What is a religious marriage ceremony?


We give you the facts on religious marriage ceremonies so you can make an informed choice.

Q. How is a religious ceremony defined?

A religious ceremony isn’t just a church ceremony. The religious category encompasses everything from Catholic to Hindu ceremonies; while belief refers to non-religious belief systems such as humanism and interfaith.

Q. Who conducts a religious ceremony?

Religious ceremonies must be held by appropriately authorised celebrants, including priests, ministers and pagan, interfaith and humanist celebrants.


Q. Where is a religious ceremony conducted?

Church of Scotland services can be held anywhere so long as your minister approves. If you want to get married in a particular church, you don’t have to be a member (believers of other faiths are welcome too).

Catholic ceremonies, however, must be held in a place of worship in regular use and you or your other half has to have been baptised in the Catholic faith.

For specific information regarding humanism and interfaith ceremonies see more of our big question guides.

Q. My partner and I have different religious backgrounds. How can we come to a compromise?

Having different religious beliefs doesn’t have to cause an argument; an interfaith celebrant can design a ceremony that combines traditions from both your religion and your partner’s.

Keep in mind that your celebrant needs to have undertaken at least two years of training in order to solemnise the ceremony.

Alternatively, you could have two separate ceremonies. If you are hoping to get married in a Catholic church but your H2B is non-Catholic, you’ll need dispensation from a local Catholic Bishop and may have to attend marriage preparation classes in the run-up to the wedding.

A religious marriage ceremony is for me! Where do I start?

If you’ve decided that a religious service is for you the first thing to do is get in touch with the person you want to marry you. Whether you go for a religious celebration or a humanist ceremony, you’ll find celebrants in our directory.

 Still deciding what kind of ceremony is right for you?  Find more queries answered with our ceremony big questions.