To think that you should be able to use the old CofE vows (without the God bits) in a civil wedding ceremony? Ideas on vows VERY welcome.

(49 Posts)
Mitchell50 Fri 11-Jul-14 11:49:05

I'm getting married at the end of September and due to (unsurprisingly) the division of church and state when it comes to civil marriages it turns out you can't use the 'richer for poorer...bla bla' vows in a civil ceremony - this is what the registrar has told us anyway. Is the registrar just being a unimaginative meany or are the wedding police going to parachute into my ceremony at the slightest mention of 'in sickness and in health?'

I think those vows are simple and pretty and I would like to adapt them to suit a civil service and remove the 'god' references to keep the registrar happy...

Thoughts on other vows very welcome though!

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 11-Jul-14 11:50:56

I thought you could use any vows you want?

YANBU

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 11-Jul-14 11:54:39

You really can't. You also can't have any religious music playing or religious readings (so be careful esp with the music as lots of classical music is religious) Make sure you liase with registrar so no complications on day.

Sallyingforth Fri 11-Jul-14 11:54:58

You can make any vows you like to your partner in front of as many witnesses as you choose.
What difference does it make is there is a registrar present?

TillyTellTale Fri 11-Jul-14 11:55:24

They're the CoE vows. Even if you remove the God bit, we know perfectly well where they're from.

You're not independently developing those lines in a cultural vacuum; they are meaningful to you because they have been used at CoE wedding services for generations. They are indisputably part of a religious ceremony.

Get a thesaurus and some books of poetry and write your own.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 11-Jul-14 12:03:26

Oh, and OP, have a google for humanist wedding vows.

StarSwirl92 Fri 11-Jul-14 12:05:20

YANBU that angers me actually.

TillyTellTale Fri 11-Jul-14 12:09:23

EDIT: not CoE. Christian. RC church uses them too.

Mitchell50 Fri 11-Jul-14 12:12:03

'You're not independently developing those lines in a cultural vacuum'

Noted, but they don't fall under any kind of copyright restrictions so surely anyone should be able to use some of the wording. Perhaps the CofE should be content that given their dwindling audiences, many people still sympathise with some of their sentiments? Surely they would support some use of the values outlined in the vows rather than complete censorship unless you are happy to use them in their entirety...

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 11-Jul-14 12:12:59

I presume it was some sort of concession to the church when civil ceremonies were set up in the first place.

Shouldwego Fri 11-Jul-14 12:13:22

I'm sure we did the richer, poorer, better, worse bit. (Is it awful that I can't remember??) it was 16 years ago though and we had a church blessing the next day so I wasn't trying to put anything religious in it.

Mitchell50 Fri 11-Jul-14 12:13:51

'EDIT: not CoE. Christian. RC church uses them too.'

Quite right

IncognitoErgoSum Fri 11-Jul-14 12:14:52

It's the law, though, not the doing of the CoE - no religious stuff in a civil ceremony, even classical music without words that is deemed to be "religious".

SarcyMare Fri 11-Jul-14 12:16:33

just take the sentiment and write your own very similar but not close enough to be called plaugerising vows.
These rules came in when civil marriages came in, to keep the church happy i expect.

thatwhichwecallarose Fri 11-Jul-14 12:18:06

I hate this about civil ceremonies. Why can't you have whatever you want?!

TillyTellTale Fri 11-Jul-14 12:19:14

Noted, but they don't fall under any kind of copyright restrictions so surely anyone should be able to use some of the wording. Perhaps the CofE should be content that given their dwindling audiences, many people still sympathise with some of their sentiments? Surely they would support some use of the values outlined in the vows rather than complete censorship unless you are happy to use them in their entirety...

They fall under legal restrictions. Not copyright laws, but there are evidently legal restrictions beyond copyright laws.

No, I wouldn't expect any religious personage to be happy with the idea that you want to pick and choose the nice fluffy bits of their religious rites without following the rest. Especially when you're not even trying to get married in a church and thus fund the maintenance of church buildings with your fees.

Mitchell50 Fri 11-Jul-14 12:28:39

So a religious institution should be able to take legal action against individuals for any use of material which they deem to encompass similar wording to traditional vows which date back to at least the 1500's?

TillyTellTale Fri 11-Jul-14 12:31:54

Why would legal action be necessary? confused

The registrar, whom you term an "imaginative meanie", knows the rules of how to perform a legally valid marriage ceremony under the law, and will simply decline to perform the ceremony until you come back with some proper vows.

No need for legal action or any "wedding police" to "parachute in".

TillyTellTale Fri 11-Jul-14 12:32:14

*unimaginative meanie, sorry.

MaidOfStars Fri 11-Jul-14 12:37:47

I hate this about civil ceremonies. Why can't you have whatever you want?!

Because it undermines the solemn process of the legal binding of two people.

And before anyone kicks up, I use exactly the reverse argument for why non-religious people shouldn't have church weddings - because it undermines the spiritual process of the holy binding of two people.

HatieKokpins Fri 11-Jul-14 12:42:46

If you want to use church vows, then, quite simply: have a religious ceremony".

It's not really rocket science, is it? If you don't want a religious ceremony, why complain that you can't use church vows?

The law separates civil and religious ceremonies for a variety of reasons, if you want God in your ceremony (even in the music) then it is a religious ceremony, and as such has different legal requirements.

It's hardly rocket science. A civil ceremony is a religion-free ceremony.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Fri 11-Jul-14 12:44:18

I hate this about civil ceremonies. Why can't you have whatever you want?!

Well that makes no sense. If you want religious vows surely you get married in church.

We had a civil ceremony and were given a sheet with the vows written on them, which was what we said on the day. We had a choice to write our own, we chose not to.

You can't have anything religious in a civil ceremony, this includes music and readings and the registrar will look at your choices first.

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Fri 11-Jul-14 12:44:57

You can outline the same sentiments in your own words, and that can be a good opportunity to reflect on what you think and why certain promises are important to you.

There is precedent for being allowed "to hold and to have" and "in sickness and when we are well" if those would satisfy you.

(BTW, promising not to walk out on a marriage if your spouse gets sick is hardly "picking and choose the nice fluffy bits of religious rites," is it?)

HatieKokpins Fri 11-Jul-14 12:45:10

If you used religious vows in your civil ceremony, it wouldn't be a legal service. It really is that simple. Nothing to do with copyright or wedding police.

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Fri 11-Jul-14 12:47:24

There are some reasonable options here.

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