civil and religious status

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Alaor Santos, May 19, 2010.

  1. Alaor Santos Senior Member

    Curitiba, Paraná, Brasil
    Portuguese Brazil
    Hi everyone

    I am looking for a way to refer to the status of a married couple. I am looking for an adjective or an adverb to say that, like: They are "civilly"/"religiously" married; or: they married in church or something.
    How do I convey the idea that two people have a civil or religious marriage?

    Thank you
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    One thought:
    They were married in church.
    They were married in a religious ceremony.
    They were married in a civil ceremony.

    They were married at the marriage registry.
    They were married at the town hall.

    Obviously, the correct terms will depend on where you are, but the bold sentences will probably have fairly wide application. I'm sure other forum members can add to this list.

    Do you have a locale you want to speak of... or are you looking for fairly universal expressions?
  3. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    In the UK, a civil ceremony leads to a civil partnership - a union akin to marriage but between two people of the same sex. EDIT: THIS ISN'T SO, AS PANJANDRUM POINTS OUT BELOW - a look on Google shows that my experience of the expression 'civil ceremony' is skewed!

    This highlights Copyright's point that the correct terms depend on where you are!

    In the UK we used to have church weddings and registry office weddings - but now you can marry in places other than in churches and registry offices so I'm not sure...
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
  4. Bobbum Senior Member

    Let's not forget one can be married at sea by a ship's captain.
  5. iskndarbey Senior Member

    Lima, Perú
    US, English
    You can even marry by mail, in some states. There's no word that will easily express this distinction in all countries, as se16teddy has pointed out, so context is important.
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Not so.
    A civil ceremony is a non-religious marriage.
    For a great deal more information on this topic, see:

    Back to the topic.

    In the UK, a couple are married if they have gone through the prescribed procedures relating to marriage. This must, essentially, include certain legal procedures. It may also have included religious procedures.

    The phrase in post #1 is familiar - "they married in church". They had a church wedding.
  7. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I have heard some set expressions that might relate to the question:

    "They are married in the eyes of the law." = They are legally married
    "They are married in the eyes of the church." = Their marriage is sanctioned/blessed by their religious institution

    Are you asking about their status in relation to the law and their religious institution or are you trying to describe what type of marriage ceremony was performed?

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