Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions
Restrictions have changed in relation to marriages and civil partnerships taking place and now they can:
- can take place indoors - it will be up to each venue to decide their precise opening date. They will have to carry out risk assessments to decide on the number of attendees at the ceremony, taking into account the public health advice. For a civil marriage the venue must be licensed by the Council as an approved place. The social distancing rules must be adhered to
- can take place outdoors - it will be up to each venue to carry out risk assessments to decide on the number of attendees at the ceremony, taking into account the public health advice. For a civil marriage the venue must be licensed by the Council as an approved place. The social distancing rules must be adhered to
Before you can give notice of your marriage you must decide when and where you want the marriage to take place.
A couple wishing to have a religious ceremony should talk with the officiant and agree the date and venue. A religious ceremony may, with the agreement of the officiant, take place anywhere in Northern Ireland.
You should 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 can find out more about giving notice of your marriage, including how and when to present 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.
The marriage schedule will be issued to either the future bride or groom by the registrar.
The schedule cannot be issued more than 14 days before the marriage and the registrar will advise you when the marriage schedule can be collected.
The schedule cannot be collected on your behalf by a relative or friend, the registrar will issue it only to the prospective bride or bridegroom who will have to sign for it.
The marriage schedule must be produced before the marriage ceremony to the person performing the marriage.
Immediately after the ceremony, the schedule must be signed by the bride and groom, the person performing the marriage and the two witnesses. The bride should sign in her maiden name.
Registering your marriage
Due to the ongoing restrictions as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19), registration offices are open but are all operating on an appointment only basis.
If have been married in a religious service and have not yet returned your marriage schedule to the registrar you should keep this document and make an appointment.
If you need to register your marriage urgently you should return the schedule to the registration office by post. You should ensure that you keep a copy of the document.
If you do not return the marriage schedule you will not be able to order a certified copy of your marriage.
If you are married at a religious ceremony you will not receive your marriage certificate immediately after the ceremony.
You can find out how to order a marriage certificate at this link: