At the time of writing, the music at a civil ceremony must be non-religious (ie not just non-Christian).
However, since the potential choice of music is so enormous, the General Register Office (the regulatory body which deals with civil ceremonies) doesn’t issue a comprehensive list of what is and is not acceptable. This means that the 'non-religious' definition is subject to the interpretation of individual Registrars, some of whom will interpret the law more liberally than others.
If you are unsure whether or not a particular piece is permissible, contact the General Register Office on 0300 123 1837, who will be able to advise. If the GRO say that a piece is permissible, the Registrar will generally follow their advice although as we understand it, they are not obliged to do so.
You can also write to the General Register Office at:
Marriages & Civil Partnerships
General Register Office
Or, for Scotland:
New Register House
3 West Register Street
Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 3YT
Certainly, you should always clear your music list with your Registrar before the ceremony, as Registrars have been known to interrupt ceremonies to prevent the playing of inappropriate music!
As a starting point, you’re sure to find inspiration on our two CDs of music for civil weddings produced by our sister company, WMC Records.
To book musicians, call 020 8293 3392 (London) or 0131 624 4005 (Edinburgh), or use our online enquiry form. We’ll send you full details, demo recordings and a personalised quotation.