Religious wedding or civil ceremony?


This is a very personal decision that the two of you will need to discuss carefully before starting to plan your wedding. You may not have discussed this issue before so it is important that you are both honest about your feelings.

A religious ceremony

If either of you is a believer in any religion, the chances are that you will want to get married in a religious ceremony according to your faith and in the appropriate place of worship. If you already worship in a particular church, synagogue or temple, this will be the most obvious place for your marriage ceremony to take place.

Discuss your wedding plans with your priest, minister or rabbi once you are engaged. There may be certain requirements to fulfill before you can marry, such as premarital counseling or conversion of one member of the couple to the faith.

An interfaith ceremony

If you both have different faiths, then you will need to discuss the possibility of an interfaith ceremony. One example is the wedding of Chelsea Clinton, a Methodist, and her husband Mark Mezvinsky, who is Jewish.

A civil ceremony

Couples choose a civil ceremony for a variety of reasons. Perhaps neither of you has religious convictions, or you feel it is hypocritical to marry in church if you are not a believer. Maybe one of you is divorced so you cannot marry in a particular church, or perhaps you prefer to marry in a neutral setting without religious connotations.

Your civil marriage ceremony can be conducted in a courthouse, at your home, or on a beach, the choice is yours. Most US states permit you to marry wherever you choose.


Whatever your choice, it is important that you are both happy with the decision from the start, as the marriage ceremony symbolizes the beginning of your married life together.

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