There is an term 'wedding', when you put your signature and it becomes official. But what is the right term for a religious act when two swear to be faithful, to love each other e t.c. in front of the God and a priest in church? Is there such term in English speaking countries? I mean, in some countries young people prefer to "marry" only in church and not to sign any documents officially. I heard about such terms as 'crowning' or even 'church wedding' but I'm not sure it is correct to use any of them.

  • In the US, the couple needs a civil marriage license even if the wedding ceremony is conducted in a religious setting and/or by a religious minister.
    – TimR
    May 18, 2017 at 11:59

2 Answers 2


There is the word Nuptial which can be used either as a noun or adjective.

As a noun, Nuptials refers to the ceremony of marriage, wherever it may take place.

As an adjective, nuptial describes things related to the marriage.


It might depend not only on regional customs but religious customs as well. The term that I am familiar with in AmE is church wedding as you suggested:

church wedding
a wedding ceremony performed in a church and having a religious rather than civil content
(Collins Dictionary)

Wedding by itself can be somewhat broad. It does not necessarily mean signing a marriage license and becoming "official". It really depends on the context, taking regional, religious, and personal factors into consideration.

As for the "official" one, as far as I know, that's a civil marriage or a civil wedding.

  • civil wedding
    American English
    a wedding that is not performed by a religious leader
    (Longman Dictionary)
  • civil marraige
    a marriage performed by a justice of the peace, judge, or similar official, not by a clergyman
    (Collins Dictionary)

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