Church Wedding vs. Civil Wedding: Which One Should You Choose?

Marriage is a very special chapter of someone’s life. It is a significant union of two people committed to each other and would like to put their relationship to another level. In this case, many couples would want their wedding day to be perfect and unforgettable.

Moreover, you should know about two types of ceremonies: civil weddings and church weddings. These two can legalize your union and offer you a memorable wedding, but they have significant differences that you should also consider. To help you, here are the differences that you can consider as you prepare yourself for your wedding.

Civil Wedding Ceremony


A civil wedding is a non-religious marriage between people. There are no religious rites in this type of union. Regardless, a civil wedding is valid and legitimate.

The person that officiates a wedding ceremony is called the marriage officiant. They are responsible for standing witness to the consent of intended spouses for the wedding that validates their marriage for legal purposes. The usual marriage officiants are official people from the government like the mayor and a judge.

How to Arrange a Civil Wedding?

Civil wedding ceremonies are relatively easier to plan. First of all, civil weddings do not have any hints of religious celebration. Thus, reserving a church and other things are already off your list.

Instead, you can contact government officials and book the date you want to get wed. You can choose to get married in the presiding judge’s chamber or a courtroom if you prefer a quicker ceremony—this wedding suits people who want to get married as soon as possible.

However, if you want to make your civil wedding more memorable, you can set the venue in the middle of the vineyard in the Vines, Australia, or get soaked in the salty winds of the beaches on Harbour Island in the Bahamas. In other terms, civil marriage does not bind you with any religion or priests. Thus, you are free to arrange your wedding however you want.

Additionally, you can decide what to wear as your wedding gown. You can be as creative as you want or go crazy if you prefer. Again, your wedding depends on how you want it to be, so it would be best to take this chance to hold the wedding ceremony of your life. That said, you can decide on a theme for your wedding instead.

Who Can Have a Civil Wedding Ceremony?


The laws regarding civil weddings vary by country. What seems okay for this country might not be appropriate for the other. There are countries where they must first be at least 25 years old to get married, and in some countries, 18-year-olds would be fine. Thus, before requesting a legal union, you must first check what your government says about civil wedding ceremonies.

What Is the Cost?

First, a civil wedding is a good alternative if you want to marry without spending so much. Moreover, civil weddings are usually a lot cheaper. You can either marry just in front of a few witnesses and the marriage officiant or be as extravagant as you want.

Couples can also save a lot more in this way. At the end of the day, the only thing that you would need to consider in this ceremony is you and the guests.

Church Wedding Ceremony


On the other hand, a church wedding ceremony is the traditional marriage ceremony hosted in a church and preceded by the priest. Unlike civil wedding ceremonies, a church wedding is entirely religious, where it involves readings from the Bible, singing of religious hymns, and sacred wedding vows.

However, you must know that despite a long ceremony in the church, you are still legally married to each other. You will still have to obtain your wedding certificate either after or before the ceremony so that your wedding can be legally recognized. There are other church marriage requirements that you must complete before you can marry one another.

How to Arrange a Church Wedding?

If you are trying to prepare for a church wedding, you must always first visit your local church or parish and meet a priest. Then, you can start discussing your plans for your wedding starting from your chosen day.

For church weddings, they can only hold their weddings in churches. So, you will need to associate with the priest to prepare for the wedding. One problem you might encounter is that the church might be fully booked on that day, and you only have to decide on another day and work around their schedule.

Moreover, aside from civil weddings, where the ceremony can also be the reception, church weddings will need another place where they can entertain their guests. Since you can not make the church your reception, you will need to prepare entirely another location for the food and party.

Additionally, the church can be particular regarding the dress code for weddings. Some churches value respect and modesty. Thus, brides will be required to wear a dress like that. There are also other religions where they are required to wear their cultural attire. These limitations prevent the person from expressing themselves and wearing whatever they want. However, it can also be beneficial because it helps downsize all the brides’ options.

Who Can Have a Church Wedding Ceremony?


The church is a sacred place, and its religion is filled with a bountiful history and culture. Thus, it has values that its followers must uphold. In a church wedding, there are a lot of requirements that you must first submit before they approve your marriage, which are certificates of your baptism and confirmation. These two are significant religious ceremonies that you should have attended at a young age.

Before applying for your marriage, you must first present that you have attended these two ceremonies. Aside from that, you must have also attended a canonical interview and a pre-marriage seminar of the church.

It can be confusing with all the certificates and ceremonies that you must first attend. Thus, before you start preparing for your church wedding, it would be best to meet your local church’s priest and discuss everything related to your wedding.

What Is the Cost?

The cost of marrying in church is relatively huge compared to civil weddings because there are a lot of things you will need to prepare for the event. Aside from the costs, you need to pay for the wedding ceremony, and you will also need to prepare for the reception.

Not only that, but there are also church fees that you need to consider. You will need to design around 500 GBP in the UK, while in the Philippines, it can run from 50,000 to 500,000 PHP. Meanwhile, church weddings can cost 1,000 to 10,000 USD in the USA. Moreover, there may be instances where you may also need to pay extra fees such as air conditioner fees or the choir.

Final Thought


After considering all these factors, you must already have an idea of what type of wedding ceremony you would want to have. Ultimately, your preference matters most, and stuff like the ceremony must be discussed by your significant other.

As perfect as you want your wedding to be, you must spend a lot of time and careful discussion for it to come in life. Nonetheless, best wishes!