September 13, 2008

Circumstances Where Hospital Becomes Venue for Weddings

The Reverend Jonathon Timmins, lead chaplain at Lincoln County Hospital, said that on average three or four weddings were conducted there each year.

"In order to arrange a civil marriage ceremony within the hospital, the doctor looking after the patient is required to sign a letter to be given to the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths," he said.

"This letter is to confirm that the doctor is looking after the patient, that the patient is seriously ill and is not expected to recover - and that they cannot be moved from the hospital to a place registered for marriage.

"The letter also confirms that the patient understands the nature and purpose of marriage.

"Once the letter has been signed, arrangements can then be made for the Registrar to come into the hospital to conduct a civil marriage ceremony.

"This usually takes place on the ward where the patient is being cared for - if possible in a side room or day room which relatives can decorate and use for the ceremony and a celebration. Afterwards one of our chaplains is able to conduct a service of blessing of the marriage, if the couple so wish."

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