How to have your wedding before your marriage

What is a prequel wedding? And is it OK to have your wedding ceremony before you actually get married at the register office? Read on to find out how to make the absolute best of both your marriage and your wedding – how to have your wedding cake and eat it!

Photo @larajaynejackson

Can your wedding be before your marriage?

A marriage is the legal contract between two people made in front of two witnesses and a person authorised to make an entry into the marriage register which is then signed.

A wedding is the ceremonial celebration, religious or otherwise. It is as simple as that.

You can have your wedding before, during or after you legally contract your marriage.

Photo @larajaynejackson

Is a wedding ceremony legal?

Your wedding is the ceremonial celebration of your marriage – it is not the legal part.

But here’s the thing, it IS your real wedding day!

Whether you have your wedding ceremony at the same time as you contract your marriage (for example in church or with a registrar at an approved premises) or on a totally different day (for example with a celebrant), your wedding ceremony IS your real wedding day.

Photo @larajaynejackson

Do I have to wait for a register office ceremony?

Understanding the difference between a marriage and a wedding opens up huge possibilities!

You don’t have to wait for wait for an appointment with the register office to legally contract your marriage before organising your wedding day – you can have your wedding day whenever you like! Just remember that is it the non-legal bit, so you won’t get your marriage certificate until your appointment with your registrar.

Photo @tonibonet_wedding

What is a prequel wedding?

A prequel wedding is when you decide to have your wedding before your marriage. You can have the ceremonial wedding celebration wherever you want and whenever you want, officiated by a wedding celebrant or “officiant” who can include whatever you want!

There’s a well-worn phrase used by celebrants,

“Your day, your way”.

Photo @tonibonet_wedding

What can I have at my prequel wedding?

Your wedding ceremony can include wording similar to that which you are accustomed to hearing at a marriage ceremony – just remember that your celebrant is not legally marrying you, they are uniting you through ceremony.

There are some beautiful symbolic rituals that you can bring into your wedding as a show to the world of the commitment you are making to each other. Hugely popular are hand tying and handfasting to symbolise the bonds of matrimony, sand unity ceremonies and candle lighting the flame of your passion. Your celebrant will be brimming with ideas and inspiration to make your wedding day really special.

Photo @tonibonet_wedding

So what are you waiting for? No more uncertainty. No need to hang on for that appointment with the registrar. Have your real wedding day before your marriage. Have a prequel wedding!

Author bio: Debbie Skyrme is an award winning celebrant of bilingual weddings, elopements and vow renewal ceremonies in the Spanish sunshine.

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We always credit the wonderful wedding suppliers in our photos. Huge appreciation to:

Photographer: @tonibonet_wedding

Photographer: @larajaynejackson

Wedding planner: @mar_aday

Hair: @cesarmorillasalvarez 

Makeup: @violetacarvajalmakeup 

Hair accessories: @calabylilian

Celebrant: @celebrantspain

Celebrant: @wendysherwoodcelebrant

Dresses @luciacanonovias

Suits: @bxs_motril

Boat charter: @sailnplay at Marina del Este, Spain

Florist: @machuno_arte_floral

Rings @selfieandyou101

Our model couples: 

@amvalenzu  and @eva_pkalman  

@jessicacoates_  and @dariomartz

By CelebrantSpain

I am Debbie Skyrme, an international award winning bilingual celebrant officiating weddings, elopements and vow renewal ceremonies across Spain. As an experienced former UK Registrar I am now delighted to officiate symbolic ceremonies as an Independent Celebrant in Spain. With my trademark warm smile and a gentle sense of fun I celebrate wedding ceremonies in some of the most beautiful venues and locations in the Mediterranean. Your destination wedding may be closer than you think!

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