Many couples are moving towards civil weddings rather than church weddings, however they do seem to be retaining the blessing part of the service. The blessing itself does not need to be religious in any way and does not need to be held in a church.
Many couples have the blessing carried out on board ship when they are on honeymoon or outside in the grounds where the reception is being held. Most couples feel that it adds warmth to a civil wedding by including the blessing , this is more a spiritual thing and a symbol of commitment to each other rather than anything legal and binding. In mixed religious marriages this is a good way of getting round what could be an awkward situation of having the ceremony carried out in one religion and the blessing in another.
As a blessing is not required by law and is more a preference, you can tailor it to suit yourself. It is used to confirm your commitment to each other. Some like to read prayers and sing hymns to give it a religious feel, others play music that has a special meaning to them both (“their” song). There is no set protocol to the ceremony, you are now husband and wife and as such you arrive together. The blessing can be whatever you want it to be.
Arranging a blessing
You should talk to the official who will be carrying out the blessing. Some couples add the blessing as part of a civil wedding and you will need to talk to the registrar about this to explain exactly what you want how best to achieve it.
Blessings can be useful when you have a limited guest list for the actual civil wedding or budget for the reception. By having a blessing at a bigger venue at a later date you can invite all the guests you want so that they don’t feel left out, with maybe a few drinks afterwards.