I’m ready to start planning my celebration. Where do I start?
We have created some handy guides to help you plan your celebration, depending on what type of ceremony you wish to have.
If you don't yet know where to start, take a look at our Guide to Getting Married.
In order to book your ceremony, you’ll need to know where you’d like it to take place. You can browse our wide array of licensed venues or view the latest edition of our ceremonies brochure online. To have a copy sent to you, please order one here.
At Westminster, we ensure that your wedding is a special occasion for everyone involved. With more than 140 world class venues to choose from, our exceptional team of registrars go above and beyond to make your dream day a reality. Whether you are planning a spectacular celebration or an intimate event, we can customise your ceremony to your taste as a couple.
Available to same-sex and opposite-sex couples, your ceremony can take place across any of our renowned venues. It is our pleasure to adapt the ceremony to your exact requirements - whether this be to simply sign the civil partnership schedule in front of your witnesses or to incorporate additional elements such as vows, music and readings. We have a suggested script for the wording of your ceremony below.
Renewal of Vows
Renewing your vows is an opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to each other in a personalised ceremony with your loved ones. This is a wonderful way to celebrate a special anniversary or a renewed commitment to one another. Additionally, a renewal of vows ceremony may be the right option for you if you were married abroad and would like a formal ceremony in the UK.
Commitment ceremonies are suitable for couples who would like an alternative to a marriage or civil partnership ceremony. Not legally binding, they provide an opportunity for couples to declare their feelings of love, trust and commitment to each other. You are welcome to exchange rings and personalise these ceremonies with readings, music and vows which are special to you.
A naming ceremony is a chance to welcome your child into the world and into your family, to announce their name, and to give family members and friends the honour of becoming their mentors or guardians in life. This is a non-religious civil ceremony which we can help you adapt to make it personal to you. Your ceremony can be held in any of our Westminster venues.
We have carefully created options for your ceremony wording, exclusive to Westminster. These can be selected as is, or used as a template to write your own, unique script.
Romantic, Modern, Traditional and Unconventional are all ceremony scripts for marriages, as they include the verbal contracts required in a marriage ceremony.
Renewal of Vows
Once you’ve found your dream location, we’re here to help you design a celebration that’s intrinsically ‘you’. As soon as you have booked your ceremony, you can begin planning its intricate details. Below we have outlined the many ways you can personalise your ceremony. Once you are have chosen your ceremony wording and are ready to let us know, please complete this ‘ceremony planner’ so that you can let us know exactly how you would like your ceremony to proceed. Be sure to submit it at least a week before your ceremony.
Who to include
You are welcome to include your friends and family in your ceremony as much a you’d like. If you’d like to incorporate guest vows in your ceremony, or if you’d like your pets to take centre stage as guest of honour, we’d be happy to accommodate this.
If you’ve always envisioned being ‘given away’ or like the idea of the two of you making your entrance into the ceremony room together, then just let us know. Perhaps you feel it would be extra special to begin your child’s naming ceremony with a procession of those closest to them or to have a poem recited as you and your child enter the room. If a formal entrance isn’t your thing, then we’re happy to start proceedings as informally as you wish.
If you want to walk down the aisle to a special number, we’d be happy to include your music choices into the service. Maybe you like the idea of selecting songs for your child’s naming ceremony which have special meaning to you as a parent, or music which is significant to your child. There’s no need to worry if you’re having a hard time narrowing down your song selection – there is also the option to play music whilst your guests wait for proceedings to begin, at the close of the ceremony (and when you sign the marriage/civil partnership schedule.)
You are welcome to add readings to your ceremony. This could be an extract from a book, quote or song lyric, or poem written especially for the day. However, please be aware that readings (and music) must be non-religious - please contact the Register Office if you are unsure.
Whether romantic and earnest or humorous but heartfelt, if you would like the opportunity to say your own personal vows we’d be happy to incorporate these within your ceremony. This extends to our naming ceremonies too, where parents and guide parents are free to make their own personal promises to the child and wishes for their future.
Warming of the rings
Why not incorporate the ancient tradition of asking each of your guests to momentarily hold your weddings rings whilst making a silent wish for your future? You may like to adapt the custom with an eternity ring for a vow renewal ceremony, or a silver rattle or other keepsake for a naming ceremony.
You may have a particularly significant reason for making the decision to have a ceremony. Perhaps you have a special connection to the venue you have chosen or the date is especially meaningful. It may be you love the idea of sharing the reasons behind your reading and music choices, or in the case of a naming ceremony, what led you to choose your child’s name. If so, we’ll be happy to make reference to this within your ceremony – just edit your ceremony wording to reflect this.
You are free to really make your ceremony your own by including a paragraph or two about your relationships progression and the highlights so far. For a naming ceremony why not include an acknowledgement of those whose relationship with your child you would particularly like to honour and the highlights of your life as a family unit.
If you like the thought of doing something a little bit different, take a look at our unconventional script where you will find we have included the option of a sand or stone ceremony (though you are very welcome to incorporate either into any of our scripts.) These memorable ceremony enhancements also allow the opportunity to create a keepsake of the day, forged right there and then during your ceremony.
Meeting your Registrar
We understand that you may want to meet with the registrar who’ll be conducting your ceremony. At present, this may not be possible in person as we are extremely busy conducting ceremonies. However, instead of a face-to-face meeting, we will happily arrange a call and where appropriate, a virtual meeting on Microsoft Teams or Zoom at a suitable time during the week before the ceremony. Please note, we will only be able to schedule this once the staffing rota has been finalised and the registrar conducting your ceremony has been assigned.
I’m looking for inspiration to help me plan my ceremony. Can you offer any ideas?
Take a look at the examples we’ve carefully collated to give you some food for thought.
Have these written on a piece of card for you to read from if you would like to surprise one another on the day. For example, “I am so grateful you came into my life because…”
Include them within your ceremony script if you would like your registrar to ask you to confirm your vows. For example, “Will you both continue to prioritise spending time as a family and save even harder for that trip to Disneyworld you have promised A and B?”
Email them separately to the register office for us to include in your ceremony script if you would like to surprise each other by writing one another’s vows. For example, “Do you C promise to take D a cup of tea in bed every morning?” - written by D.
“Do you D promise to let C watch football undisturbed without hoovering in the background?” - written by C.
Guest/Guide Parent Vows
“E and F are extremely thankful that you, their treasured friends, are here today to celebrate this happy occasion with them. As those dear to them, I ask, do you vow to offer your support to E and F as a newly-married couple? Do you promise to be there for them through the good times and the bad; through the commiserations and the celebrations?”
“G and H, I can’t tell you how happy I am for you that you have been blessed with your daughters, J and K. For the two of you, today’s ceremony is an opportunity to pay tribute to these two young ladies who have stolen your hearts, your wallets and your Sunday morning lie-ins! For me, today is a chance to tell you all how much I love you and how honoured I am that you have chosen me to be J and K’s guide parent.”
"An ancient African proverb says ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ For L and M, it is tremendously important to them to know that everyone gathered here today will play a part in shaping the person N becomes; and so I ask, do you as friends and family of N, promise to support and guide him to adulthood?
“Becoming parents to O has been the greatest joy of our lives. Today marks the end of a very long journey for us as a family and it is in recognition of this, and of the happiness that we have found together, that we are all here today.”
“P, when I married your mother I knew I would not only be marrying the most wonderful woman in the world but also gaining the most wonderful daughter. This ceremony is very special because not only do I get the chance to tell you in front of everyone here today how much I love you but also to tell you how honored I am that from today onwards you have chosen to take my last name.”
“My wish came true the day Mummy and Daddy told me I was going to have a little sister. My wish for you is that you are always happy and never stop smiling. I promise to always be your best friend and to look after you… but not when you need a nappy change!”
Let your music choices be guided by the tone of the ceremony you wish to set and what feels significant to you. This might include contemporary love songs, traditional classical pieces or the scores to your favourite films. If you opt for live music, the delicate tones of an acoustic guitar or a solo violinist are perfect for a smaller ceremony. For a larger celebration a small choir or soloist, a string quartet or harpist make a striking enhancement.
For a naming ceremony, you are welcome to select songs which have special meaning to you as a parent, or music which is significant to your child, such as their favourite lullabies or instrumental versions of nursery rhymes or TV shows they enjoy.
“Q and R would like to thank you all for sharing today with them. It means a great deal to them to celebrate with family and friends who were unable to be with them on their wedding day earlier this year in Q’s native Sydney.”
“We are here today to celebrate S and T’s continued commitment to one another after 40 years, to the day, of marriage; and to rejoice in T’s recovery, and the start of a new and we hope very happy chapter in their lives after all they have bravely faced together over the last two years.”
“I understand that V’s first name was chosen because it means ‘bravery’, a quality that V has shown in abundance since his two months premature arrival into the world. V’s middle name, W, is a family name on his father’s side handed down from his great-great-grandfather.”
“As many of you know, X and Y’s love story has been twenty years in the making! They met as cross-country team mates in high school and though for X it was love at first sight, for Y it wouldn’t be until they reconnected at their 10 year high school reunion that she realised she had found her Mr Right.“
“A and B, I understand that it has been a shared dream of yours for many years to renew your marriage vows in London, a city you both love and a place which holds special memories of your early years together. “
“Today, we honour and acknowledge the love between C and his parents, but also the bond between C and other important people in his life, such as his much adored Auntie D and Uncle E; his cousins and partners in crime F and G; and his fantastic foster parents, H and I who have travelled from Manchester to be here on this special day.”
You will need to provide two or more glass vials each containing a different coloured sand (number dependant on how many people you would like involved in the ceremony, maximum of six) and an additional larger glass vial with stopper capable of holding all the sand.
Symbolism of different coloured sands: Black = strength and protection. Blue = loyalty and harmony. Brown = devotion and the blending of families. Green = health and fertility. Grey = patience and understanding. Orange = passion and fidelity. Pink = affection and friendship. Purple = sharing and support. Red = passion and perseverance. White = co-operation and independence. Yellow = prosperity and longevity.
In advance, provide those guests you would like involved in the ceremony (maximum of six) with a polished stone and ask them to write their name and a word signifying their wish for your marriage/your child on the stone in permanent ink. In addition, please provide a decorative glass bowl that is just large enough to contain all the stones, as well as a stone enscribed with your own wish for your marriage/your child.
Suggestions for words signifying wishes for your relationship/your child: love, happiness, health, strength, wealth, success, family, luck, friendship, patience etc.