Getting married in a civil ceremony

A civil marriage can only be performed by the Registrar or Deputy Registrar for the District in which it is to take place. You can hold the ceremony in the Registrar's Office or in an approved venue.

Making arrangements

Before you can give notice of your marriage you must decide when and where you want the ceremony to take place.

Remember to make early arrangements with the Registrar. This is important as certain times of the year are very popular and your choice of approved venue may have limited availability.

You should also arrange for two people, aged 16 or over, to be present at your wedding to act as witnesses. This is required for both religious and civil ceremonies.

You should let the Registrar know if you change your plans or decide to postpone your marriage.

Choosing a venue

A civil marriage may only be conducted by the Registrar or Deputy Registrar for the District in which it is to take place.

A civil ceremony may be conducted in the Registrar's Office or in an approved place.

You can also apply for a temporary approval for a civil ceremony at a place of your own choice, such as your own home. You should contact the Registrar of the council district in which the ceremony will be registered and they will advise you about the fee and how to apply.

Fees

If you are marrying in a civil ceremony you can expect to pay the following:

  • a fee for giving notice
  • a fee for solemnisation of the marriage
  • a fee for use of the council office/room or for the Registrar to attend an approved venue

These fees are payable when you submit your notice application.

The fee for giving notice is £22 per notice form. You will need a separate form for each person.

The fee for the solemnisation of the marriage will depend on when the marriage is due to take place. See table below.

Time cost
Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm £36
Monday to Friday 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm £162
Saturday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm  £162
Saturday after 5.00 pm, Sunday and Bank Holidays £216

If you choose to marry at a Registrar’s office you will pay a fee, depending on when the marriage is due to take place and the marriage room you choose.

If you choose to marry at an approved venue, you will need to pay a fee for the Registrar to attend.

You’ll need to speak to the relevant council to find out details of the above fees. The solemnisation fee is usually included in the amount charged.

Giving notice

You can find out more about giving notice, including how and when to submit your marriage notice application form at the link below.

When the Registrar is content that there is no reason why the marriage can’t take place, a marriage schedule will be prepared from the information you have given in the marriage notice form.

No marriage can go ahead without a marriage schedule.

Marriage schedule

The Registrar will make sure that the marriage schedule is available at the marriage ceremony for signature.

The marriage ceremony may only be conducted by a Registrar or Deputy Registrar who has been authorised by the Registrar General.

While nothing of a religious nature may be included in the ceremony, music, poetry, exchange of rings and flower arrangements may be included and should be discussed with the Registrar.

It is important that the marriage ceremony should start on time as more than one marriage may be planned on that day.

The groom, best man (and ushers, if required) should arrive at the venue for the marriage at least 20 minutes before the ceremony. The bride and bridesmaids should arrive at least 10 minutes before.

The Registrar will welcome everyone before the bride enters and give instructions about video recording and photography during the ceremony. The ceremony will last for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Registering your marriage

The Registrar will register the marriage after the ceremony.

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