Couples can wed anywhere on island – if landowner allows

WEDDINGS can now take place anywhere on the island, subject to landowner permission, and at any time of the day or night, when conducted by a registered celebrant.

(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29306801)
(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29306801)

Once lockdown restrictions have eased, 11 Guernsey residents are due to be sworn in before the court to become officially licensed.

As of last Monday the revised marriage law came into play, but for the time being Covid restrictions apply above all else.

It appears the first ceremony is not going to take place until the middle of next month, according to Jayne White, founder and one of the celebrants at White Dove.

Mrs White and four others at the company were poised to take their official oaths on 1 March, the day the law came into effect, but this has been put back.

‘To be honest, one of the reasons for doing it in the down season was that there were not going to be many weddings,’ she said.

Looking ahead, she said that the company has 50 weddings booked this year, while some have been postponed to 2022 over fears that close

relatives from outside the island would be unable to attend.

Meanwhile, efforts are being made to find a court date when the celebrants can take their oaths.

The new law also means same-sex couples are no longer restricted to just the Greffe or St James for their weddings, as LGBTQ charity Liberate pointed out.

‘Liberate are very excited to see the changes for the marriage laws come in to play,’ said CEO Ellie Jones.

Until now, same-sex couples were restricted as to when and where they could marry.

‘They have not had the option of marrying in a religious setting like some of their peers and therefore had to pick out of two options, the Greffe or St James.’

Weddings could take place on a weekday only to align to the working hours of ceremony conductors accessible to same-sex couples.

‘So the freedom of choice that this change brings has been much anticipated and we are sure that many LGBTQ+ couples, as well lots of non-LGBTQ+ people, are very excited to have a world of options open up for their wedding day.’

Both resident and non-resident couples must attend the Greffe for identity checks and to verify documentation at least a day before the wedding, although couples are advised to do this earlier.

Agreement on timings and location must be made with the wedding celebrant and property owner, with between 21 days’ and one year’s notice given to the Greffe prior to the wedding.

Unique vows can be written as long as two sentences are included to demonstrate free consent to the marriage.

Marriages involve a legal contract and must be conducted by a licensed person.

So far nobody from Sark or Alderney has applied to become a celebrant.

Interest has picked up in Alderney and the Sark Greffier will continue to accommodate weddings in Sark under the new marriage law.

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