Fancy getting married in one of the UK’s most prestigious golf clubs which has famously featured in a range of movies from Goldfinger to Bridget Jones’s Diary? Or at the luxurious country house hotel which George and Amal Clooney chose for their wedding celebration?
How about a converted 18th century chapel with original pulpit and mezzanine gallery? Or a restored Victorian train station within a private English country estate? What about the historic former country estate of the Astor family (notorious for its role in the Profumo Affair)? Maybe you’d prefer a mansion within Pinewood Studios? Or simply a lovely country pub?
These are just a handful of the 75 licensed wedding venues available to couples who want a civil ceremony in beautiful Buckinghamshire. The county boasts indoor and outdoor wedding venues to suit every taste and every pocket – from public houses, barns, golf clubs, museums, hotels, stately homes….each with its own fascinating story and providing a fantastic backdrop for the wedding of your dreams.
For those wishing to tie the knot, Buckinghamshire registrars offer a bespoke, personalised ceremony in which couples can include their own readings, their own choice of music – live or recorded – and even their own personalised vows. And crucially, a professional registrar-led ceremony means that the couple is legally married – no need for any additional administrative work.
Jo, a registrar who has been marrying couples in Buckinghamshire for ten years explains: “We always talk to people ahead of the big day to check their individual requirements and make sure we’re mentioning the things that are important to them. Some couples want us to tell the story of their life together, or to mention loved ones who have passed away – and we always do our best to accommodate all their wishes. From intricate sand ceremonies to the most basic exchange of vows…..we do it all!
“It’s a privilege to have the honour of conducting a marriage service – and we take the responsibility very seriously. We understand what a huge day it is in the lives of our couples and we do our very best to make sure the day goes smoothly. We’ve even been known to help sew a last-minute, extra stitch into a bride’s gown to prevent an unfortunate ‘wardrobe malfunction’ at a critical moment!”
The Buckinghamshire registration service offers a range of different packages providing freedom of location, time and design, in order to give couples the ultimate choice for the most important day of their lives. If you want a ceremony in a particular venue that isn’t licensed for a legal marriage, it’s possible to have a brief exchange of vows in the registration office, combined with a wedding celebration in the venue of your choice conducted by a professional registrar.
People are always surprised by the flexibility and care shown by the registration service – it is a rare wedding when at least one guest doesn’t approach the registrars at the end of the ceremony to say it is the best they have ever attended! Whether same-sex, heterosexual or transgender…every couple gets the same, caring, personalised attention.
Registrars go the extra mile to support couples or guests with disabilities or special needs. They know that not everyone can stand to make their vows, so they will always offer couples the option to remain seated throughout – and all licensed venues are wheelchair-friendly.
Because ceremonies are created individually, copies can always be sent in advance so that translators (for those for whom English is not the first language) or ‘signers’ (for deaf couples) can familiarise themselves with the words ahead of the day. The registration service also keeps a record of registrars who speak different languages and who are familiar with different cultures, so that phrases from a couple’s native language can be included and that important cultural elements (such as flower garlands in a Hindu ceremony) are understood and incorporated.
Registrars appreciate the need to reflect a couple’s ideas and beliefs, so although the legal ceremony itself cannot include religious content, registrars work with couples to ensure that any accompanying religious ceremony dovetails successfully to make the Big Day flow well.
Most Buckinghamshire registrars have worked in the community or in business before joining the Service; some have been teachers, social workers, medical professionals, police officers and members of the Armed Forces. Others have been restaurateurs, genealogists, had successful business careers, be it in marketing, human resources, public relations, retail, the media, transport services….you name it, Bucks registrars have done it!
Two registrars attend every wedding, one to conduct the ceremony and the other to record the event by hand in the marriage register. They pride themselves on being able to combine the dignity of a legal marriage with the fun and celebration that many of today’s brides and grooms want to include in their ‘Big Day’.Registration staff have conducted weddings with rings delivered by dogs or owls, and with themes varying from airlines and pirates to Steampunk and Hallowe’en horror!
But if your taste leans towards a traditional, dignified registry office ceremony, Buckinghamshire offers four alternatives – the Disraeli Room and Midsomer Court in Beaconsfield (seating up to 25 and 60 people respectively), the air-conditioned John Hampden Room in Aylesbury which seats up to 46 guests, and – for smaller ceremonies – the Dashwood Room in High Wycombe Library which is perfect for a wedding party of up to 12 people.
In today’s Buckinghamshire, flexible and personalised service is the name of the marriage game. Every couple receives a unique, bespoke ceremony tailored to their needs – and at the end of that ceremony, they are presented with those all-important, hand-written marriage certificates which serve not just as proof of their legal marriage but as a lifelong reminder of the most special day in their lives.