Devon’s most unusual ceremony-only wedding venue

Once upon a time, getting married at ceremony-only venues meant rocking up to the unglamorous surrounds of your local register office. Thankfully, these days you can have a legal ceremony at any venue in Devon that’s been licensed by the local authority. But none are quite as beautiful and unique as Arches, a ceremony-only wedding venue in Devon, right by the beach at Combe Martin.

So what are the advantages of ceremony-only wedding venues?

If you’re getting married abroad, most countries require you to have a legal civil ceremony in the UK first. Getting married at Arches ensures you have all the paperwork in place before you jet off. It also means those friends or family who are unable to attend as guests at the overseas part of the wedding can also be part of the celebrations.

Or maybe you just want an intimate and low-key wedding with just a few friends followed by a walk along the beach eating ice creams. If you only have your ceremony at the venue, you have the rest of your wedding day to do as you please.

And cost is also a factor. Choosing a civil ceremony-only venue for your wedding will cost you less than a traditional wedding day that comes with all the expensive paraphernalia. Of course, there are fees to rent the wedding venue and you need to pay for the registrar. But it’s perfectly possible to have a beautiful and intimate wedding day without blowing the bank balance. And it means you’ll have more money to spend on the honeymoon.

What are the legal steps you need to take?

If you have a civil ceremony at Arches, you need to book a registrar to conduct your wedding ceremony. So contact the Devon Registration Service as soon as you have a date for your wedding in mind and ensure there’s a registrar available.

You and your partner need to give at least 28 days’ notice of your wedding at your local register office. If you live in different districts, you each need to go to your own register office and tell them of your intent to marry and on what day and where. This is known as ‘giving notice’ and you can do this up to 12 months in advance. Both of you must be resident in England or Wales for seven days before notice is given. When you give notice there are a number of original documents you need to bring with you. Check the for more information.

The superintendent registrar then issues you with the authority to get married. Hang on to this document as it’s important.

After your civil ceremony, the marriage schedule is signed by both of you, your witnesses and the registrar. Your marriage certificate will then be sent to you in the post seven days after your wedding ceremony.

Your wedding venue checklist

So once all the legal bits and pieces are organised, what else do you need to think about?

Write your vows

There are legal vows you must say to each other by law during the service and your registrar will guide you through these. But there is also an opportunity to exchange some personal vows too. Rather than make them up on the spot on the day (avoid doing this!) prepare a few words in advance and have them written down. Your vows cannot be religious. So you may want to include a personal story, a commitment or promise to always be by your partner’s side, and a thank you to family members, friends and loved ones who have supported you as a couple. Remember to tell your partner you love them too.

Pick a poem or reading

Unlike a register office wedding where the service is short and sweet, you have exclusive use of Arches for two hours. So there’s plenty of time for a short reading or a poem from one or two of the guests during your wedding ceremony. Again, your reading or poem can’t be religious. So choose something that’s personal to the both of you. Even a song lyric would work or a piece of dialogue from a much-loved movie.

Choose your music

You may want to play music as you or your partner come into the main part of the venue. Or just as the bride arrives. Or you may want some background music playing as the guests mingle before the ceremony starts. Create your own playlist, download Sonos to your iPad, then at the venue simple connect to our WiFi and play your music through our speakers.

Classical or piano music is always a good option for background music as guests are chatting. Or have your special song playing as you sign the marriage schedule.

Organise the drinks

After your nuptials, it’s time to pop open a few bottles of fizz and celebrate with your guests. Remember to serve soft drinks too for the non-drinkers and the drivers. At Arches, glasses of bubbly can be served in the venue or in pretty adjacent garden. Enjoy with slices of wedding cake.

Arrange the after-ceremony celebrations

So where are you going next? Choosing a ceremony-only venue means you have complete flexibility when it comes to the wedding celebrations. Have a few reception drinks in a marquee in your garden. Or enjoy a wedding breakfast with your guests in a local Combe Martin restaurant. How about fish and chips on the beach? Or even a picnic?

What’s included at Arches ceremony-only beach wedding venue?

Arches is a beach wedding venue and unique ceremony space that’s that’s been licensed for wedding ceremonies with up to 120 guests. You enjoy:

  • Exclusive use of the wedding venue for a two hour window
  • 100 chairs available to use
  • Flexibility with room layout
  • Lighting, heating and power
  • Paid parking close by
  • A choice of locations to get married e.g. in front of the stunning flower wall; or with the arches behind you and the ocean as a backdrop; or in front of the arches.

Looking for beautiful and unique wedding venues in Devon? Arches is available for exclusive use in two hour windows throughout the day, from Monday to Sunday, from dawn to dusk. Check availability now.