I promise not to turn this blog into a blow-by-blow description of my upcoming nuptials, but getting married in a foreign country definitely presents an interesting insight into the psyche of the nation.
Like why, for example, I need to have an 'interview' with a registrar of the borough (the part of London) where I live. Or why I need to wait sixteen 'clear' days -- with my notice of marriage posted outside Chelsea Town Hall -- to see if anyone objects to me marrying before I can actually do the deed. Or, indeed, why the registrar needs to know the occupation of my father!
So many questions, so many questions. I should point out that none of this is because I'm not a British citizen; with settlement status, it's exactly the same procedure a British citizen would undergo. Perhaps I'm just being naive (having never undergone through this whole rigmarole of getting married in Canada), but I believe that in my home land, you set the date, get a license within a week at most, the guests come, you sign a register and that's that!
It's more complicated here, for sure. The Man and I want to get married on the South Bank (borough of Lambeth) but we live in Kensington & Chelsea. Let the fun begin! First, we must go to Chelsea to give our 'Notice of Marriage'. Then, we have to provisionally hold our venues, get in touch with Lambeth, get a registrar from there to give us his/her availability for our date, then confirm our venues... then send out the invites! By the time this dance is over, any hope of finding a mutually convenient date for all parties is a moot point. You just hope you get married; sometime, somewhere!
Luckily for us, after chasing down (some might say stalking) a registrar from Lambeth, and after an 'interesting' interview with a registrar from Kensington & Chelsea, everything seemed to come together! Or at least, no-one's objected yet!
And why does the UK need to know my father's occupation for me to get married?
The registrar's answer: 'Because we're a bloody chauvinist country!'