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AIBU?

To ask you to tell me about your very small and low key registry office weddings?

48 replies

PitifulPrincess · 29/01/2024 14:09

My partner and I are planning on getting married next year at a registry office as we're not religious, don't have many friends and don't want a big do. It will likely just be us, our young children, our parents and our siblings. We are quite introverted so the thought of even our loved ones watching us get married makes me nervous as I hate being the centre of attention!

I would love to hear about your registry office weddings, how you made it feel special etc 🙂

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

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PitifulPrincess · 29/01/2024 14:11

Oh and what did you wear? I don't know if I'll feel overdressed wearing a fancy wedding dress when it's not a big affair? I don't know why I feel like this 😂

OP posts:
Merrow · 29/01/2024 14:17

This may be common knowledge but I didn't know it! You can get married in any registry office, it doesn't have to be your local one. I assumed you'd need some sort of connection. So we chose a swanky one rather than our rather dilapidated local one, so venue wise it already felt pretty special.

VickyEadieofThigh · 29/01/2024 14:20

PitifulPrincess · 29/01/2024 14:11

Oh and what did you wear? I don't know if I'll feel overdressed wearing a fancy wedding dress when it's not a big affair? I don't know why I feel like this 😂

It's (for me) the difference between getting married and having a "wedding".

I got married the first time with just 2 witnesses and then we went for a curry. We went there and back on the bus and I wore a blue silk dress I already possessed.

My second ceremony was a civil partnership (before same sex couples were allowed to get married) and we really pushed the boat out by having 3 friends there and then going for lunch at a nice restaurant. We both wore smart skirt suits that we already owned.

I couldn't have borne anything more than that - I would've hated it. We just wanted the civil ceremony.

Inextremis · 29/01/2024 14:21

It was back in 2002, but DH and I had a tiny wedding - 6 friends, my Dad, and us - in a register office, and was lovely. We only found out the day before that it could go ahead (had to apply for a special license as we weren't usually resident in the UK), so then we had a mad dash to find clothes (floaty pale cream and pink skirt, cream jacket, white t-shirt, all from Evans), and flowers (the train station flower stand), and find somewhere nearby to eat afterward (we all went for a full English breakfast) - after which we had to dash to Gatwick to catch our lunchtime flight home.

It was exciting because it hadn't been a certainty. I cried, I couldn't look DH in the eye 'cos I was overcome with emotion, and it was all rather lovely. We stopped at the crematorium on the way to the airport to leave one of my flowers on my Mum's book of remembrance. Once back in Ireland, we met two friends for a drink at Heuston station, before getting the train across the country, then popped into our local pub, announced we'd just got married, and a few drinks were taken.

Bets day ever :) I hope you have a lovely wedding )

Logainm · 29/01/2024 14:21

Well, we both have lots of friends and large families, but we still didn’t tell anyone, just took two unemployed friends as witnesses down the registry office, and then went for expensive tapas afterwards. It suited us perfectly. Marriage wasn’t a big deal for either of us. Our relationship was, and is, special — the ceremony not.

I wore a green sundress and bought a rose from a flower stall next to the registry for my hair. DH wore a suit. No rings, bouquets, new outfits, personalised vows. Our biggest expenditure was the astonishing champagne we had with the tapas.

You should do/wear exactly what you want, though.

Littlebitpsycho · 29/01/2024 14:32

I was 6 months pregnant when I got married and wore a floral cream coloured maxi dress.

My mum and I bought a basic wedding cake and decorated it ourselves, and emptied m&s out of sandwiches and snacky bits the day before.

I did my own makeup and the only "posh" part of me was having my hairdresser put my hair up.

My step sister did our photos

We had 28 guests I think (the maximum for the registry office was 30 Inc bride and groom) but we had a lovely day, got married in the morning and had buffet lunch, and everything was done and dusted by 2pm so I went for a nap 👌🤣

Saltysnack2003 · 29/01/2024 14:39

We had a registry office wedding with 13 guests. I made it special by having a nice bouquet to carry, confetti throw outside (check if your registry office allows this), a reading by my sister, cake at our house later etc. You can make it feel like a mini wedding - if you want to walk down the aisle, you can (I did). But equally if you don't then you don't have to, or you can walk down together.

One thing I was really pleased with was the photos my sister-in-law took. She was our dedicated photographer so make sure you arrange for either a relative or professional to do this. I would have been disappointed if I hadn't and feel like it is something I could have easily overlooked.

maxelly · 29/01/2024 14:39

Yes one thing to note is that you can have a very small wedding in pretty much any registered venue, if you dislike your local registry office you could look at nicer ones elsewhere (a lot are in very handsome victorian town hall type buildings, it drives me a bit mad on these threads when everyone assumes registry office = brutalist concrete ugly building), or you can chose to get married in a small function room at somewhere like a hotel which is licensed for weddings, the latter will probably cost a little more but worth it if it feels more special to you. If you go for a midweek option the venue may give you a good deal.

Please don't worry about being too much the centre of attention or anything - the basic legal ceremony is very very short, you don't have to do customised vows or even the traditional ones about in sickness and in health if you don't want to - you just have to answer the registrar's questions about whether you are willing to marry, and repeat after them that you don't know any legal reason why you can't be married and the part about I Sue Bloggs take you Dave Smith to be my lawful wedded etc etc'. About 25 words total and you can say them quite quietly if you like, so long as the registrar can hear you. Then sign the paperwork. Even the most introverted people I know can usually manage that in front of their nearest and dearest without too much problem. You don't have to walk down an aisle, you don't have to be given away, you don't have to make any speeches or do a first dance or any of the other window dressing. You can of course do all the above plus perform a show dance dressed in spangly tights if you'd like to though, it's your wedding Grin. The great thing about a very small wedding is you can pick and choose which elements you like and which you don't without disappointing great aunty ethel who thinks weddings without fruit cake are illegal or whatever. Or if you and your DH want to make some slightly more heartfelt/personalised vows or promises to each other you can do that privately to one another before/after if that' easier than doing it in front of an audience. I think it's nice to add some personalised touches even for a small wedding like some music that is meaningful to you (nothing religious though, that is not allowed in a civil ceremony), and perhaps to involve your children in the ceremony depending on ages, maybe they could read a short poem - again if easier you could do this somewhere afterwards, even outdoors on a beach or at a meaningful location to you?

Clothes wise again anything goes, at my registry office do I wore a pretty dress but not white and not a wedding dress, but if you want a full wedding dress why not, it's your wedding after all, you (hopefully) only do it once so who cares if you're over-dressed?

One of the best things about a very small wedding IMO is you can treat people to a lovely meal afterwards, I'd go for whatever you like best and is a treat - maybe afternoon tea or a lunch at your favourite restaurant?

NecklessMumster · 29/01/2024 14:41

I chose the smallest room in the registry office..only allowed 4 guests. So had sisters and DC. I wore a cotton print white and blue baukjen dress and off white lace up boots.
The only traditional bits I had was buttonholes for everyone and confetti afterwards. We also got wedding rings, it makes the ceremony a bit longer otherwise you're done in 15 mins! Then we had a posh meal in hotel next door. Back to our hotel then a casual meal out in the evening.

Plump82 · 29/01/2024 14:49

We got married with just my mum, his parents, our siblings and their families. So 13 of us in total. We got married just as lockdown started but we would have done it exactly the same if lockdown didn't exist. We didn't tell anyone else till the morning after.

He got a vintage Ralph Lauren suit and I wore a pale pink dress with sequins on the top half from ASOS. I made a bouquet from silk flowers. The registry office we got married in is in a gorgeous building and the registrar was just fabulous despite the restrictions in place. We also had a few of our very favourite songs play during it and each of our family members had a role, so witnesses, ring bearer, photographer etc. I walked in with my husband's dad as he's been a great support to me since my dad died 15 years ago.

We were meant to have dinner at our favourite restaurant which obviously couldn't happen so we went back his parents house and put a gazebo up.
My sister and FIL did speeches which I loved. We brought caterer's in which I actually really liked as it was supporting a small business when everything else was shut. I also got the wedding cake of dreams which was a cake made of cheeses! It was far too much for 13 people and we were eating it for weeks after. My husband wanted a sweet cake so we found a lovely baker who made a gorgeous cherry sponge. She actually ended up giving us it for free (she didn't know it was for our wedding) as it was a really hot day and the layers of cake kept sliding about!!

We wouldn't change a thing about how we did it and we had such a relaxed fun day.

Howmanycatsistoomany · 29/01/2024 14:55

We got married in a registry office with just our two best friends as witnesses (and one of them didn't know what we were up to until she arrived at the building; her husband had sussed a few days earlier). We laughed a lot. The registrar and her assistant said it was one of the loveliest weddings they'd done because it was so chilled.
I wore a cream midi Ted Baker dress (bought specially but something I'd be able to wear again).
Then we all headed you our fave Italian restaurant where I ate my bodyweight in pasta and tiramisu.

Congrats OP and wear whatever you want to wear😀

dontlookthisway · 29/01/2024 14:56

We had just us and our 2 witnesses at our local registry office, then friends met us at our local pub garden for the afternoon.
I made some little jars of fresh flowers on the tables and we had a M&S cake
The day was absolutely perfect we had such a laugh, it helped the sun shone all day too!

I wore a 50's style white dress from Amazon with a huge petticoat and vibrant blue dolly shoes.l and he bought a new shirt to go with a suit he already had.

For us it was more important to be married than to have a wedding, the money was much better spent on a holiday and upgrading the house then a party for other people.

Stewiegriffenstimemachine · 29/01/2024 15:01

First marriage, just turned up at the reg office in jeans to be honest. Our parents came (all dressed up) but that was it. I went back to work in the afternoon. It was just a legal thing to me.

Second marriage, I wasn’t fussed about marriage but again, legal reasons. Dh wanted a full on wedding. We did ref office. I wore a dress I hated just to keep his mum happpy, had about 25 guests. Was made to pose for photos after (my friend took them) and I just look so uncomfortable. A reception after in the back room of some shit pub. I hated every second.

Both had the stripped down ceremony with the least wording.

God, I sound vile, don’t I!! It’s just a legal document to me, I don’t have a romantic bone in my body.

TheDogsMother · 29/01/2024 15:07

We had a plan to get married in 2020 little knowing what was round the corner ! The spring wedding got cancelled and became an autumn one with 15 people plus photographer and was at a venue that was very special to us. It was second time around for both of us and also we really didn't want to make ourselves the centre of attention so kept it really relaxed.

After the ceremony (when all the guest had to wear masks) we sat down to a late lunch and as the wedding had been small we were able to really push the boat out with beautiful food and wine. I had a silk dress from a London designer but bagged in their sale and we were able to spend a bit more on rings. Not exactly how we'd first planned it but it was lovely.

Sapphire387 · 29/01/2024 15:12

Parents, siblings and partners, and a couple of close friends. About fifteen in total.

Got up quite early, went for a nice breakfast out, just us. Got back home around 10, took an hour to get ready. Wore a dress from Hope and Ivy; DH wore a suit. Got a taxi down to the local register office, ceremony at midday.

Very quick ceremony, took about ten minutes, honestly! A bit longer to do the paperwork beforehand.

Had lunch at an amazing restaurant that we go back to sometimes on anniversaries etc.

It was very low-key and relaxed and I wouldn't have changed a thing about it.

mummumumumumum · 29/01/2024 15:30

Saltysnack2003 · 29/01/2024 14:39

We had a registry office wedding with 13 guests. I made it special by having a nice bouquet to carry, confetti throw outside (check if your registry office allows this), a reading by my sister, cake at our house later etc. You can make it feel like a mini wedding - if you want to walk down the aisle, you can (I did). But equally if you don't then you don't have to, or you can walk down together.

One thing I was really pleased with was the photos my sister-in-law took. She was our dedicated photographer so make sure you arrange for either a relative or professional to do this. I would have been disappointed if I hadn't and feel like it is something I could have easily overlooked.

Yes to all of this. We had 13 guests, I wore a plain but white silk dress - you want to feel special so wear whatever makes you feel amazing. We went for "mini wedding" i.e cofetti, cake, flowers, photographer etc. It was amazing. We then went to the pub and had fish and chips! You must do whatever YOU would like for your ideal day. This is YOUR day and no one elses.

Chickenkeev · 29/01/2024 15:32

Had a small wedding, about 30 i think. Registry office, meal after, no entertainment apart from music over the speakers. But it was lovely tbh. A few people, in a small venue that was accessible for everyone. I loved it, and i haven't heard any complaints from the guests (but i suppose, who would!)

Acrosstheeuniverese · 29/01/2024 15:33

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CuttingMeOpenthenHealingMeFine · 29/01/2024 15:36

We had a lovely small ceremony, in one of the nicer local registry offices (period property as opposed to 70’s office block - it just felt a bit nicer). We had 8 guests and we all went for dinner afterwards at the restaurant across the road. I wore a dark green M&S dress as I didn’t want to do anything traditional. It was the best day ever, just as we wanted, with very little fuss or expense.

Moversnotshakers · 29/01/2024 15:42

Me & DH got marrried last May in reg office with just two witnesses, my DM & his Dsis, then off for a meal at lunchtime. We both have adult DC & GDC from previous marriages and told them we didnt want a fuss or a party and two of our DC had booked holidays on that date anyway so none of the DC came, they understood that was just the legal formality- We have been together for 17 years . I wore a cream dress from Tesco and DH a shirt /tie trousers. best part of the day was late on the evening, we were back home, dressed in shorts/vests as it was hot, had no food in as we were going on honeymoon the next day, so we went through Burger King drive thru for a quick burger and were so happy and smug whilst sitting in the car in BK Carpark. We then had a lovely week in Rhodes. We are planning a house party though on our 1st Anniversary this year with all of our friends & families together.!
It was so relaxed and we adore each other even more now!

Growlybear83 · 29/01/2024 15:48

We had a small wedding, not in our local register office, but one about five miles away where we both used to live. We had about 20 guests in total including both sets of parents, who were both divorced and it was quite a feat to keep my in laws apart as they hated each other. I wore a floaty purple Indian dress, and had a purple bouquet with lots of freesias. I did my own make up and hair and a friend, who had a big old white limousine drove us to the register office and back to the reception. We were quite early for the service, so nipped into the pub across the road beforehand. My mother in law was meant to be taking photos but didn't get the film for her camera out until the end of the service when we were signing the register, and the registrar ended up loading the film for her. Needless to say, we've not got many photos! 😆😆

We went back to our local pub for our reception, where the landlord let us use his upstairs function room. Our mothers had prepared all the food, and my brother sent us money to buy wine and beer. My Dad bought everything from sainsburys, as well as some orange juice for non drinkers. We had recorded tapes of our favourite heavy metal and prog rock music beforehand which were played on a friend's sound system.

It was a long time ago now, but the reception cost £150 in total, and my dress cost £15. It was by far the best wedding I've ever been to, not least because we didn't have to listen to crap disco/pop music during the reception . It was also blissfully child free.

RuthW · 29/01/2024 15:51

I had a civil partnership last year.

Registry office in the dark at 4.30pm for 18. Photos my family and friends. Meal at a private area of a pub until 9pm.

Just what we wanted.

I wore a lace silver grey dress (not a wedding dress) that I can wear again. Second time round for both of us.

I made all my flowers and buttonholes myself.

Luckydog7 · 29/01/2024 15:56

Local registry wedding in our city. Went to a discount wedding shop for the dress (something like 'big Als wedding dresses) and got a big poofy dress and all alterations for under 500.

Guests were just our families about 20 in total. Then wedding breakfast at a nearby hotel which was a cream tea. Had to hide from the bride who was getting married at the hotel haha! Luckily it was a lovely day and we had a little outdoor space cordened off from the other wedding guests so we could sit outside in the sun.

Went home to change into jeans and trainers (kept fancy hairdo) and then to the pub.

We did have a separate party later on for friends but that was just a big picnic type occasion is a field with a hog roast.

Acrosstheeuniverese · 29/01/2024 16:07

I got married last year in a registry office, We had 30 guests and it felt very much like a real wedding day. I got my hair and makeup done in the morning, I did wear a wedding dress but it was a complete bargain that I found in Tkmaxx.
We then had pre booked taxis take all the guests to a restaurant where we booked out the top floor that we decorated ourselves then did a 3 course meal for all.
The restaurant already had a band on in the evening (who sang us a song so got the first dance) and everyone stayed until closing, we got guests to take pictures. It was such a great day and I think all in cost around £3000.

midnights0 · 29/01/2024 19:18

We got married in October just gone at a register office with just 19 people & then had those same people at our local pub for a meal (we decorated it all nice) then I had about 20 other people come up in the evening to join us for celebration drinks. It was perfect and we spent less than 1k. I wore a tea length white wedding dress! Altho my sister kindly bought me my dress. Full on bridal with a veil and flowers. I wasn't going to as I thought it would be silly but I'm so glad I did as I loved every second of wearing my dress.

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