CEREMONY PLANNING: Things to Consider for the Signing of the Marriage Register

A wedding ceremony is made up of a few key moments:

–         The Bridal Party arrival and entrance

–          Vows

–          The Kiss

–          The Signing of the Bridal Register and Certificates

–          Announcing the Newly Weds

Today the spotlight is on the signing of the Bridal Register and Certificates. The signing is an important moment where all legal documents that need to be completed on the day are completed.

For this aspect of the ceremony there are many different points that need to be taken into consideration:


Not only will the couple and celebrant/religious figure officiating the ceremony sign the legal documents but so will your two witnesses.

You are free to choose whomever you wish to be your two witnesses. However they must fit a certain criteria to legally be allow to sign on the day.

o   They need to be over the age of 18

o   They can be anyone in attendance on the day and can include parents, siblings, guests or

members of your bridal party. But must be in attendance and understand the ceremony.

o   Must not be effected by alcohol or illicit substances

You may only choose two witnesses, some people ask for three of four as not to leave anyone out, however this is not possible.

Seating of Witnesses:

Once you have chosen your witnesses make sure they are sitting on the ends of the seating area or close to the front to allow them easy access to the signing area when their moments come.

Signing table set up:

Although you many not be in complete control of the set up. Ensure that the signing table is near where you stand for the ceremony, the signing traditionally takes place as part of the ceremony. After the signing the celebrant will introduce you as the newly weds (Mr and Mrs.), it is at this point you will then walk down the aisle. When family and friends can come forward to congratulate you.

If you need to walk through or near guests to get to the signing table they may try and congratulate you this will delay the ceremony and make things very messy, listen and trust your celebrant they are the professionals.

Decorations on the signing table

By all means it is up to you what decorations you would like on your signing table. But word to the wise keep it simple. Big flower arrangements may look stunning but it will hide you signing the certificates. This may be disappointing to your guests and make it difficult for photographers to catch that special moment.


Many celebrant shave beautiful pens they supply to sign certificates with but as always it is your day do it your way! If you have a novelty pen that you would like to use by all means it can be used BUT black ink is an absolute must.

Seating at signing table

During the signing it is traditional for the newly to sign sitting down. However, it is worth noting especially if a female is acting as a witness that the groom may like to momentarily give up his seat or the witness may like to sign from the side of the table. This has nothing to do with anything other than photographs.

Dresses tend to gape around the neckline when a lady bends over a table and the last thing the bride and groom would like as part of their wedding album is down the shirt shots. I would also hate for the witness to be embarrassed and feel awkward trying to sign the documents and fix her dress at the same time.


Your celebrant will go through ceremony music requirements with you but be aware at least two songs for your signing. This creates mood and helps entertain your guests for the few moments it takes to complete the formalities. Silence can be uncomfortable and unnerving, music will keep the magic flowing.

Maid of Honour/Best Man

You and your maid of honour will be joined at the hip. Quickly catch up with her make sure your make up and hair are ok and if you have a long vail or dress train have her assist you into your chair so you are conformable.


Sign your birth name! Many excited brides have already practiced their signature for their married life but on the day of your wedding and on all official documentation leading up to the wedding, and pertaining to the wedding you must sign your normal signature, your maiden name signature.

Above all else BEATHE and SMILE. The ceremony can be daunting and emotions by the time the signing takes place the hard part is over and its time to hug, and be insanely excited. Celebrate and enjoy your amazing day!

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