3 Venues for the celebration of marriage
3 Venues for the celebration of marriage
3 Venue for the celebration of marriage. The venue of your wedding celebration.
At this stage, it is assumed that you have successfully given the notice of your marriage to the marriage registrar, there was no obstruction to your marriage and finally the marriage registrar has given you a certificate.
The certificate which is a permission to go ahead and celebrate your marriage in church or the registrar’s office.
The venue of the celebration of your marriage may be in a licensed place of worship, the registrar’s office or even a special licensed place respectively.
3 Venue for the celebration of marriage are:
- Licensed place of worship
- Registrar’s office
- Special licensed venue
Let me start by explaining licensed religious place of worship as a venue.
1. Licensed place of worship
After receiving registrar’s certificate by a marriage registrar, both of you are expected to visit a licensed place of worship to celebrate your marriage.
The celebration of your marriage in church must be done between the hours of 8:00am and 6:00pm in the presence of at least two witnesses apart from the officiating minister.
The celebration of your marriage must be done in a licensed place of worship and under the supervision of a registered clergy of the religious body( church/ mosque).
Please oo!! Be warned that it is not all churches, prayer centres that are licensed places for celebration of marriage.
Why it is very important that you should celebrate your marriage in a licensed place of worship is because a marriage celebrated in an unlicensed place of worship or by an unrecognized minister of religious body is null and void, especially if both of you knowingly and willfully acquiesced to such celebration.
Knowingly and willfully acquiescing to such celebration means going into such celebration even when you have the idea that the church or the minister of religion is not licensed for the celebration of marriage.
Please I want you to note further that where a church is a licensed place for celebration of marriage, it is only the recognized minister of that church that can wed people in that church.
For example, it will be illegal for a Catholic priest to wed a couple in an Anglican Church.
Also churches and clergies are advised to desist from wedding couples who have not obtained marriage registrar’s certificate empowering them to celebrate their marriage because it is an offence punishable with 5 years imprisonment.
Dear readers please tell this to any clergy/ minister you know about it because most of them don’t know that.
Before any clergy will wed two people he must request the marriage registrar’s certificate from them as a proof that both of them are permitted by law to celebrate (wed) their marriage.
Immediately after the solemnization of the marriage in church, the law requires the following to be done:
- The officiating minister must fill up a marriage certificate (which contains the names and particulars of the parties and names of their witnesses) along with its duplicate.
- The said particulars must be entered in the counterfoil of the certificate
- The officiating minister, the parties and the witnesses must sign the certificate
- Him alone must sign the counterfoil
- The officiating minister must sever the certificate and its duplicate from the certificates book.
- Original certificate must be given to the parties and the duplicate forwarded to the Registrar of marriage in the relevant LGA for filing in his office, within 7 days from that date.
Note that a statutory marriage celebrated in a religious place of worship is not the same thing as what some people erroneously refer to as “church marriage”.
A marriage celebrated in a church in accordance with the rites and usages of the church, but which does not follow the due process required by the law is only valid in the eyes of the church, yourself and it cannot be said to be a marriage under the law. At best, it is a marriage under customary law or under the custom of the church.
All these are what you need to know before celebrating your marriage in church.
2. Registrar’s office
Another place you can celebrate your marriage after receiving the marriage registrar’s certificate is the marriage registrar’s office.
Every local government headquarters/ Secretariat in Nigeria has a registrar of marriage along with a complement of relevant staff. Each of those registries is a home for statutory marriage usually performed by the registrar of marriage.
After obtaining marriage registrar’s certificate the both of you may contract your marriage before a marriage registrar in his office in the presence of at least two witnesses while the doors of the offices are open.
This can be done between the hours of 10:00 a.m and 4:00 p.m. People refer to this type of celebration as ” court marriage” ignorantly believing it to have more legal responsibilities and weight.
A celebration done either in church or in the registrar’s office are of the same legal effect, legal benefits and responsibilities.
Duties of the marriage registrar
During the celebration of the marriage in the registrar’s office, registrar of marriages will do the following:
- Confirm from the both of you that it is your desire to marry each other.
- Inform both of you that the marriage being contracted in his office is perfectly legal without resorting to any other civil or religious ceremony.
- Inform both of you that the marriage can be dissolved if necessary, only by a court of competent jurisdiction or death of either party
- That any of you who contracts another marriage with a third party during the lifetime of the present spouse would be guilty of the offence of bigamy and liable to be punished accordingly.
The exchange of your marriage vows in the presence of the witnesses present follows the above instructions.
The Registrar then fills up the Marriage Certificate, its duplicate and counterfoil and signs both.
He invites the both of you and your witnesses to sign the certificate and its duplicate before he severs both from the counterfoil in the marriage certificates book.
He then hands one certificate over to both of you and files the other in his office.
3. Special licensed venue
The third place you can celebrate your marriage is a special licensed place.
In special circumstances, the Minister of Internal Affairs may issue a License to Marry to couples which will authorise their celebration of marriage at any place/venue they so desire and without a registrar’s certificate but it must be before a recognised clergy or the Registrar of marriage.
What the law is telling you here is that under this situation if you don’t want to solemnise your marriage in church or the registrar’s office then the law is granting you the freedom of choosing wedding venue of your choice, sounds fulfilling and exciting right??
I so much love this part of the law because is always hard for the law to give you freedom to do this or do that instead what the law does is always telling you not to do this, not to do that ( restrictions).
When you want to celebrate your marriage in any venue of your choice a special license may be issued to you in place of a notice of marriage.
It is issued by the Minister of Internal Affairs or any public servant at federal or state level, to whom such power has been delegated by the Minister.
For the license to be granted there must be proof by affidavit evidence that there is no lawful impediment to your proposed marriage, and that the necessary consents, if any, has been obtained.
License as a permit
The license operates as a permit authorizing the celebration of marriage between the both of you named in the license, by a marriage registrar or a recognized minister of some religious denomination or body, at a venue indicated in the license, within a specified time frame.
When such license is issued to you both, you have to make sure that the minister of the religion that will wed both of you is a recognized one or you invite a marriage registrar to wed you both.
A marriage may be solemnized in a venue other than a licensed place of worship or a registrar’s office.
When a special license indicates any special venue, the Registrar of Marriage in the LGA in which marriage is intended to take place is obliged, upon the production of such license, to give the license holder, a blank marriage certificate in duplicate.
What the law is talking about is that after receiving the special licensed, you will then take it to the marriage registrar in your local government to be able to get your blank marriage certificate that you fill, sign on the day of your wedding.
You and your intending husband/wife of the marriage then fills up the certificates after observing all the formalities prescribed in the relevant mode of solemnization of marriage chosen by the couple.
Eeehee!! That’s all about the three places you can celebrate your marriage in Nigeria.
The next place of celebration of marriage i want to inform you about is marriage among two Nigerians outside Nigeria, in the Nigerian High commission.
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