Your wedding ceremony

A guide to what will happen on your wedding day.

Before the ceremony

To make sure everything goes ahead on time and without any hitches, please make sure that you and your guests arrive at least 15 minutes before the time of your wedding.

Remember to make allowances for traffic delays, parking and any pre-wedding photographs and inform your guests of this.

Before the ceremony, the Registrar who will complete the Marriage Schedule will see both partners privately to check that the details recorded are correct. You can be seen either individually or together, whichever you prefer. This is also an opportunity for you to ask any last-minute questions.

After these checks have been made we can then proceed with your wedding ceremony.

The ceremony

"Our Registrar was professional, welcoming, friendly and very reassuring. After we had our photos developed we noticed in the background she was beaming. This in itself illustrates that the service we received from Oxfordshire Registration Service was excellent and much appreciated. Thank you from us both."

Saying "I do" in front of family and friends can be a nerve-racking event, but the Registrars will be on hand to help you every step of the way. They will guide you through everything you need to do or say, so there is no need to worry about forgetting your lines or doing things in the wrong order!

Once you, your guests and your witnesses are seated the ceremony will begin with a welcome by the Registrar. The couple will be asked, in turn, to repeat a number of solemn declarations. These will include the choices you have made for your legal declarations and contracting words (your vows) and your promises.

After you have made your marriage contract you, your witnesses and the Registrars will sign the marriage schedule and a commemorative marriage certificate. The Registrars will present you with the commemorative certificate at the end of your ceremony. This is not a legal marriage certificate but a keepsake of your special day.

The Registrar will return the signed marriage schedule to the office and the marriage will be registered during office hours. Your marriage certificate can then be produced and will be posted out to you within 11 days.

If you would like additional copies of your marriage certificate these can be ordered online.


There will be an opportunity for you to pose with the Schedule before being presented with your commemorative certificate.  If you would like official pictures during the ceremony, you need to discuss this with the registrar first. Video recordings are allowed, but please let the registrar know this before the ceremony.


Some wedding venues have restrictions on confetti, so please discuss this with the registrar conducting your ceremony and the staff at the venue.

Format of the ceremony

  • Pre-arrival music
  • Entrance music
  • Welcome

Arrival and presentation

  • Legal statements

Reading option

  • Legal declarations (to be selected from options)

Reading option

  • Rings, promises and contracting words (see options for contracting words and suggestions for promises)

Signing music

  • Signing of Schedule (signing music)
  • Photographs

Reading option

  • Presentation of the commemorative marriage certificate and conclusion
  • Exit music

(You may substitute a reading for music)

Example text from a wedding ceremony

Example ceremony text

Could I ask you all to stand for the entrance of the bridal party.

Please be seated.

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. May I begin by welcoming you all here today to the lovely setting of the Law Hotel, and in particular to the Garden Room, to the marriage of Reg and Rose. Today marks a new beginning in their lives together and it means a lot to both of them that you, their family and friends, are here to witness their wedding vows and celebrate their marriage.

Nigel and I are delighted to be here with you to share in this special celebration. We do so hope that today will be a happy and memorable day for you both. A very important relationship is that between a loving father and his daughter and it is during a wedding ceremony that this relationship is acknowledged.

Today John shows his love for Rose and therefore I ask him: Who presents this woman to be married to this man?

"I do"

Marriage is a desire by two people to share themselves and their experiences with each other, and a willingness to accept each other for who they are. It is making a commitment to friendship and mutual respect and calls for honesty, patience, courage and of course, humour. Marriage is where each partner is there to support each other in all that they do.

Marriage requires closeness and distance – the closeness of a couple growing together and enough distance to allow each partner to be an individual. A good partner in such a marriage will be loving, caring and above all a best friend.

Reading 1 - 'The art of a good marriage' - Pippa

It is one of my duties to inform you that this room in which we are now met has been duly sanctioned according to law for the celebration of marriages. You are here to witness the joining in marriage of Reginald Simon Ring and Rose Mary Bouquet. If any person present knows of any lawful impediment why these two people may not be joined in marriage he or she should declare it now.

Could I ask you both to stand please, and hold hands.

Before you are joined in matrimony here today I have to remind you both of the solemn and binding character of the vows you are about to make. Marriage in this country means the union of two people, voluntarily entered into for life, to the exclusion of all others.

These vows which unite you constitute a formal and public pledge of your love for one another. I am now going to ask each of you in turn to declare that you do not know of any legal reason why you should not be joined in marriage to each other.

Groom please repeat after me:

"I do solemnly declare / that I know not / of any lawful impediment / why I Reginald Simon Ring may not be joined in matrimony / to Rose Mary Bouquet."

Bride please repeat after me:

"I do solemnly declare/ that I know not / of any lawful impediment/why I Rose Mary Bouquet/ may not be joined in matrimony / to Reginald Simon Ring."

Reading 2 -'There is no way to tell you' - John

Now the solemn moment has come for these Reg and Rose to contract their marriage before you their witnesses, families and friends – so can I ask you all to stand please and join together for the celebration of their marriage.

Reg - Will you take Rose to be your wedded wife, to share your life with her to love support and comfort her whatever the future may bring?

"I will."

I call upon these persons here present / to witness that I Reginald Simon Ring/do take thee Rose Mary Bouquet/ to be my  lawful wedded wife.

Rose - Will you take Reg to be your wedded husband, to share your life with him to love support and comfort him whatever the future may bring?

"I will."

I call upon these persons here present / to witness that I Rose Mary Bouquet/do take thee Reginald Simon Ring /to be my lawful wedded husband.

Two rings to be placed on cushion - Horace to pass

It is an ancient tradition for a bride and groom to exchange rings: this giving and receiving of rings symbolises the continuity of their relationship and the sharing of their lives together. A wedding ring is an unbroken circle which symbolises an unending and everlasting love, and we would ask you to wear your wedding rings as an outward sign of lifelong vows and promises that you have both made to each other today.

Groom takes bride's ring and places it on her finger and says:
"I give you this ring as a symbol of our marriage and as a token of my love, trust and commitment. I promise to care for you above all others, to give you my love, friendship and support and  to respect and cherish you throughout our lives together."

Bride takes groom’s ring and places it on his finger and repeats:
"I give you this ring as a symbol of our marriage and as a token of my love. I promise that I will respect  you as an individual, support you through difficult times, rejoice with you through happy times, be loyal always, and above all, love you as my husband and friend."

Reg and Rose you have both made the declarations prescribed by law and have made a solemn and binding contract with each other in the presence of the witnesses here assembled. It therefore gives me the greatest honour and privilege to announce that you are now husband and wife together.

(Invite groom to kiss bride)

Please be seated while the Schedule is signed.

Photographs and music

Reading 3 - 'Today is the day' - Matthew (aged 9)

Bride and groom to stand.

To conclude the ceremony, Nigel, the Registrar, will now present the bride and groom with their commemorative marriage certificate.

Can I be the first to congratulate you both on your marriage. May I wish you both a wonderful day today, a very long and happy marriage and all the very best for your future lives together. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Ring.