The highly anticipated Oprah Interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry aired last night and many people were surprised to hear that the couple in fact had two wedding ceremonies. First a small affair in their back garden a few days before their grand affair in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
"Three days before our wedding we got married. The vows we have framed," said the Duchess. We called the archbishop, and we just said, 'Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us. The ceremony was "just the two of us in our back yard with the Archbishop of Canterbury."
Photo by ALEXI LUBOMIRSKI
Having two ceremonies isn't unique to Meghan and Harry, in fact every single couple I work with have two wedding ceremonies.
One ceremony with myself, filled with stories about them, tales of love and laughter and vows written from the heart, and the second ceremony at the register office to make their wedding legal. Typically one ceremony is a grand affair and one a more simple legal signing, but this isn't always the case.
But thanks to the Covid 19 pandemic sequel weddings are becoming a more popular choice for a range of reasons.
During 2020 many couples were forced to amend their original wedding plans and instead plan a more intimate small scale wedding, or minimony, but as restrictions begin to lift and socialising is once again on the agenda couples are choosing to celebrate surrounded by their friends and family.
Having two weddings is not a recent phenomenum, in fact many cultures have several separate wedding ceremonies.
Indian weddings for instance have traditionally been considered a marriage of two families, rather than just a marriage of the couple. The wedding can be anywhere from three days to one week long and typically includes several events and ceremonies, each with a different purpose.
So why are we so reluctant to celebrate with two ceremonies within the UK? Are we afraid we'll seem selfish or ostentatious by celebrating our love more than once? Is it the financial implications of holding two separate events, or are just deeply traditional and reluctant to move away from the legal ceremony being the only ceremony that’s seen as real.
It's not suprising to me that Harry and Meghan chose this option, as a small intimate wedding gives the couple the chance to say more private, personal vows without hundreds of guests watching over their every move.
Having two ceremonies is in fact a common practice for celebrities in the UK.
A traditional civil service is very short and the wording is generic and filled with legal jargon, not particularly romantic. It's no wonder then that celebrities paying six plus figures for a wedding want a ceremony that’s more personal, more meaningful and created specifically for them.
By choosing a Celebrant to officiate their second ceremony a couple are free to choose a location of their choice and say I do at any time, and in any way that they choose. It's all about respecting their choice for a ceremony that is meaningful to them.
Having two ceremonies is not something exclusively available to those with a huge budget, or even celebrities.
The flexibility of a Celebrant led ceremony means it's actually starting to become "the new normal" and couples are consistently stepping away from tradition to find a more modern way to express their love.
Photo by STEPH BUTT
The following is taken from the official documents by the Law Commission who are currently debating the outdated laws surrounding wedding ceremonies in the UK.
" The laws governing how and where couples can marry are outdated and unnecessarily restrictive.Currently, many couples face a conflict between how they wish to celebrate their wedding, and how the law requires them to celebrate it. Unnecessary regulation prevents couples from marrying in a place that is meaningful to them and having a ceremony with the vows, ritual