Six ceremony types available in Scotland

You can be married in Scotland in a religious, belief or civil ceremony. Here’s a brief rundown of the most common options so you can pick what’s right for you…

Religious: Church of Scotland

Conducted by a minister.

Venue: often a church, although some ministers will conduct the ceremony elsewhere if they are happy the location reflects the solemnity of the occasion.

Ceremonies include your choice of hymns and biblical readings in addition to traditional Christian vows and a blessing. It’s often possible to incorporate a secular reading as well.

Right for you… if you want a ceremony that reflects your Christian beliefs, although you or your spouse-to-be don’t have to be members of the Church of Scotland.


Religious: Catholic

Conducted by a priest.

Venue: a Catholic church (usually either the bride or groom’s regular place of worship).

Ceremonies consist of prayers, hymns and bible readings, and in many cases mass will be said too.

Right for you… if one or both of you has been baptised in the Catholic faith. If one of you is not Catholic, dispensation from the local Catholic bishop is usually required, and this will normally only be given if certain conditions are fulfilled.



Conducted by a registrar or an assistant registrar.

Venue: a registration office or any place agreed between the registration authority and the couple.

Ceremonies can be personalised by incorporating poetry, music or readings. Vows consist of the basic declarations required by law, but many registrars are happy to add a personal angle.

Right for you… if you want a simple, straightforward ceremony.


Independent Civil

Conducted by an independent civil celebrant.

Venue: the service can be held nearly anywhere.

Although this is a civil ceremony, religious or spiritual content can be woven in. You’ll have the final say on the content and readings.

Right for you… if you want to write the script and create something entirely personal, without restrictions or limitations.


Belief: Humanist

Conducted by a humanist celebrant.

Venue: can be wherever you want as long as the celebrant is happy that it reflects the importance of the occasion.

Ceremonies are entirely secular and non-religious, leaving you free to make all the important choices about readings, music and the wording of your vows. It’s common for rituals such as handfasting or ring warming to be included.

Right for you… if you want a flexible ceremony that allows you to express your love and commitment in your own way and makes no reference to religion.


Belief: Interfaith

Conducted by an interfaith celebrant authorised by the General Register of Scotland.

Venue: location of your choice.

Ceremonies can incorporate religious, spiritual or secular aspects and the music of your choice.

Right for you… if you’re from different religious or cultural backgrounds, as the celebrant can honour different faiths with appropriate rituals and words, so that your ceremony reflects your beliefs.

Ceremony useful contacts

Bespoke Services

Humanist Society Scotland

Independent Humanist Ceremonies

Middleton Life Celebrations

Scottish Highland Weddings

Your Service in Scotland