Weddings without all the rules

Your wedding day is one of the most important days in your life and the wedding ceremony is your opportunity to make commitments to one another and express your undying love in front of you family and friends – so why shouldn’t it be exactly as you want it?

Sadly in the UK there are so many rules and regulations that most couples don’t realise exist until they start planning their wedding– you can’t get married outside, you can’t include religion (in a civil wedding), you can’t take photographs during the ceremony, you can’t get married after dusk, you must use a licensed venue.
Suddenly dreams of a stunning outdoor wedding, with fairy lights and incredible photos of you exchanging vows and rings fall by the wayside as you find out none of this is really possible.

But now there’s an alternative.

One Life Ceremonies are Laurra and Maria Nalty, a mother and daughter team based in Yorkshire who like to do things a little bit differently… their aim is to create exactly the wedding ceremony that you want and they place no restrictions on or where you can hold your wedding or what it includes – making it not only personal but one of the most memorable parts of your wedding day.

Experience and Flexibility

Since their launch in 2008 Maria and Laurra have written and conducted over 30 weddings for couples who want to do things their way, they offer more choice and flexibility so you really can have exactly the wedding that you want – that includes holding it outdoors!

Unlike a Civil Wedding led by a Registrar or a Church wedding where you have to follow a standard script, Maria and Laurra work with you to create a wedding ceremony that is completely individual to you as a couple by listening to your ideas and finding out what you want before writing a ceremony that is personal and relevant to you.

What does this mean for your wedding?

You get the wedding you actually want.

A personally written ceremony is exactly that – it’s personal and it’s written just for you, that means you can include the words that you want, stories from your relationship- how you met and what you absolutely love about one another as well as your own personal wedding vows (which they can help you to write). This coupled with your choice of readings, poems and music makes your ceremony so memorable your guests will be talking about it for months!

The opportunity to have your wedding wherever you want

This means you are free to have an outdoor wedding, a wedding at home or in a garden, a wedding in a marquee or in an unlicensed venue – basically wherever you want! One Life Ceremonies aren’t registrars so that part remains separate (usually done a day or two before or earlier on the day of the wedding). Because the legalities are already taken care of that means you won’t be restricted to a licensed venue, so you really can hold your wedding anywhere!

No time restrictions on your wedding day

Maria conducts one wedding a day meaning she can give your ceremony her full and undivided attention. If the bride is late (and when isn’t she!) there’ll be no clock watching or hints of leaving – it’s your day, take as long as you need.

Your wedding at the time of day you want

Unlike the set times allotted to a civil wedding 10am, 2pm and 4pm, with One Life Ceremonies you can have your wedding at anytime of the day; morning, afternoon, evening – it’s your choice!

Photographs throughout the wedding ceremony

The sad news is that some Registrars and clergy won’t allow photographs during the ceremony, or limit the amount your photographer can take. This doesn’t happen with One Life Ceremonies, your photographer can take as many photos as they like – these are your memories, you should not be restricted on having them.

How it works

Maria and Laurra will arrange a meeting with you to talk about your ceremony; this is a chance to discuss your ideas and what you want your wedding to include, it also gives them a chance to find out more about you as a couple.

From this meeting they will then write a first draft which will be sent to you for you to check and you can make any changes or suggestions until it is exactly as you want it. They can also help you to choose readings and write your own wedding vows. The wedding ceremony will then be conducted by Maria at the venue or location of your choice on the day.

For more information or to ask Maria or Laurra a question about planning your wedding ceremony you can contact them here:

(0113) 868 0072


Photography by Olivia Brabbs

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



  • Kevin Mullins
    9 years ago

    Wow! Very cool – a simple, but brilliant business idea. I wish them all the best.

  • Mark Tierney
    9 years ago

    What a great idea! I have shot plenty of ‘traditional’ weddings where the Vicar/Registrar has restricted me from capturing special moments of the bride & grooms big day. It’s very frustrating when that happens!!!

    All the best Maria & Laura 🙂


  • Kathryn Andrews
    9 years ago

    Love it! This is definitely how I want my wedding to be :o)

  • What an amazing idea! I have been against all the rules of wedding ceremonies for a long time and I’m glad that there is finally someone who can create anyone’s perfect wedding!

  • Martin Roe
    9 years ago

    Bring it on, photographing such an occasion could be a lot of fun. Whilst most registrars and vicars are quite understanding nowadays, there are still the old stick in the muds that make our job a nightmare. This would make a very refreshing change!

  • This is a wonderful idea and gives a fantastic option to have something a little different to the ‘norm’. I can imagine this will be very popular!

  • Sian Grayson
    9 years ago

    We used One Life Ceremonies for our wedding and they were excellent, total freedom to do whatever you like and have a totally personalised ceremony it was perfect. We also used Papkata for the tipi tents which were amazing.

  • Hannah Beatrice
    9 years ago

    Sounds great. But how do they get around the religion thing? The way I understand it, it’s law that you can’t talk about God in a civil ceremony, so if you want an outdoors wedding, or basically anywhere other than a registered church, it has to be totally secular. So couples can’t write whatever words they want. (What I’ve gathered of the law, at least – please correct me if I’m wrong!)

    • Claire
      9 years ago

      Hi Hannah,
      You’re right – the idea is to have the official bit separately, with the bare minimum witnesses etc at a registry office or church. The wedding and the celebration with all of your family and friends can then be whatever you want it to be. I’m not great at explaining this – it’s all really clear on the One Life Ceremonies website though – have a read.
      Claire x

  • Lee Mitchell
    9 years ago

    It sounds a great idea and we did something very similar at our wedding in Antigua. It looks like you’re already pretty busy, and I’m sure you’ll only get busier and busier. Good luck to both of you!

    (Hannah, have another read through the section entitled “The opportunity to have your wedding wherever you want”. That explains it all pretty clearly.)

  • Thanks everyone for your lovely comments and especially to Sian! it was an amazing wedding I have to say!

    Hannah, in answer to your question you can only NOT include religion if it is a registar conducting the ceremony, we are not registrars so we are happy for couples to include whatever words they like, religious or secular!
    In the past we have worked with couples of different religions who have wanted a short reading from each, many also choose to include a reading, usually to keep Grandma happy!

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