil ceremonies are mainly performed in the offices of a City Hall, but another location may be chosen if so desired, almost anywhere you can think of. Some choose an outdoor setting – a favorite spot where they share special memories – and others opt to have the ceremony at a wedding destination such as a resort, so that they and their guests can dance into the night and gather for breakfast the following day.

Visit the Wedding Destinations section for links and information about destination wedding sites with on-staff professional wedding planners, coordinators, and consultants.