Why Pick Witnesses for the Civil Part of Your Wedding?

humanist wedding bride and groom walk down aisle as witnesses look on

Although a humanist wedding is a non-legally binding marriage ceremony, you can assign a few official witnesses for the civil part of your wedding. Their key role is to make your marriage legal. However, a humanist ceremony is a non-legally binding marriage.

Therefore, picking the right person to sign the dotted line is a huge undertaking. Basically, getting married is a defining moment in your life. And like all weddings a certificate of marital status is the crowning glory of the day. In truth, a humanist wedding does not abide by any legal rules.

Therefore, a symbolic marriage contract can be issued. Additionally, as long as the witnesses understand the nature of the ceremony anything goes. So, how far in advance should you be thinking about the civil part of your wedding? And how many witnesses do you assign to avoid disappointment?

Non-legally speaking one, two or even five months in advance of planning your nuptials, is perfect. This gives you enough time to find the right fit and them enough days to prepare. Keep reading and discover who to choose to witness the civil part of your wedding before your humanist wedding.

Humanist wedding | Ranking the witnesses for the civil part

main image above Ryan G. Smith| above image Bryan Schneider

1. Parents | Humanist wedding is not legally binding

First your non-religious ceremony is not legally binding. Therefore, make a joint decision to have 2 witnesses at the civil part of your wedding before the humanist wedding. Let them support you at the registration office. So, ask your parents to sign your certificate, they will appreciate the gesture and feel totally involved.

2. Celebrant the alternative civil registrar

Although deciding on witnesses at the official part of your civil wedding might be the last thing on your checklist. Try to contact everyone after you’ve saved the date. However, if you plan a humanist wedding a celebrant can act as your alternative civil registrar and witness the symbolic certificate on your behalf.

3. Best man | Make him the honorary witness

Not only does the best man double up as the ring bearer at the civil part of your wedding, he can sign your life away, too! In truth, he’ll witness you transition from a singleton to married life. On top of that, the wedding is official. Furthermore, he signs in good faith on the dotted line.

4• Sister (s) | signing of the love contract 

Before you ask your loving sister (s) to sign, tell her why you want her to be your witness at the civil wedding. As siblings you may have formed a very close bond and she could have been waiting patiently for this moment. So, let her share in your happiness and joy. Get in contact with your sister (s) today about your official paperwork and humanist wedding.

image | www.matthewdruin.com

5•  Brother (s) | Get to work on your wedding vows

Whether it’s your youngest brother or eldest brother he could suit the position to be your witness on the civil marriage documents. And if you have a deep connection, this might be the perfect opportunity to show him how much you love and appreciate your brotherhood. What’s more, he understands your values, beliefs and culture. Therefore, he’s the ideal right hand man.

6• Cousin (s) | Advanced planning means less stress

By asking a close relative such as your cousin (s) you could catapult your civil wedding into a different league. So, don’t feel nervous about him or her being your witness. With them you have formed strong family ties, they probably know you inside and out. And this makes them the perfect choice to authenticate the love you feel for your partner.

7• Life-long friends | Make headway and create the perfect day

All things considered, be mindful of the fact that a long-time friend (s) may wish to act as your civil marriage witness. Through thick and thin this childhood acquaintance is very rare. So, it could be a nice gesture to acknowledge the special bond that you have. Moreover, it’s a great way to get them on board and see you tie the knot in style.

wendel moretti photo of wedding couple holding bridal bouquetimage wendel moretti

8• Maid of Honor | Meaningful moment with a loved one

Additionally, you can break away from the traditional wedding norm and rewrite history. Choosing for the maid of honour, your gran or a dear aunt is a befitting acknowledgment of their vital role in your life. As your chosen witness it will give your civil wedding the recognition it deserves. Most importantly, you’ll be able to express the unique place they have in your heart.

9• Witnesses pledge | inform them well in advance

Lastly, to have the feel of a real humanist wedding, you’ll need witnesses for your civil marriage. Although there is no strict time. Make sure to inform everyone well in advance. Your witnesses testify to the authenticity of your partnership. So, ask 2 persons who have a special meaning in your life. Furthermore, during the civil part of your wedding they add their signatures and say, “Yes, We DO”.


Over to you…

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About Clover Jean: I'm a Londoner based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Being a specialist celebrant | marriage officiant | wedding ceremonies MC with a gospel & soul choir is rewarding work. So, my guilty pleasures are fine dining, travel hotspots and on-line retail therapy. What's yours? Get in touch, via Instagram #cloverjeanamsterdam or Facebook. LIKE, SHARE, SPREAD THE LOVE & see you soon!

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