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  • Writer's pictureDodmoor House

Ceremonies at Dodmoor House

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Surely the most important part of your wedding day is the ceremony, having your family and friends there for that big moment of when you finally tie the knot and say I do!

While some may choose to get married in church, we have seen many hundreds of couples celebrate their union at Dodmoor with registrars, celebrants and priests to name but a few.

Each is very personal to the couple and how they want to celebrate this special moment with those closest to them. With that in mind, we're going to explore the many ways you can hold a ceremony here at Dodmoor!

Registrars Service

Probably the most traditional option which our couples choose - the registrars come to Dodmoor and legally marry you in a ceremony which normally takes 20-30 minutes, and you can include special touches such as readings or additional promises, if you wish. On the day, the registrars will meet you both separately to chat through the ceremony, so that you know exactly what is going on! This normally happens from half an hour before the start of your ceremony.

Ahead of your day, you will go to your local council and give notice of your marriage, this can be done from a year before the wedding and must be given no later than 4 weeks before your big day.

You will be sent an online form to fill in and return ahead of your day, and this is where you will choose your vows and let the registrars know details such as your music choices and readings - just remember you can't have any religious references in either your chosen music or readings (as legally, there can’t be any religious connotations in a civil ceremony).

To book a civil ceremony, you would need to get in contact with the Northampton West Registry Office to check their availability by visiting:

Please note that the first time given (eg 1pm-2.30pm) is the time that the registrars will hold their pre-ceremony meeting, with the ceremony 30 minutes later (in this case at 1.30pm).

We ask that the earliest ceremony time is 12.30pm at Dodmoor (with the pre-ceremony meeting at 12pm).


Since covid, celebrants have been much more frequent at weddings at Dodmoor and this was largely due to the backlog which covid created for the registrars.

However, many couples now actively choose celebrants to add an even more personal touch to their day. Although they cannot legally marry you, there are no restrictions on what you can include in your ceremony, which gives you some flexibility and more of a relaxed feel!

Celebrants really take their time in getting to know you as a couple in the build up to your day and together you can create your perfect ceremony.

You can include many different aspects to your ceremony, such as handfasting, ring blessings, poems, songs, readings, and it’s also a fantastic way to blend two cultures into one ceremony!

Alternatively, they can keep this as close to the original civil ceremony script as you wish, and your guests could be none the wiser (especially if you want everyone to feel that this is the legal ceremony).

Most couples will have their ‘legal’ ceremony at their local registry office a few days before the main event, perhaps with those closest to them, maybe followed by a nice lunch or dinner, so you’re technically having your wedding spread over a few days!

We have worked with many different celebrants over the years, however two that we have worked most closely with are My Perfect Ceremony & Cherish Ceremonies.

Religious Ceremonies

Some couples want to include their religious beliefs in their ceremonies, however as we mentioned above, this isn't possible within a civil ceremony conducted by a registrar.

Some couples therefore prefer to have a priest or someone who is part of their community to lead the ceremony instead.

Much like with celebrants, you can tailor the ceremony to fit the religious elements you want to include in your day. We have seen many different elements included, such as Mandaps, Nikah ceremonies, Havan fire rituals and Dhol drums, which are all welcomed here at Dodmoor!

If you're thinking about including any of these elements in your day, there are just a few logistical things to consider when putting your plans in place, which we’re happy to discuss with you individually in more detail.

You're also welcome to have a drum procession as part of your ceremony entrance, we have once even had a groom arrive by tuk tuk and smoke flares, which was spectacular!

The Cotswold Tuk Tuk provided this transport as per the

photo below. (Drums and smoke flare sourced by the Bride and Groom!) Rav Photography

Depending on the time of year, having your ceremony outside is a beautiful backdrop especially if you're planning to have a structure filled with bright colours!

You can also have the ceremony inside and the Courtyard Barn is the perfect place for this. You can have both a traditional or middle layout and can seat up to 96 guests including a structure, we just advise the structure is no larger than 14ft in width and 12ft in depth.

If you wish to have a fire pit as part of your ceremony, we have put together a helpful health and safety document highlighting specific things we would require you to have in place.

Health & safety for fire pits at Dodmoor House
Download PDF • 144KB

If you're planning to hire a stylist for these items, it would be worth noting that they will have access to the venue from 9:30am and will need to stay and pack any structures away after the ceremony please.

As with a celebrant, it should be stressed that you do still need to hold a ‘legal’ ceremony at the registry office - as religious weddings are only fully ‘legal’ when they are held in a place of worship.

We hope these ideas are helpful and inspire you to choose the perfect ceremony plan for you both, if you are holding this at Dodmoor!

We would always advise contacting us directly if you wish to discuss anything specific, especially in relation to your ceremony – after all, it’s the most important part of your day!

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