Getting married in a civil ceremony
A civil marriage ceremony can be conducted by a registrar or deputy registrar for the district in which it is to take place.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) marriage/ civil partnership ceremony restrictions
Be aware that your marriage/ civil partnership ceremony must be conducted under the current coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.
During current Covid-19 restrictions marriage and civil partnership ceremonies are not permitted to take place in a private dwelling unless one party is terminally ill.
From 30 April marriage and civil partnership ceremonies in private gardens are restricted to 15 people from three different households (including children). Ceremonies can take place in a private garden if all other participants at the ceremony are from two households with the registrar/officiant being from the third household.
If one of the parties is terminally ill
A marriage can take place in a person’s home if one of the parties is terminally ill, with 10 people in attendance (this includes the couple, two witnesses and the officiant).
For indoor ceremonies face masks must be worn by all except the couple being married or forming a civil partnership. Current guidance states that children under the age of 12 do not have to wear a face mask.
Live music is permitted at marriage and civil partnership ceremonies and the provision of live music should be considered by the venue during the completion of the risk assessment.
Before you can give notice of your marriage you must decide when and where you want the ceremony to take place.
If you choose a registrar to conduct your ceremony, remember to make early arrangements with them.
This is important as certain times of the year are very popular and your choice of approved venue may have limited availability.
You should let the registrar know if you change your plans or decide to postpone your marriage.
Choosing a venue
A civil ceremony can be held in the registrar's office or in an approved place.
You can also apply for a temporary venue 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.
If you are marrying in a civil ceremony conducted by a registrar 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 take part at an approved venue
These fees are payable when you present your notice application.
The fee for giving notice is £22.00 per notice form. You will need a separate form for each person.
The registrar’s fee for the solemnisation of the marriage will depend on when the marriage is due to take place (see table).
|Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm||£36.00|
|Monday to Friday, 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm||£162.00|
|Saturday, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm||£162.00|
|Saturday after 5.00 pm, Sunday and bank holidays||£216.00|
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 take part.
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.
You can find out more about giving notice, including how and when to send in your marriage notice application form, at this link:
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 - registrar
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's 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 needed) 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
If a registrar conducted the ceremony, they will provide a marriage certificate and register the marriage after the ceremony.
A marriage certificate may be ordered after the schedule has been returned to the registrar and the marriage registered.
You can find out how to order a marriage certificate at this link: