Getting married in a religious/belief ceremony
A religious/belief marriage can only be performed by a minister, priest or pastor or person who has been registered as an officiant and authorised by the Registrar General to conduct religious/belief marriages.
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.
From 26 December marriage and civil partnership ceremonies are not permitted to take place at a private dwelling, including the garden, 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).
From 30 April Numbers at marriage and civil partnership ceremonies will be determined by a risk assessment completed by the venue.
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 marriage to take place.
A couple wishing to have a religious/belief ceremony should talk with the officiant and agree the date and venue. A religious/belief 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 marriage to act as witnesses.
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 cannot be issued more than 14 days before the marriage and the registrar will advise you when the marriage schedule can be collected.
The marriage schedule cannot be collected on your behalf by a relative or friend, the registrar will issue it only to the prospective bride or groom 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 both parties, the person performing the marriage and the two witnesses.
Registering your marriage
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/belief 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: