Couples who married in alternative wedding ceremonies needed to help with new research project

Professor Rebecca Probert, Sharon Blake and Tania Barton of the University of Exeter are part of a team undertaking research into additional and alternative wedding ceremonies.

Couples who chose to marry in an alternative wedding ceremony can take part in a major new research project which will shed light on the demand for non-legal marriage services in England and Wales.

University of Exeter researchers want to hear from those who got married in England and Wales after 1 January 2011 and had an alternative ceremony, or additional service, which wasn’t required or recognised by law.

So far the team has conducted focus groups with Humanist and independent celebrants, as well as with representatives of a wide range of different faith groups. These focus groups have given an insight into the demand for additional and alternative ceremonies, as well as identifying some key barriers to engagement among those who could potentially be authorised to register weddings.

The team is now planning to conduct interviews with the individuals who are choosing such ceremonies.

Professor Rebecca Probert, Sharon Blake and Tania Barton of the University of Exeter are part of a team undertaking research into additional and alternative wedding ceremonies. The team also includes Dr Vishal Vora, and is led by Dr Rajnaara Akhtar of De Montfort University.

Professor Probert said: “The restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in many couples not being able to have the wedding they wanted. Yet problems with the law governing how couples can marry have a far longer history. We are investigating whether couples who are unable to have the wedding they want within the confines of the current law have a separate ceremony to reflect what they do want, or decide to dispense with a legal wedding altogether.”

If you would be interested in participating in this research, which will be running until April 2021, full details can be found on the study website, When is a wedding not a marriage? Exploring non-legally binding ceremonies

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.