- 3 years ago
- Wedding: October 2014 - UK
Okay, so FH and I KNEW we would have to jump through some hoops because we wanted to get married in a church, but we didn’t realise quite what size the hoops would be, and also how stupid.
So in England you have to give 16 days notice that you want to marry, in the registry office where you live. You need to bring ID to prove your nationality, and a proof of address from the last 3 months to show you do in fact live there. And because we are getting married in a church, we also have to bring a letter from the priest saying that we are connected to the church, which already annoyed me because if we were getting married in a golf club we wouldn’t have to prove we were connected to the golf club but WHATEVER.
Anyway, we turn up with all these things and get told that they can’t accept our registration. Why not, you ask? Because we want to get married in a Catholic church, and it’s not my regular place of worship. The reason it’s not my regular place of worship is because in order to meet church requirements, I’ve been going regularly to the church near my office. The church we want to get married in is where I was baptised, where I grew up, and where my mum is a Eucharistic minister, but it’s an hour round trip away from my house. Apparently if I was Church of England, all I would need is that familial connection and it would be cool. OR if I wasn’t going regularly to church near me, it would be fine because the other church would count as my ‘regular’ place of worship, even if I only go there three times a year.
So by being a good Catholic and going regularly to church, and meeting the church requirements, I actually now no longer fulfil the legal requirements. Because you see, apparently people of ANY RELIGION cannot get married outside of the district they live in unless a) the place they are getting married is their regular place of worship, or b) there isn’t a place of worship for that religion in the district (i.e. there are no Gurdwaras in my district, so Sikhs have to go elsewhere for religious ceremonies).
But if I am having a civil ceremony, I can get married anywhere in the country with no issues at all. And if I am having a Church of England ceremony, I just have to prove a connection with the parish, such as having been baptised there (check), having lived in the parish (check) or having a familial connection to the church (and check).
And it gets more ridiculous! To get around this I either have to start driving an hour minimum to church and back every week (as opposed to the handy five minute walk from my office, or even the fifteen minute drive from my house); OR we have to move in with my parents for a week – that’s right, 7 days – have them write a letter stating that we have lived there for 7 days (because apparently 7 days counts as a period of residence and not a holiday), and then register in my parents’ town, and thus the church parish; OR we can go to the priest and ask if he’ll write a letter saying that, as FH doesn’t really go to church unless he’s visiting for the holidays with my parents, then the church we are getting married in is HIS regular place of worship, even though he’s not Catholic and goes like once a year, but that would still count for the legal part of it. Not that I think the priest would do it because honestly.
The whole thing seems like a farce, particularly the hypocrisy that there’s not just one rule for civil ceremonies and one rule for religious ceremonies (which would be easier to stomach); but that there’s one rule for civil ceremonies, one rule for ONE religion, and then another rule for literally every other religion. And then for this silly 7 days rule to come into it is just absurd. You can’t be deemed to have lived somewhere if you’ve only been there for 7 days. It makes a mockery of the whole thing.
We’ve come up with another potential option, which is to have the civil ceremony a couple of days before the actual wedding (like my parents had to do since the registrars were on strike when they got married and wouldn’t come to the church), but it’s a bit annoying that we’re in this position when if we wanted to get married in a hotel, or a cinema, or a golf club, we could literally do that anywhere we wanted; but because we want a religious wedding we’re being penalised for moving away from our families, and then being restricted in our options for where we can marry. And lo, it makes me grumpy.
Just wanted to share my frustrations a bit! >:(