Civil Ceremony

Music at Your Civil Ceremony

civil wedding registerCivil ceremonies are generally shorter than those in a church or other religious building, and so selecting the right music becomes even more important. The bride enters, the register is signed and the married couple leave the ceremony, just like in a church; but there is often more freedom in your choice of music, provided it is not religious.

Can I include Angels by Robbie Williams?

The law dictates that:

Civil ceremonies can include readings, songs or music, but must not include anything that’s religious, eg hymns or readings from the Bible

When it comes to music, the definition of ‘religious’ is left to the registrar or senior registrar. Wedding violinist Simon Jordan has played all over the UK and sees this being applied in so many different ways!

  • A registrar in Swansea would not allow the performance of ‘Angels’ by Robin Williams, while it was allowed in a ceremony in Cliveden, Bucks
  • Ave Maria was allowed to be performed on the violin (not sung) in Coventry, but not in Southampton

Consider your music carefully, and if in doubt, always phone your registrar to check. Or contact the General Register Office on 0300 123 1837 for advice – though the decision is always left to the registrar on the day. Remember this aspect of law applies just to the contents of the ceremony, so you can select anything you like for the prelude (as your guests take their seats).

Music in a civil ceremony

  • Music to encourage your guests to take their seats

  • The bride’s entrance

  • The signing of the register

  • The married couple and guests leave the ceremony

Violinist Simon Jordan is unique amongst musicians in that he will play your choice of music. One couple asked him to play Nirvana throughout their ceremony; one bride sang her way down the aisle as he played; and another bride asked him to play ‘The Final Countdown‘ as her nervous groom waited for her arrival!