Types of wedding

Types of Wedding


Before you can really get stuck into the nuts and bolts of your pre-nuptial planning (apart from the stag do, chaps, it’s never too early to get your best man started on that…), you need to decide the type of ceremony you’d like.  Long gone are the days when tying the knot meant you had to get wed in the local church.  With a bunch of lax laws in place across the land you’re virtually free to head in any direction you desire.  We’ve put together a brief run-down on the types of wedding, and essential nuptial gen, to get you on your merry way.

Traditional Weddings (church)

Since man first sported a loincloth and T-Rex bling was all the rage, it’s been universally accepted that women reign supreme when it comes to all things fairytale and wedding-y.  BUT, chest-beating chaps of groom-kind, you might want to look away now – fast forward a few thousand years and recent studies have revealed modern man is nearly twice as likely as his fairer counterpart to want the whole traditional gig (fully draped in white and neatly tied in a pink silk bow) when he ties the knot.

In a nutshell:

Think that royal wedding (minus the royalty…. and Beckham) with attendants, ushers, seating plans and a strong trend towards etiquette and tradition. Very much the first choice if a traditional or religious ceremony is required.  Expect hymns, vows and readings, a pre-set order of service, and a formal, suited and booted vibe to the occasion.  Check out our Groomsmen checklist for a run-down of duties on the day.

Essential info: 

Most church weddings require the Banns to be read out three times in the run-up to the big day.

The deed has to be done between 8am – 6pm for it to be officially legal.

Newer laws mean you can now tie the knot outside your local parish if you fulfil at least one of a predetermined list of requirements.

Useful resources:


Modern Weddings

Civil ceremony – registry office

Services follow a strictly non-religious theme, with the option to add your own soundtrack and musings to the occasion.  As a general rule registry office affairs tend to be smaller and more intimate than the traditional church gig, and with the pick of a mighty fine bunch of venues dotted up and down the nation – often with superb grounds at your disposal – you’re on for some cracking mementos (photos) of a ruddy fantastic day.

  • In a nutshell: Shorter, more informal events with more freedom to pick ‘n’ mix on the trimmings.
  • Essential info:
    Both partners need to inform the local council of their intention to wed at least a fortnight before any service takes place (you’ll need proof of ID and address).
    A minimum two ‘competent’ witnesses (pick wisely, gents) must be present at the ceremony.

Civil ceremony – licensed venue

Thanks to newer relaxed laws, as long as a venue carries a license to host weddings and has at least one set of the obligatory four walls and roof, the world’s your lobster when it comes to civil ceremonies!  Stately homes, mansions, museums, ships, galleries, landmarks, lighthouses, even Bond’s own base at the legendary Pinewood Studios.  Check out our guide to choosing the right venue.

  • In a nutshell: Offers the opportunity to be as cool, cultural or downright crazy as your wedding ideas desire.
  • Essential info:
    Civil ceremonies follow the same legal restrictions as in a registry office arrangement.
    Weddings in England and Wales must take place within a permanent structure.
    Head to your local council for a list of licensed venues, and registrars approved to perform the ceremony.

Useful resources:

www.gov.uk – info on the ins and outs of civil ceremonies.

www.maps.direct.gov.uk – handy map-based tool for finding details of your local registry office.

 Destination Weddings

We’re talking sunny skies, sandy beaches, cool wedding garb and a distinctly exotic flavour (rum?), here gentlemen. Tying the knot on foreign shores offers up a great opportunity to prove once and for all that yes, men really can get the hang of this multi-tasking lark.  Family holiday?  Check.  Wedding?  Check.  Honeymoon?  You bet.  One hat-trick of celebrations completed, et voila – mission superbly accomplished. If your ideal wedding ideas put family and friends firmly en route to sunnier shores, with a cracking holiday to kick things off and a romantic week or two (honeymoon) for afters, destination weddings make for a truly fantastic option.

  • In a nutshell: Sun, sea, sand and some of the most spectacular backdrops in the world.  ‘Nuff said?
  • Essential info: With minimum residency requirements often in place when it comes to tying the knot abroad, be aware that you might need to complete the official paperwork on home turf (ie. civil ceremony) with a ‘blessing’, rather than official wedding, under sunnier skies.

Useful resources:




If you want to hold your ceremony at a specific location regardless of licensing laws, blessings neatly side-step the four walls and roof legal requirements of a wedding, so can take place pretty much anywhere you like.  Led by a celebrant and tailored to each individual couple, they’re a great choice if you’re looking for a wholly personal occasion.

  • In a nutshell: With the freedom to write your own vows, choose your soundtrack and include as many readings and extras as you like, it’s almost an ‘anywhere, anyplace, anytime’ kind of deal.
  • Essential info: Bear in mind that a blessing isn’t an official wedding, so you’ll still need to attend a civil ceremony to complete the legal paperwork.

Useful resources:


Themed Weddings

Ok, so this one doesn’t strictly following the thread of the other nuptial bashes on the page but with wedding themes hitting the headlines for all the right (and so very wrong) reasons over the past few years, frankly it’d be criminal not to include them.  So, a themed wedding?  Does exactly what it says on the tin.  Vintage, retro, eras, fashion, music….. if you’re looking for a quirky way to incorporate a sense of fun, style or that little extra bit of madness into the event, tying the day together with hints of a theme can work extremely well.

Of course, if subtle hints aren’t quite your thing, t’interweb is choc-a-block with full-on ideas to get the creative cogs turning.  Shrek, Batman, Star Wars, Superman, Stormtroopers…. Peter Pan(?)  And if terra firma sounds too tame?  Mission accepted.  How about a bungee jump or zero gravity affair?  Each to their own when it comes to wedded bliss.  It’s your day afterall!

And finally…..

We can’t mention wedding ideas without perhaps the most controversial ‘type’ of them all…


Two words on this one:

Vegas baby!!

Or Gretna Green. Whatever works for you.

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