The main difference between civil ceremony and wedding is that a civil ceremony does not involve a religious ceremony, whereas a wedding generally incorporates legal, religious, and cultural aspects.
A wedding is a marriage ceremony and its accompanying festivities. Most weddings involve religious, cultural, and legal aspects. A civil ceremony, on the other hand, is a non-religious, legal marriage ceremony.
Key Areas Covered
Civil Ceremony, Marriage, Wedding
What is a Civil Ceremony
A civil ceremony is basically a non-religious, legal marriage ceremony. Typically, a legal official presides over civil ceremonies. A civil ceremony is legally binding and does not require two ceremonies. A religious ceremony, on the other hand, is not legally binding, so the couple has to obtain their marriage license to make it legal. This can happen either before or after the ceremony. Exact requirements for officiating a civil ceremony can vary according to the location, but generally, a judge, justice of the peace, a magistrate, or a notary public. However, there can be occasions where religious denominations not recognizing a marriage performed by someone ordained outside the faith.
Couples may opt for civil ceremonies (instead of weddings with a religious ceremony) due to several reasons. Some couples may not be religious and feel uncomfortable with the concept of a religious ceremony. Sometimes, the two partners may be from two different religions and may want to avoid potential problems with interreligious ceremonies. Nowadays, couples also choose civil ceremonies because they feel it allows more creativity, freedom, and convenience. A civil ceremony can be held in any location – on the beach, at home, etc.
What is a Wedding
A wedding is a ceremony where two partners are united in marriage. Most weddings involve a religious or a cultural ceremony as well as a legal aspect. However, weddings traditions and customs vary between different countries, religions, cultures, ethnic groups, and social classes. Generally, most wedding ceremonies involve traditions like the exchange of marriage vows, presentation of gifts (jewelry, flowers, etc.) and the public proclamation of marriage by an authority figure (religious leader, legal official, etc.). Wedding ceremonies are sometimes followed by wedding receptions.
Wedding ceremonies all over the world have unique customs and traditions. In traditional Western weddings, the bride wears a white wedding dress and a veil. Most couples also use a bridal party, which comprises groomsmen, bridesmaids, maids of honor, etc. Wedding ceremonies also involve various elements like traditional dance, music, religious practices, as well as superstitious customs.
Difference Between Civil Ceremony and Wedding
A civil ceremony is basically a non-religious, legal marriage ceremony, whereas a wedding is a ceremony where a couple is united in marriage.
A civil ceremony does not involve a religious ceremony, whereas a wedding generally incorporates legal, religious, and cultural aspects.
Moreover, a civil ceremony is officiated by a legal officer (judge, justice of the peace, magistrate, notary public, etc.), whereas a wedding may be officiated by a figure of authority.
A wedding is a marriage ceremony and its accompanying festivities. Most weddings involve religious, cultural, and legal aspects. The main difference between a civil ceremony and a wedding is that a civil ceremony does not involve a religious ceremony, whereas a wedding generally incorporates legal, religious, and cultural aspects.
1. MacCarthy, Libby. “The Ins and Outs of Planning a Civil Ceremony.” Theknot.com, The Knot, 15 May 2008.
1. “Hand signing on marriage certification” (CC0) via Pxhere
2. “Wedding dress, church, wedding, bride, ceremony, priest, religion, boutique, people, veil” (CC0) via Pixino