Church Weddings vs. Civil Ceremonies: Where should you exchange rings?

In this week’s blog post we take a look at Church Weddings Vs Civil Ceremonies in Ireland.  Here at Drangan Video we are committed to sharing new blog posts at least one  per week.

Right after the groom has popped that essential question ‘will you marry me?’, family and friends will begin asking their own important question: ‘church wedding or civil ceremony’.

Wedding Videographer
Wedding Videographer

Since establishing Drangan Video I’ve been to a good number of both, so here I present my top five considerations  when choosing where you will be exchanging vows.

1. The Promise
Although both a church wedding and civil ceremony carry the same legal standing, they do involve a different type  of commitment. In a civil ceremony the couple enters into a legal contract only. In a church wedding, this legally binding promise is backed-up by a spiritual commitment.
For many couples, including God in the wedding ceremony adds an extra layer of support to their commitment.  When times are hard they know that not only are they bound together in law, but also in the eyes of the God they have faith in.

Of course, if neither the bride or groom are religious, this aspect is void. However, if either of the families involved  are Christians, getting married in church can elicit more support from them. As part of the ceremony the congregation is asked to commit to supporting the marriage, and those who believe in God will take that
commitment seriously. While there may only be two people in a marriage it can be hugely beneficial to have others involved in promoting the union.

2. Church Attendance
Most churches will expect you to attend Sunday service for a number of months ahead of the ceremony. Some will  also host marriage preparation days / weekends which you will also need to attend. For some couples this is a big  reason to avoid a church wedding, while others find this type of spiritual preparation very useful. With all the  practical preparations underway it can be easy to lose sight of what comes after the wedding. Meeting regularly
with church members can help couples stay grounded an connected, even when stress levels are rising.

3. Flexibility Of Ceremony
If you opt for a church wedding there is little flexibility in how the ceremony is conducted. There may be rules about  where your wedding videographer and photographer can stand, there will be an expectation of hymns, and the  order of service is fairly rigidly prescribed. If you’d prefer a more freestyle ceremony then a civil wedding would be  better suited. There will be certain legal obligations that must be met, but otherwise the structure of the ceremony is  yours to plan.

4. Location
Couples opting for a church wedding will need to find a second separate location for the reception. This means  planning transport between venues, maps and directions for guests, maybe some signs by the side of the road,  and leaving a few trusted ushers back at the wedding venue to check everyone gets away safely.

Many wedding reception venues are licensed to conduct civil ceremonies, making it possible to host the entire day in one location. As these venues often have space for the bride and groom to prepare in, and accommodation for  guests after the wedding, the appeal of an all-in-one venue is obvious.

5. Atmosphere
The venue will set the atmosphere for the day. Some couples like the solemnity created by a religious setting. By  having church wedding they can honour the seriousness of the commitment they are making, then move on to a  more light-hearted venue to celebrate later.  Other couples prefer a fun, joyful environment for their ceremony, which is more readily available at venues licensed for civil ceremonies. Wherever you choose to exchange your vows, I’d be delighted to be a part of your special day and capture the memories on film for you.
Thanks for reading,




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