So, this happened.
We kept things small and quiet, which is exactly what we wanted. It was quite nice not telling everyone about getting engaged and organising everything, but it did make finding out how to actually do the things difficult because despite all my Google skills, not many people seem to just get married. The majority of sites and forums I found were all geared around people who want the big event, which is fine, but not what we were looking for. So, I thought I would put together the stuff I found out in the hope that it helps other people. Hooray.
We got married in what is called the Statutory Room in Bristol. You can have 4 guests with you for this, and it cost £75 to book the room and to pay for the ceremony. You need to give notice in the district that you live in (so for us, that was South Gloucestershire) which takes 28 days to clear (in the majority of cases – I think it’s double if one of you is not British, but obviously it’s best to ask your local authority), and is valid for a year. Giving notice costs £35 each, and you need to be able to provide ID – we used our passports and driving licences to prove nationality and home address.
The gov.uk site is fairly useful in telling you what is needed, but one of the things I didn’t realise is that you should book the venue first, then give notice because your notice is only valid for the location where you are getting married. Sarah was very helpful for this, because she had originally given notice to marry in one place last year, before booking the Forge and getting married at the registry office instead.
Something else I wasn’t able to find out is about rings – at least in our ceremony, it wasn’t a necessity. Alex doesn’t like the idea of wearing a ring, and I was prepared to make a dash to Argos to buy a cheap ring, but we had to go in before the ceremony to check over the details that go in the register and to choose the wording that would be said, and it was then that we found out that there’s just a separate bit to say about giving a ring. (Wording wise – there are three different parts for the two sections, and then about fifteen different ways to go “‘ere, have this ring”)
The ceremony took about 20 minutes I think – I didn’t really check the time (“A watch doesn’t really go with this outfit“) and we were able to take photos during the ceremony, and then afterwards with a fake register (You can’t take them when you’re signing the real register – I assume because it has the details of the people who have married most recently in there)
I think that’s about everything I know! If people are interested, I’ll post about what I wore – mostly because people keep saying nice things about my dress and I’m like IT WAS £22 FROM ASOS. TWENTY TWO QUID!!! MY LIPSTICK COST MORE THAN MY DRESS!